Innovating European Labour Markets

Innovating European Labour Markets

Dynamics and Perspectives 

Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen

This book examines innovative theoretical perspectives and novel labour market policy responses to Europe’s changing work demands, employment careers and life courses. It presents creative ideas and recommendations for flexicurity policies at various levels and in different social and economic contexts. The driving factors determining the performance of dissimilar pathways in Europe are identified in regard to their impact on the flexibility/security nexus. Key issues in the current European policy debate are addressed, including how innovative policies are designed in the areas of working time, education, work–life balance, employment relations, retirement and migration, how they are put into practice and what determines their level of success.

Chapter 9: Working-life Time Accounts in German Companies: New Opportunities for Structuring Working Hours and Careers?

Philip Wotschack and Eckart Hildebrandt

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


Philip Wotschack and Eckart Hildebrandt 9.1 INTRODUCTION A constant increase in labour flexibility remains an essential competitive strategy of enterprises. One component of this process is the expansion of time volumes and the extension of time horizons with respect to the redistribution of individual working time. Such a development alters not only the day-to-day work–life balance, but also the entire life course of employees. Our contribution presents preliminary results from a current empirical research project at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) on the preconditions and practices of long-term working time accounts in Germany.1 The main questions asked are how long-term working time accounts change the dynamics of company working time policy, and whether or not they help to stabilise discontinuous life courses. The chapter first introduces the basic concept and functioning of long-term working time accounts and discusses major trends and related risks and opportunities. We then present a preliminary overview of the distribution and use of long-term working time accounts in Germany. This overview is based on initial analyses of a representative company survey that was carried out in 2005. The main questions concern the individual options and opportunities offered by long-term working time accounts and the characteristics of their distribution. With regard to the latter aspect, we examine effects of firm size, sector, demand fluctuations, economic performance, personnel policy, industrial relations and workforce composition. 215 216 Innovating European Labour Markets: Dynamics and Perspectives 9.2 LONG-TERM WORKING TIME ACCOUNTS: RATIONALE, CHARACTERISTICS AND CURRENT TRENDS The basic...

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