Working-Time Changes

Working-Time Changes

Social Integration Through Transitional Labour Markets

Labour Markets and Employment Policy series

Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement

Drawing on both quantitative longitudinal panel study data and qualitative case study material, the authors (whose expertise is drawn from the fields of economics, sociology and law) provide an original perspective on the nature and implications of Transitional Labour Markets in Spain, Sweden, Ireland, Britain, Germany, France and The Netherlands.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, labour policy


Inmaculada Cebrián, Michel Lallement and Jacqueline O’Reilly Over the past twenty years European labour markets have seen the simultaneous rise of unemployment and working-time flexibility. While the growth and persistence of long-term unemployment have generated widespread concern about the negative effects of social exclusion, the flexible reorganization of working time has been greeted with more ambivalence. On the one hand, it represents a potential tool for ameliorating the problem of exclusion; on the other, it can increase labour market precariousness and segmentation. This book examines these problems by looking at the extent to which changes in working-time flexibility1 and transitional labour markets (TLMs) can facilitate labour market integration for the unemployed and those outside paid employment, often categorized as the inactive or non-employed. The concept of TLMs developed by Günther Schmid (1998) attempts to address both theoretical and policy-related concerns about the reasons why some people are able to leave unemployment permanently while, for others, exits from unemployment are merely ‘revolving doors’ that spin them back into a situation associated with social exclusion. The development and implications of working-time changes are key elements of the TLMs approach – alongside active labour market policy (de Koning and Mosley forthcoming) and training initiatives (Schömann and O’Connell forthcoming) in different employment systems (Schmid and Gazier forthcoming). The key issue addressed by this book is the extent to which flexible working time can provide stable and integrated transitions between different labour market statuses in different European societies. Three key questions emerged and...