Finding Time for Children: Fatherhood, Jobs and Available Time in Spain, 2003-2010

 

ARTÍCULO / ARTICLE

FINDING TIME FOR CHILDREN: FATHERHOOD, JOBS AND AVAILABLE TIME IN SPAIN, 2003-2010

ENCONTRAR TIEMPO PARA LOS HIJOS. PATERNIDAD, OCUPACIONES Y TIEMPO DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑA, 2003-2010

Irina Fernández-Lozano

UNED

irina.fernandez@poli.uned.es

ORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4310-5526

 

ABSTRACT

Parents of young children are supposed to be interactive with, responsible for and available for their children (Lamb, Pleck and Levine 1985Lamb, M. E., J.H. Pleck and J.A. Levine. 1985. "Paternal Behavior in Humans". American Zoologist 25(3):883-894. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/25.3.883.). This study aims at shedding light on how work schedules allows Spanish fathers to be available to take care of their children when they are not at school or childcare centres. By using time-use data, this study seeks to contribute to previous research by providing a nuanced description of how much and when work takes place throughout the day , as well as how this is associated to occupational and parental statuses, gender and the incidence of the economic recession. ‘Available time’ for the family is analysed, understood as time away from work excluding the core business hours (i.e. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Results show that being a mother has still a direct reflection on time availability, while fatherhood does not. Also, time availability presents a complex relationship with the class structure, which does not seem to have been altered by recession. Finally, there seems to be a gender convergence in time availability, only due to its reduction in the case of women.

RESUMEN

Los padres de niños pequeños deben ser interactivos, responsables y estar disponibles para cuidarlos (Lamb, Pleck, y Levine 1985Lamb, M. E., J.H. Pleck and J.A. Levine. 1985. "Paternal Behavior in Humans". American Zoologist 25(3):883-894. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/25.3.883.). Esta investigación pretende arrojar luz sobre hasta qué punto los horarios de trabajo en España permiten a los padres estar disponibles para sus hijos cuando estos salen del colegio o la guardería. Usando datos de uso del tiempo, se pretende contribuir a la literatura ofreciendo un análisis detallado de cuánto y cuándo se trabaja a lo largo del día, así como su relación con el estatus ocupacional y parental, el género y la incidencia de la crisis. Se analiza el “tiempo disponible” para la familia, entendido como el tiempo en que no se está en el trabajo, excluyendo las horas estándar “de oficina” (de 8 a 17). Los resultados muestran que ser madre aún tiene una relación directa con el tiempo disponible, no así la paternidad. Además, el tiempo disponible presenta una relación compleja con la estructura de clase, que la crisis no ha alterado. Por último, se comprueba una tendencia convergente entre hombres y mujeres, debido a la reducción del tiempo disponible de estas últimas.

Received: 01-06-2017; Accepted: 09-11-2017.

Cómo citar este artículo/Citation: Fernández-Lozano, I. 2018. "Finding Time for Children: Fatherhood, Jobs and Available Time in Spain, 2003-2010". Revista Internacional de Sociología 76(3):e104. https://doi.org/10.3989/ris.2018.76.3.17.84

KEYWORDS: Fatherhood; Time use; Working time; Work-life balance.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Conciliación; Horas de trabajo; Paternidad; Uso del tiempo.

Copyright: © 2018 CSIC. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

CONTENTS

ABSTRACT
RESUMEN
INTRODUCTION
CONTEXT: THE SPANISH WORKING TIME REGIME
GENDER, JOBS, PARENTHOOD AND AVAILABLE TIME. HYPOTHESES PROPOSED
DATA AND METHOD
RESULTS
CONCLUSIONS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
REFERENCES
APPENDIX
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

