The unfulfilled preference for working fewer hours in the Netherlands

C. Baaijens, J.J. Schippers

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


    Even though the Dutch working week has become shorter and more diverse over the last decades, not all employees weekly working hours preferences are fulfilled. Time and again, cross-sectional studies among employees reveal dissatisfaction with working hours. However, only part of the employees that are dissatisfied with their working hours manage to adjust their hours to their preferences. A wide gap apparently exists between preferring to adjust working hours and actually adjusting them. The gap is widest for employees who would like to reduce their working hours. In this article three questions are addressed. What is the pattern of transition from wanting to adjust working hours to actually doing so? Which categories of employees can be expected to reduce working hours? Which categories of employees can be expected to realise their preference for working fewer hours? We will answer these questions using panel data for the period 1986-1998. We find that for many employees, in spite of the broad acceptance in the Netherlands of part-time employment and the excellent arrangements entailed around it, it is still difficult for employees to realise their preferences. This leaves little optimism for the opportunities of employees in other European countries. In these countries part-time employment is often marginal employment and the labour market is less equipped for it. It will ask a major effort from many European policy makers to offer other European employees at least the same possibilities as are already available to Dutch employees.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLabour market transitions and time adjustment over the life course
    EditorsD. Anxo, C. Erhel, J.J. Schippers
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam
    PublisherDutch University Press
    ISBN (Print)90-3610-062-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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