Working hours, work-life conflict and health in precarious and “permanent” employment.

Bohle, Philip and Quinlan, Michael and Kennedy, David and Williamson, Ann (2004) Working hours, work-life conflict and health in precarious and “permanent” employment. Revista de saúde pública, 38 Sup . pp. 19-25. ISSN 0034-8910

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Abstract

Objectives
The expansion of precarious employment in OECD countries has been widely
associated with negative health and safety effects. Although many shiftworkers are
precariously employed, shiftwork research has concentrated on full-time workers in
continuing employment. This paper examines the impact of precarious employment on
working hours, work-life conflict and health by comparing casual employees to fulltime,
“permanent” employees working in the same occupations and workplaces.
Methods
Thirty-nine convergent interviews were conducted in two five-star hotels. The
participants included 26 full-time and 13 casual (temporary) employees. They ranged
in age from 19 to 61 years and included 17 females and 22 males. Working hours
ranged from zero to 73 hours per week.
Results
Marked differences emerged between the reports of casual and full-time employees
about working hours, work-life conflict and health. Casuals were more likely to work
highly irregular hours over which they had little control. Their daily and weekly
working hours ranged from very long to very short according to organisational
requirements. Long working hours, combined with low predictability and control,
produced greater disruption to family and social lives and poorer work-life balance
for casuals. Uncoordinated hours across multiple jobs exacerbated these problems in
some cases. Health-related issues reported to arise from work-life conflict included
sleep disturbance, fatigue and disrupted exercise and dietary regimes.
Conclusions
This study identified significant disadvantages of casual employment. In the same
hotels, and doing largely the same jobs, casual employees had less desirable and
predictable work schedules, greater work-life conflict and more associated health
complaints than “permanent” workers.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Business School
ISI Impact: 23
Item ID: 7141
Depositing User: Ms Jyoti Zade
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2011 11:53
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:22
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/7141

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