INTRODUCTION [1] Top

Little is known about fathers’ schedules apart from the fact that they are longer than the average work-week (Allard, Haas and Philip Hwang 2007Allard, K., L. Haas and C. P. Hwang. 2007. "Exploring the Paradox. Experiences of flexible working arrangements and work-family conflict among managerial fathers in Sweden". Community, Work and Family 10(4):475-493. https://doi.org/10.1080/13668800701575135.), and that they respond to the availability of work-life balance measures (e.g. reduced working hours) to a lesser extent than mothers do. While sociological literature has found that there is a clear ‘motherhood effect’ on women’s paid work, the impact of children on men’s work hours is much less clear (Kaufman and Bernhardt 2015Kaufman, G. and E. Bernhardt. 2015. "Gender, Work and Childbearing: Couple Analysis of Work Adjustments after the Transition to Parenthood". Community, Work and Family 18(1):1-18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13668803.2014.928610.). Still, nowadays work-life balance for dual earner couples with childcare responsibilities usually relies on the ‘one-and-a-half earner model’ (Hook and Wolfe 2013Hook, J. L. and C.M. Wolfe. 2013. "Parental involvement and work schedules: Time with children in the United States, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom". European Sociological Review 29(3):411-425. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcr081.), with the mother facing the need to reduce her participation in the labour market. However, this ‘dualistic’ model of full-time vs. part-time workers (those with family responsibilities) allocate people into two different sets of opportunities and constrains (Lewis 2010Lewis, S. 2010. "Restructuring workplace cultures: the ultimate work-family challenge?". Gender in Management: An International Journal 25(5):355-365. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542411011056859.; Sheridan 2004Sheridan, A. 2004. "Chronic Presenteeism: The Multiple Dimensions to Men’s Absence from Part-Time Work". Gender, Work and Organization 11(2):207-225. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2004.00229.x), - symbolic and material - and does not seem therefore to be the optimal in terms of social justice. For example, there is empirical evidence that women can be subject to the perverse effects of being the main users of the reduced schedule for family reasons, such as having a greater difficulty to access indefinite contracts (de la Rica and Gorjón 2016De la Rica, S. and L. Gorjón. 2016. "The impact of family-friendly policies in Spain and their use throughout the business cycle". IZA Journal of European Labor Studies 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40174-016-0059-0.).

In this research we will examine Spanish fathers’ schedules and available time for the family (‘available time’ hereafter[2]). ‘Available time’ is defined in this paper as the amount of hours the person has potentially available for family, domestic work or social life (i.e. not in their paid job), excluding the core business hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays. This time availability ranges between 0 and 123 hours a week. In the latter case (123 available hours), we will be referring to what has been defined in this work as a ‘tight-time schedule’(Jurado-Guerrero et al. 2018Jurado-Guerrero, T., J. Monferrer, C. Botía and P. Abril. 2018. "Formal and informal workplace support for new fathers in Spain". Pp. 131-153 in Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies, Vol. 12, edited by R. Musumeci and A. Santero. Bingley: Emerald Publishing.)[3], that is, a working day concentrated between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, when children are usually at childcare centres or at school.

There are several reasons why having a tight-time schedule can be a relevant work-life balance resource. First, social times limit the times throughout the day when parents are able to and have to take responsibility for their children. One of the main time constraints that childcare imposes are school or childcare centres schedules, so that mothers tend to be those who make use of more or less formalized flexibility measures to be able to take and pick up children to or from school (see Figure 1). Also, contemporary parenting involves a voluntary, intense investment in child well-being (Sayer, Bianchi and Robinson 2004Sayer, L. C., S. M. Bianchi and J.P. Robinson. 2004. "Are Parents Investing Less in Children? Trends in Mothers’ and Fathers’ Time with Children". American Journal of Sociology 110(1):1-43. https://doi.org/10.1086/386270.). It seems difficult to conceive how high investments of time in children can be made compatible with long working weeks. Parents are ‘expected to be highly motivated to engage in family activities’ (Gracia and Kalmijn 2016Gracia, P. and M. Kalmijn. 2016. "Parents’ Family Time and Work Schedules: The Split-Shift Schedule in Spain". Journal of Marriage and Family 78(2):401-415. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12270., p.403) and, therefore, willing to be available in afternoons, evenings and weekends to spend quality time with their children. Moreover, fathers and mothers require time because parenting-related tasks can only be externalized to a small extent. Organizing, thinking and managing a family daily life requires a series of ‘invisible’ tasks that cannot be externalized (Moreno Colom 2015Moreno Colom, S. 2015. "Tiempo, trabajo y bienestar: relato de un conflicto cotidiano". Pp. 145-167 in Conflictos por el tiempo. Poder, relación salarial y relaciones de género, edited by E. Martín Criado and C. Prieto. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid y Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.). It is proposed therefore that current work schedules may not be adapted to the needs of contemporary fatherhood, contributing to an increasing tension between the ‘father’ and the ‘economic provider’ roles (Barbeta-Viñas and Cano 2017Barbeta-Viñas, M. and T. Cano. 2017. "¿Hacia un nuevo modelo de paternidad? Discursos sobre el proceso de implicación paterna en la España urbana / Toward a New Model of Fatherhood? Discourses on the Process of Paternal Involvement in Urban Spain". Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas 159:13-30. https://doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.159.13.). Thus this study will focus on those men whose jobs allow them to be available in the evenings and during the weekends, and therefore may be (potentially) more likely to be involved in family life to a greater extent, breaking with the stereotype of the ‘absent father’ who arrived home just in time to kiss their children good-night.

Figure 1. Percentage of Working People Performing Paid Work at a Particular Time (Monday to Friday), 2010

Percentage of Working People Performing Paid Work at a Particular Time (Monday to Friday), 2010

Source: 2010 STUS. Sample: people living with no children under 18 years old and parents of at least one child up to 12 years old living in dual-earner couples (only people who worked at least one hour on that week and reported a usual work week). Note: analysis units are actually ‘work days’ as for each individual 5 day diaries were included.

