Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Households, Work and Flexibility (HWF), Final Report

Project ID: HPSE-CT-1999-00030


The study compared flexibility and work-life balance in 8 countries (UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria) using a representative sample survey of those between 18 and 65 carried out in 2001 (N=10123) and a study of policy frameworks.
The study showed that there are many kinds of flexibility to be found in regular, secure jobs as well as in irregular or "atypical" ones. Therefore, we argue that discussion of flexibility should not be limited to labour market de-regulation and the number of "atypical jobs" as measured in part-time and temporary work. Taking this broad view, there was a great deal of flexibility inside European labour markets as seen from the employees' perspective. However, we were able to identify "good flexibility" as well as "bad flexibility". Good flexibility is where it was controlled by the person and was associated with high levels of job satisfaction. This was most often found among middle class professionals on higher salaries and was more common in the North Western EU countries than in Eastern and Central Europe. Bad flexibility was associated with lack of control over hours, place and conditions of work, with low job satisfaction and with manual workers on lower incomes and with younger workers. This kind was most often found in Central and Eastern European countries with large numbers in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. However, whilst in Western Europe the victims of bad flexibility were mostly women, in ECE countries they were often men.

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