Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life
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Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life

Edited by Deborah M. Figart and Tonia L. Warnecke

The Handbook illuminates complex facets of the economic and social provisioning process across the globe. The contributors – academics, policy analysts and practitioners from wide-ranging areas of expertise – discuss the methodological approaches to, and analytical tools for, conducting research on the gender dimension of economic life. They also provide analyses of major issues facing both developed and developing countries. Topics explored include civil society, discrimination, informal work, working time, central bank policy, health, education, food security, poverty, migration, environmental activism and the financial crisis.
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Chapter 17: Employer-oriented schedule flexibility, gender and family care

Elaine McCrate


‘Work schedule flexibility’ means fundamentally different things to workers and employers. Schedules may adjust to the supply side of the labor market, responding to the needs or preferences of a worker, often a family caregiver, to adjust times at work. Alternatively, changes in product demand, absenteeism, and turnover may create pressure on workers to adjust their work times in order for employers to maximize profits. A great deal of recent evidence has suggested tremendous pent-up excess demand for worker-oriented flexibility in many affluent countries, particularly in outliers such as the United States that do not require even the most rudimentary forms of flexibility such as paid vacation days or sick leave (Heymann, 2000). At the same time, workers on schedules that are driven by employers’ needs for flexibility often express tremendous frustration with the schedules (Baret, 2000; Henly and Lambert, 2005). As such, the two types of flexibility may be at odds. Worker-oriented flexibility can complicate a production schedule or the delivery of services, and employer-initiated flexibility can make it very difficult to address personal contingencies, plan time away from work, adhere to a routine, or prevent the fragmentation of one’s personal time.

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