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The study of work schedules and available time is relevant because empirical research has found a relationship between different work schedules and childcare arrangements among parents in different countries (Nock and Kingston 1988Nock, S. L. and P.W. Kingston. 1988. "Time with Children: The Impact of Couples’ Work-Time Commitments". Social Forces 67(1):59-85. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/67.1.59.; Presser 1994Presser, H. B. 1994. "Employment Schedules Among Dual-Earner Spouses and the Division of Household Labor". American Sociological Review 59(3):348-364. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095938.; Lesnard 2008Lesnard, L. 2008. "Off-Scheduling within Dual-Earner Couples: An Unequal and Negative Externality for Family Time". American Journal of Sociology 114(2):447-490. https://doi.org/10.1086/590648.; Wight, Raley and Bianchi 2008Wight, V. R., S.B. Raley and S. Bianchi. 2008. "Time for Children, One’s Spouse and Oneself among Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours". Social Forces 87(1):243-271. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.0.0092.). These studies confirm the time availability hypothesis (see the hypotheses section below), even if they introduce some nuances: for example, men are particularly involved in housework or childcare if they are available but the mother is not, i.e. if the couple has ‘desynchronized’ schedules (Presser 1994Presser, H. B. 1994. "Employment Schedules Among Dual-Earner Spouses and the Division of Household Labor". American Sociological Review 59(3):348-364. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095938.; Lesnard 2008Lesnard, L. 2008. "Off-Scheduling within Dual-Earner Couples: An Unequal and Negative Externality for Family Time". American Journal of Sociology 114(2):447-490. https://doi.org/10.1086/590648.). In any case, working during the evenings has been found to be particularly costly in terms of father-child time (Nock and Kingston 1988Nock, S. L. and P.W. Kingston. 1988. "Time with Children: The Impact of Couples’ Work-Time Commitments". Social Forces 67(1):59-85. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/67.1.59.; Gutiérrez-Domènech 2010Gutiérrez-Domènech, M. 2010. "Parental employment and time with children in Spain". Review of Economics of the Household 8(3):371-391. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11150-010-9096-z.; Gracia and Kalmijn 2016Gracia, P. and M. Kalmijn. 2016. "Parents’ Family Time and Work Schedules: The Split-Shift Schedule in Spain". Journal of Marriage and Family 78(2):401-415. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12270.).

Spain represents an interesting setting to study fathers’ time availability. The current debate on rationalisation of work schedules and work-life balance (with a recent proposal in 2016 by the Employment Minister to the Congress to officially establish a working day that ends at 6 p.m., among other measures, which has not yet been implemented , is settled in a national context where more than half of male (and about a third of female) workers work more than 40 hours a week (Spanish Time Use Survey, 2009-2010) and in a global context of de-standardization of schedules required by the ‘24/7’ services economy (Wight, Raley and Bianchi 2008Wight, V. R., S.B. Raley and S. Bianchi. 2008. "Time for Children, One’s Spouse and Oneself among Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours". Social Forces 87(1):243-271. https://doi.org/10.1353/sof.0.0092.).

The focus of this study is twofold. First, it will analyse the effect of gender, fatherhood and occupational status on available time and the type of schedule used. Second, it will analyse how this effect has changed after the impact of the great recession became visible in Spain (i.e. after 2008). The ultimate goal of the study is to carry out a systematic analysis of schedules in Spain from a work-life balance perspective, trying to go beyond the dualistic category of part-time vs. full-time work by putting the focus on when work time and available time happen during the day. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first analysis of this kind carried out with Spanish data.

This article is organized in six sections. After the introduction, details of the Spanish working time regime are succinctly presented. The third section introduces the hypotheses proposed. The methodology and the results of the empirical analysis are presented in the fourth and fifth sections, respectively. The conclusions are presented in the sixth section. The Appendix at the end of the paper contains more detailed information on how the schedule typology has been operationalized.

 

CONTEXT: THE SPANISH WORKING TIME REGIME Top

Due in part to its particular geographic and cultural characteristics, Spain is characterized by relatively long work days (see Figure 2), with a special prevalence of the so called ‘split-shift’ schedule, especially in the case of men (Gracia and Kalmijn 2016Gracia, P. and M. Kalmijn. 2016. "Parents’ Family Time and Work Schedules: The Split-Shift Schedule in Spain". Journal of Marriage and Family 78(2):401-415. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12270.), that is, a long work day with a lunch break usually longer than one hour.

