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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Working time flexibility and work-life balance across Europe and the role of contexts: connecting the individual- , company- and the country-level

One way of simultaneously addressing the work-life balance needs of employees and the productivity needs of employers is the use of flexible working arrangements. Although the general assumption is that flexibility provides workers with a better work-life balance, some scholars argue that it can lead to spill-overs from work to home, prolonging the working day leading to negative results.

Despite the mixed results, in-depth evidence based on cross-national data remain lacking and the question of who is really able to benefit from the use of flexibility, in what context, has yet to be answered. To provide this much-needed insight this project examines the following questions:

  • Does working-time flexibility provide a better work-life balance?
  • Does this impact differ across different individuals, family, company and national contexts and why?

The study applies a multi-level approach connecting the different levels this dynamic takes place: namely the individual-, family, company- and country-levels. In addition, different time points are compared to see the extent of diffusion of working-time flexibility in the past years and how this influences its impact on work-family conflict.The study will match different secondary data sets across 27 European countries between 2002 and 2012 for the analyses.