Social Integration Through Transitional Labour Markets
- Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly, Inmaculada Cebrián and Michel Lallement
Chapter 3: Working-time regimes and transitions in comparative perspective
3. Working-time regimes and transitions in comparative perspective 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...
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