As Caprile and Krüger argue (Caprile and Krüger 2005Caprile, M. and K. Krüger. 2005. "Flexibilisation, deregulation and working time: a gendered question: evidence from Spain". Flexible Working and Organizational Change: The Integration of Work and Personal Life, edited by L. den Dulk, B. Peper and A. van Doorne-Huiskes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. cited in van Doorne-Huiskes, den Dulk and Peper 2005van Doorne-Huiskes, A., L. den Dulk and B. Peper. 2005. "Introduction". Flexible Working and Organizational Change: The Integration of Work and Personal Life, edited by L. den Dulk, B. Peper and A. van Doorne-Huiskes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.), in a context of high unemployment and temporary employment, Spanish employers have traditionally had the power to impose their requirement of greater freedom in the management of working time. In line with this, empirical research has found that, within the EU context, Spain is among the group of countries characterized by a relatively low provision and use of employee oriented flexibility, in comparison with the employer oriented one (Chung and Tijdens 2013Chung, H. and K. Tijdens. 2013. "Working time flexibility components and working time regimes in Europe: using company-level data across 21 countries". The International Journal of Human Resource Management 24(7):1418-1434. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2012.712544.).

Figure 2. Weekly paid work hours (including 2nd jobs) in the EU

Weekly paid work hours (including 2nd jobs) in the EU

Source: Eurostat. Data retrieved on 28/04/2017.

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From a gender perspective, several features are worth pointed out. In Spain, employment participation marks the greater difference between men and women, rather than work time, as cross-country comparisons have shown (Boeckmann, Misra and Budig 2014Boeckmann, I., J. Misra and M.J. Budig. 2014. "Cultural and Institutional Factors Shaping Mothers’ Employment and Working Hours in Postindustrial Countries". Social Forces 93(4):1301-1333. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/sou119.). As can be seen, for those women who work, work hours are more similar to men’s than in the EU-28. If women work relatively long paid work hours in Spain, they do so at the expense of longer total work hours than men, which is a common feature of southern European countries (Gálvez Muñoz, Rodríguez Modroño and Domínguez Serrano 2010Gálvez Muñoz, L., P. Rodríguez Modroño and M. Domínguez Serrano 2010. "Género, trabajos y usos del tiempo en España dentro del contexto europeo". Pp. 83-138 in Mujeres y mercado laboral en España. Cuatro estudios sobre la discriminación salarial y la segregación laboral, edited by A. Villar. Madrid: Fundación BBVA.); Burda, Hamermesh and Weil 2013Burda, M., D.S. Hamermesh and P. Weil. 2013. "Total work and gender: facts and possible explanations". Journal of Population Economics 26:239-261. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00148-012-0408-x.; Giménez-Nadal and Sevilla 2014Giménez-Nadal, J. I. and A. Sevilla. 2014. "Total work time in Spain: evidence from time diary data". Applied Economics 46(16):1894-1909. https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2014.887194.).

Figure 3. Women’s weekly paid work hours as a percentage of men’s

Women’s weekly paid work hours as a percentage of men’s

Source: Eurostat. Data retrieved on 28/04/2017.

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Downshifting or reducing work hours is recognised as one of the policies which will have to be increasingly considered by employers as a way to guarantee work-life balance among employees (Jungblut 2015Jungblut, J-M. 2015. Working and caring: Reconciliation measures in times of demographic change. Dublin: Eurofound. Retrieved from https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/es/publications/report/2015/working-conditions-social-policies/working-and-caring-reconciliation-measures-in-times-of-demographic-change.). Several EU countries, among them Spain, recognise the right to reduce work hours for family reasons (Haas and Hwang 2015Haas, L. and C. P. Hwang. 2015. "“It’s About Time!”: Company Support for Fathers’ Entitlement to Reduced Work Hours in Sweden". Social Politics 23(1):142-167. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxv033.). In Spain, employees with the standard, 40-hour work week and care responsibilities can shift to a work week between 20 and 35 hours. However, men who make use of this policy are still a minority (de la Rica and Gorjón 2016De la Rica, S. and L. Gorjón. 2016. "The impact of family-friendly policies in Spain and their use throughout the business cycle". IZA Journal of European Labor Studies 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40174-016-0059-0.; Fernandez-Lozano 2017Fernandez-Lozano, I. 2017. "If you dare to ask: self-perceived possibilities of Spanish fathers to reduce work hours". Community, Work and Family 0(0):1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/13668803.2017.1365692.).

