Table of Contents

Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Labour Markets in Transition

Edited by Ruud Muffels

This book seeks to gain a better understanding of the paradoxical relationship between the alleged need of European labour markets to become more flexible and the way in which national policies pursue this aim without jeopardising existing high standards of income and employment security. Special interest is devoted to the way in which countries opt for different policy routes to cope with the aim of balancing flexibility and security goals in their respective labour market and social protection policies. The contributions in this book all try to unveil the particular changes or transitions occurring in the various labour markets, to learn about their medium and longer term effects and the role of institutions and policies to cushion the adverse consequences of these changes. By studying some ‘best practices’ in Denmark, Canada and Australia they also draw some important lessons about the reasons why national policies might either fail or better cope with the challenges Europe face today.

Chapter 9: Part-time Work and Childbirth in Europe: Scarring the Career or Meeting Working-time Preferences?

Didier Fouarge and Ruud Muffels

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy


Didier Fouarge and Ruud Muffels 9.1 INTRODUCTION One major aspect of the transitional labour market approach is its interest for the consequences of the ongoing individualisation process on the way people behave on the labour market. One important consequence of that is that women seek to develop their own career and tend to work more hours than they used to in the past. A second consequence is that due to women’s increasing participation they desire more options to be able to combine working and caring duties. In general it seems that people want more leeway to adapt their labour supply to changing conditions over the life cycle and to improve their work–life balance. The TLM approach devotes particular interest into the role of life events such as childbirth, on the way people behave on the labour market and how they seek to improve their work–life balance. In this chapter we focus on the effect of people’s decisions in choosing particular combinations of working time and caring duties on the future career. We use the European Community Household Panel but added the Hungarian household panel to analyse the short and medium-term effects of the various types of combinations of part-time work and care breaks on the occupational career1. The Hungarian panel has been added to include at least one of the transition countries from the East. Transition countries are particularly interesting to study because part-time labour is a rather new phenomenon in these post-socialist countries. In particular, we try...

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