Dominique Anxo, Christine Franz, Angelika Kümmerling

Working Time Distribution and Preferences Across the Life Course: A European Perspective

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract


The main objective of this paper is to identify and explain cross-country gender disparities in working time distribution and working time preferences in seven EU-member states (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK). The selection of these countries has been essentially guided by the fact that they differ considerably in terms of welfare state regime, employment and industrial relation systems, family policies, and gender contract. Our selected European countries still display a high gender polarization of working time and the current gendered working time distribution reflects the resilience of a traditional gender contract. Regarding working time preferences a majority of wage earners seem to be satisfied with their current working time. However, around 45 per cent of dependent employees indicate that they would like to change their current working time, and most of them express a preference for a reduction of working time. Our results also show that male and female employees in our selected countries aspire to some convergence of working time, female employees expressing on average a wish of increasing their working time and men a wish of decreasing working time. Beyond measures favouring a more balanced gender division of labour, our study tends also to show the need of implementing family-friendly, flexible and reversible working time options across the life course. Finally, our results show that the current EU working time directive is not always successful in limiting excessive working time.

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