Despite this gender gap, both in working hours and in labour market participation, empirical evidence shows signs of a slow change in the gender division of paid work in Spain. Since the onset of the crisis, the ‘social time[4]’ devoted to paid work by men and women has tended to converge: while women have increased their paid work time, men have decreased it (Giménez-Nadal and Sevilla 2014Giménez-Nadal, J. I. and A. Sevilla. 2014. "Total work time in Spain: evidence from time diary data". Applied Economics 46(16):1894-1909. https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2014.887194.). This is due, to a considerable extent, to the effect of the increase in male unemployment after 2008, while at the same time little is known about duration of work days for employed men. As a consequence of the great recession, structural changes in the labour market are perhaps contributing to push social change forward, as both men and women may be responding to the increase in male unemployment. Many unemployed men may be facing the unfamiliar situation of suddenly having plenty of available time for their families (González and Jurado-Guerrero 2015González, M. J. and T. Jurado-Guerrero. 2015. Padres y madres corresponsables. Una utopía real. Madrid: Catarata.). In coherence with this, there is also evidence of an intense growth of dual-earner couples and of ‘female breadwinners’ (Ajenjo Cosp and García Román 2014Ajenjo Cosp, M. and J. García Román. 2014. "Cambios en el uso del tiempo de las parejas ¿Estamos en el camino hacia una mayor igualdad?". Revista Internacional de Sociología 72(2):453-476. https://doi.org/10.3989/ris.2012.05.28.), and a higher increase in the percentage of women (with respect to men) who would like to work longer hours (Torre Fernández 2017Torre Fernández, M. 2017. "Wanting more or wanting less? Mismatches between actual and preferred working hours in Spain, 2005-2014". Revista Internacional de Sociología 75(2):1-11. https://doi.org/10.3989/ris.2017.75.2.15.118.). However, it is not so clear how the crisis may be affecting the working time demands of those people who remain employed. On the one hand, work-life balance seems to be increasingly an issue for men too: 26% of Spanish working men believe that their current work schedule adapts ‘not at all well’ or ‘not very well’ to their family and social commitments, a percentage that is higher than in the case of Spanish women (22%) or men in the whole of Europe (20%) (Eurofound 2015aEurofound. 2015a. 6th European Working Conditions Survey (online results). Retrieved October 24, 2017 from https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/data/european-working-conditions-survey). In the same line, Spanish first-time fathers are showing concerns about the need they will eventually have to adapt their work patterns to the requirements of their coming offspring (Abril et al. 2015Abril, P., C. Botía-Morillas, M. Domínguez-Folgueras, T. Jurado-Guerrero, I. Lapuerta, J. Monferrer and M. Seiz. 2015. "Ideales igualitarios y planes tradicionales: análisis de parejas primerizas en España". Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas 150:3-22. https://doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.150.3.) either through formal or informal means. On the other hand, the economic crisis and the ‘hard times’ that companies are facing may increase individuals’ work demands and reinforce the feeling that the time spent at work matters more than ever (Grau-Grau 2013Grau-Grau, M. 2013. "Clouds over Spain: Work and Family in the Age of Austerity". International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 33(9/10):579-593. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-12-2012-0108.). In line with this, empirical evidence shows that, among mothers, after the beginning of the Great Recession, the use of the reduced schedule for family reasons has been significantly reduced by around 13% (de la Rica and Gorjón 2016De la Rica, S. and L. Gorjón. 2016. "The impact of family-friendly policies in Spain and their use throughout the business cycle". IZA Journal of European Labor Studies 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40174-016-0059-0.), which may be due to greater fears of reprisals from employers.

 

GENDER, JOBS, PARENTHOOD AND AVAILABLE TIME. HYPOTHESES PROPOSED Top

Sociological literature has provided three main explanations to the relative and absolute involvement of parents in family life and domestic work (Presser 1994Presser, H. B. 1994. "Employment Schedules Among Dual-Earner Spouses and the Division of Household Labor". American Sociological Review 59(3):348-364. https://doi.org/10.2307/2095938.): relative resources (such as education and earnings), gender ideology and time availability. According to these theories, we could summarize that the fewer relative resources a man has with respect to his spouse (e.g. income), the more egalitarian his gender attitudes are, and the more available time he has, the more involved he will be in childcare and domestic work. Also, being available for their children is one of the three main characteristics (along with being interactive with and responsible for them) of ‘involved fathers’, according to a founding work on fatherhood (Lamb, Pleck and Levine 1985Lamb, M. E., J.H. Pleck and J.A. Levine. 1985. "Paternal Behavior in Humans". American Zoologist 25(3):883-894. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/25.3.883.). Although the aim of this study is not to analyse the association between working time and parenting time, it draws on the premise that available time is not a sufficient resource, but it is a necessary one, for contemporary fathers to be involved in family life and also, that the availability of both parents is beneficial for children’s development.

Given the social ideal of mothers being the primary caregivers, the two following hypotheses are proposed:

Hypothesis 1. Men have less available time and make a lower use of the ‘tight-time’ schedule than women, even if they are not parents.

Hypothesis 2. Parental status increases the gender gap in available time (i.e. the difference in available time is bigger between mothers and fathers than between childless women and childless men).

