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 3: Working-time regimes and transitions in comparative perspective

Dominique Anxo and Jacqueline O’Reilly

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

Extract

Dominique Anxo and Jacqueline O’Reilly A potential new conception of full employment based on flexible work organization averaging out at 30 hours a week over the life cycle has been proposed by Schmid (1995, p. 438; 1998, pp. 4–5). Fagan and Lallement have shown in Chapter 2 of this volume that the conception and regulation of working time has changed dramatically during the period of industrialization. From their historical perspective Schmid’s suggestion would fit into the longterm trend. However, Fagan and Lallement also point out that recent trends towards working-time flexibility have resulted in some societies in a greater polarization of working hours and a larger gap between the status of those in permanent, full-time employment and those with more precarious ‘flexible’ jobs. Employers’ expectations of employees to work long and atypical hours as a sign of corporate commitment can also serve to exclude those who cannot meet these demands. Moreover, the short-hour, marginal jobs that are increasingly becoming available are possibly unattractive and unsustainable options for unemployed persons seeking to re-enter employment (O’Reilly and Bothfeld 1996). The barriers to these ‘new’ forms of employment are central to the problems addressed by the concept of transitional labour markets (TLMs) (Schmid and Gazier forthcoming). One of the key problems is the fear that the development of precarious working-time arrangements might undermine incentives for labour market mobility and reinforce segregation between insiders and outsiders. Fagan and Lallement argue that the concept of TLMs is about distinguishing between policies that can secure...

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