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Working hours, work-life conflict and health in precarious and 'permanent' employment


Bohle, P and Quinlan, M and Kennedy, D and Williamson, A, Working hours, work-life conflict and health in precarious and 'permanent' employment, Revista De Saude Publica, 38 ISSN 0034-8910 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1590/s0034-89102004000700004


Objective: 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 full-time, "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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
Research Group:Strategy, management and organisational behaviour
Research Field:Organisational behaviour
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Work and labour market
Objective Field:Workplace safety
UTAS Author:Bohle, P (Professor Philip Bohle)
ID Code:138808
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:105
Deposited By:TSBE
Deposited On:2020-04-30
Last Modified:2020-04-30

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