With respect to the effect of the crisis, two competing trends may exert an effect on fathers’ time availability. On the one hand, a growing number of contemporary fathers may be demanding the availability and use of work-life balance resources. Therefore, some fathers may be actively seeking (before or after becoming fathers) jobs which allow them to have available time. If tight-time schedules are increasingly being used as a work-life balance resource by these fathers, then we would expect a significant increase in available time for fathers after 2008. However, as an effect of the crisis, these employees may be facing great difficulties to satisfy these demands, and therefore fathers will not actually have more available time after 2008, and may even have less. We propose that these two trends may be counterbalancing each other so that:

Hypothesis 3. There are no significant differences between fathers’ available time in the two periods compared (before and after the onset of the recession).

To end with, the relationship between time availability, occupational status and the recession will be analysed for men. As a resource, time differs from others such as education or income due to its involvement in a particular, complex relationship with the structure of class. On the one hand, some authors point out how time scarcity is a phenomenon that affects above all people in higher level occupational status (managers and professionals). This is particularly the case in the US (Jacobs and Gerson 2004Jacobs, J. A. and K. Gerson. 2004. The Time Divide. Work, Family, and Gender Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.). Indeed, the fact that the ‘superordinate working class’ (Gershuny and Fisher 2014Gershuny, J. and K. Fisher. 2014. "Post-industrious society: Why work time will not disappear for our grandchildren". Sociology Working Paper No. 2014–3.) is subject to higher conflict between work and family (Schieman and Young 2010Schieman, S. and M. Young. 2010. "The demands of creative work: Implications for stress in the work-family interface". Social Science Research 39(2):246-259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2009.05.008.) justifies the criticism directed to the ‘middle class bias’ of sociological research on work life balance (Warren 2015Warren, T. 2015. "Work-life balance/imbalance: the dominance of the middle class and the neglect of the working class". The British Journal of Sociology 66(4):691-717. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-4446.12160.). Even if qualified professionals have flexible schedules more frequently, this does not necessarily involve working fewer hours. Empirical evidence shows that flexitime is linked to a higher decrease of work hours only for employees with no leadership positions (Gasser 2015Gasser, M. 2015. "Time Spent on Child Care by Fathers in Leadership Positions: The Role of Work Hours and Flextime". Journal of Family Issues 38(8):1066-1088. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X15597291.). Even if not subject to fixed schedules or to strict control of working time, the ‘service class’ is attached to their organizations by a contract based on mutual confidence, freedom, and consequently, greater responsibility (Goldthorpe 1992Goldthorpe, J. 1992. "Sobre la clase de servicio, su formación y su futuro". Zona Abierta 59–60:229-263.). Moreover, the growth of involuntary part time work during recession has been concentrated in manual services jobs (Lewis et al. 2016Lewis, S., D. Anderson, C. Lyonette, N. Payne and S. Wood (eds.). 2016. Work-life balance in times of recession, austerity and beyond. New York: Routledge.).

Drawing on these premises, the following hypotheses will be tested:

Hypothesis 4. Men with a higher occupational status (i.e. managers and professionals) have less available time, even if they are fathers.

Hypothesis 5. The difference in available time between managers and professionals, on the one hand, and the rest of employees, on the other, has increased since the beginning of the recession.

An alternative perspective will posit that control over work time and the amount of hours worked do not escape the traditional class conflicts (Martín Criado and Prieto 2015Martín Criado, E. and C. Prieto. 2015. "Introducción". Pp. 7-21 in Conflictos por el tiempo. Poder, relación salarial y relaciones de género, edited by E. Martín Criado and C. Prieto. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid y Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.). In this sense, in a context in which the paradigm of flexibility dominates working time regimes, working class employees would be particularly subject to heteronomous flexibility and atypical schedules (Moreno Colom 2010Moreno Colom, S. 2010. "El tiempo de trabajo: de la jaula dorada a la libertad azarosa". Cuadernos de Relaciones Laborales 28(2):299-321.), as they have fewer resources than professionals to decide over their own work time.

 

DATA AND METHOD Top

Data and sample: the STUS

The data used in this study have been drawn from the Spanish Time Use Survey (STUS) which so far has had two editions: 2002-2003 and 2009-2010 (STUS 2003 and STUS 2010 hereafter). The original databases include data for 20 603 and 9541 households (60 493 and 25 895 individuals) respectively. The STUS is a diary based survey that records activities performed by all individuals in the household (aged 10 years or older) during 24 hours and, in the case of paid work time, during a whole week. Diary-based surveys are especially indicated for measures related to the domestic sphere (e.g. unpaid work) and how this may interact with workplace related activities. Also, in the case of the STUS (but not in all time-use surveys) all members of the household participate, so it is a particularly adequate instrument to measure how the allocation of time of different members of the family is interrelated. This feature allows for the study of a rich variety of variables: parents’ schedule coordination (Carriero, Ghysels and Van Klaveren 2009Carriero, R., J. Ghysels and C. Van Klaveren. 2009. "Do parents coordinate their work schedules a comparison of Dutch, Flemish, and Italian dual-earner households". European Sociological Review 25(5):603-617. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcn077.), simultaneous engagement in leisure activities (Gershuny and Sullivan 1998Gershuny, J. and O. Sullivan. 1998. "The Sociological Uses of Time-use Diary Analysis". European Sociological Review 14(1):69-85. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.esr.a018228.), or the effect of partners’ characteristics in an individual’s allocation of time (Hook and Wolfe 2013Hook, J. L. and C.M. Wolfe. 2013. "Parental involvement and work schedules: Time with children in the United States, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom". European Sociological Review 29(3):411-425. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcr081.; Domínguez-Folgueras 2015Domínguez-Folgueras, M. 2015. "Parentalidad y división del trabajo doméstico en España, 2002-2010". Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas 149:45-64. https://doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.149.45.). This is particularly relevant according to the bargaining-resources theories.

In the particular case of work time, the advantages of the STUS are based on its accounting for the real schedule (limiting therefore the perception bias of stylized estimations, where respondents answer how much time they usually spend on work) and would be therefore sensitive to nuances in work hours and /or their distribution, as well as informal arrangements[5]. Working time, as reported by employees, may overestimate those people working the standard schedule (40 hours in Spain). For example, according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in 2009, 11 per cent of all people employed worked over 50 hours per week, while according to the STUS 2010 the percentage was 16. Also, while average work hours for those men who worked were 43.3 according to the STUS, reported average work hours for men according to the LFS 2009 were 37.5. Diary based surveys are probably the only instruments that allow for a nuanced classification of work schedules (combining several dimensions such as how much and when people work).

Given the theoretical importance of family-level variables, as well as gender, in the hypotheses proposed, only people living in heterosexual, dual-earner couples have been included in the sample. The sample has also been restricted to those working people (employees or self-employed) who reported at least one working hour in the work diary as well as having a usual work week, as detailed below. The final sample included 4528 couples (see Table 3 for more detailed information on the distribution of the sample).

Measures

Dependent measures: weekly available time

‘Available time’ has been split into two main dependent variables: available time from Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. (AT1 hereafter) and available time on Saturday and Sunday (AT2). AT1 can take values from 0 to 75 (15 hours a day) and AT2 can take values which range from 0 to 48 hours. Total available time thus range from 0 to 123 hours.

Regarding these variables, which are derived from the work diary questionnaire, one methodological specification can be made. Behavioural indicators (such as time allocated to an activity) are often more informative if they reflect long-term patterns. Therefore, for the measure of effective work hours, researchers usually seek estimators for a long-run variable rather than for exceptional situations. In the case of self-reported work hours, this is achieved by asking respondents about their usual work schedule— a strategy that has a possible drawback of introducing a perception bias.

Diary based surveys, on the contrary, avoid the latter drawback but provide a good proxy for long-run time use only as long as an activity occurs with a high degree of regularity between different time lapses, i.e. days or weeks (Frazis and Stewart 2012Frazis, H. and J. Stewart. 2012. "How to Think about Time-Use Data: What Inferences Can We Make about Long- and Short-Run Time Use from Time Diaries?". Annals of Economic and Statistics 105/106:231-245. https://doi.org/10.2307/23646463.). In the case of paid work, respondents have to report their work schedule for a whole week, which seems a reasonable proxy for long-term schedule related indicators excepting the incidence of ‘rotating shifts’ (which is out of the scope of this work). Time diary based analyses use person-day or person-week (as in this case) rather than mere individuals as their analysis units. To make this estimator of father’s long-run schedules more accurate, those people reporting an ‘unusual week’ in terms of work hours have been excluded from the analysis.

In order to obtain a broader view on individuals work time, the descriptive results section proposes and analyses a theoretical classification of work schedules (see the Appendix for an explanation on how this typology has been constructed).

Independent and control variables

Four main independent variables have been introduced in the analyses in order to test the hypotheses proposed: gender, parental status, occupation and year. With respect to parental status, a four-category variable has been used, grouping people living with: at least one child up to 12 years old, more than one child up to 12 years old, at least one child between 13 and 17 years old (but no child under 13) and no child under 18 years old. When referring to ‘parents’, the focus is put on those people living with children with more intense care needs (i.e. up to 12 years old). With respect to the occupation, the STUS provides the two-digit classification of the National Classification of Occupations (CNO -94), which has been grouped into five relevant categories: managers (CNO-94 code 1), professionals (CNO-94 code 2), middle level white collar workers (technicians and clerical workers: CNO-94 codes 3 and 4), services and sales workers, including armed forces (CNO-94 codes 0 and 5), blue collar workers (CNO-94 codes 6 to 8: skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers; craft and related trades workers, and plant and machine operators and assemblers) and elementary occupations (CNO-94 code 9). A dummy variable has been introduced for the year of the survey: before (2003) and after (2010) the onset of the recession.

Several control variables have also been included, according to relevant hypotheses in the literature about the gender division of paid and unpaid work. The father’s age has been introduced as a continuous variable. The variable ‘college’ refers to his having attained a university degree. Two dummies capture two relevant working conditions: having schedule flexibility (as reported by the individual) and working in the public, education or health sector (the STUS does not allow disentangling among the three sectors). Three variables try to capture the effect of the relative resources hypothesis and of orientation to work: educational hypergamy (spouse has university degree, while individual does not), occupational hypergamy (spouse is a manager or professional, while individual is not) and income hypergamy (the individual’s spouse earns more than he does). For the sample of women, hypergamy refers to his having more of these resources than she does. The spouse’s available time (AT1 and AT2) has been introduced as a continuous variable, in order to test for possible schedule synchronization among both partners, or if, on the contrary, childcare requirements impose desynchronization (i.e. mothers seek available time when the father works long hours in the evening). Finally, a continuous variable controls for the number of children up to 12 years old living in the household and a dummy variable controls for external (formal or informal) childcare received by the family, excluding compulsory education. For reasons of space, only significant associations will be commented on for control variables. Multicollinearity between independent and control variables has been discarded by calculating the variance inflation factors for the regressors (vif command on Stata 13).

Analytical strategy

The first hypothesis has been tested using a t-test for the difference in means for the two periods compared. The rest of the hypotheses have been tested through a set of four OLS regression models, given that the dependent measures are continuous variables (number of available hours). The first two models carry out analyses for AT1 (available time during weekdays) respectively for men and women, while the third and fourth models do the same but taking AT2 (available time during the weekend) as the dependent variable. Although the focus of this study is on fathers, testing some of the hypotheses required the replication of the analyses for the sample of women, which also served for the adoption of a gender comparative perspective (the variables refer in this case to the woman, such as her being educated to degree level).

 

RESULTS Top

Available time and the use of the ‘tight-time schedule’. 2003-2010

Table 1 shows how available time has changed over the period 2003-2010 in Spain, for the whole working population. On average, the Spanish working population work almost 2 daily hours from Monday to Friday (after 5 p.m.) or during the weekend. While there is no significant difference in available time during the weekends between 2003 and 2010, available time during weekdays has significantly decreased (by around 36 weekly minutes) which points to a trend of de-standardization of work schedules.

Table 1. Available time (AT1 and AT2) in Spain, 2003-2010

Available time (AT1 and AT2) in Spain, 2003-2010

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Figure 4 and Figure 5 also confirm that, for people living in dual-earner couples, non-standard schedules (those in which most work time is performed out of the business core hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) have slightly increased, for both men and women. This applies to every occupational category analysed, excepting managerial positions (see Figure 6 and Figure 7). What is also noticeable is that the percentage of women working less than 30 hours (around one fourth) has decreased, while in the case of men, it has increased, although a remarkable gender gap still remains in the prevalence of short schedules. Also, after the recession onset, the percentage of men who work long hours (more than 40 hours a week) have decreased, while for women the differences are negligible.

Figure 4. Work schedules by household typology. Men, 2003-2010

Work schedules by household typology. Men, 2003-2010

Source: 2003 and 2010 STUS. Sample: men living in heterosexual, dual-earner couples, who worked at least one hour on that week and reported a usual work week. Notes: Weighted percentages. Labels show the percentage of people with a tight-time schedule.

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Figure 5. Work schedules by household typology. Women, 2003-2010

Work schedules by household typology. Women, 2003-2010

Source: 2003 and 2010 STUS. Sample: women living in heterosexual, dual-earner couples, who worked at least one hour on that week and reported a usual work week. Notes: Weighted percentages. Labels show the percentage of people with a tight-time schedule.

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Figure 6. Work schedules by occupational category. Men, 2003-2010

Work schedules by occupational category. Men, 2003-2010

Source: 2003 and 2010 STUS. Sample: men living in heterosexual, dual-earner couples, who worked at least one hour on that week and reported a usual work week. Notes: Weighted percentages. Labels show the percentage of people with a tight-time schedule.

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Figure 7. Work schedules by occupational category. Women, 2003-2010

Work schedules by occupational category. Women, 2003-2010

Source: 2003 and 2010 STUS. Sample: women living in heterosexual, dual-earner couples, who worked at least one hour on that week and reported a usual work week. Notes: Weighted percentages. Labels show the percentage of people with a tight-time schedule.

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The first hypothesis proposed that women have more available time and make a higher use of the ‘tight-time’ schedule than men. Figure 4 and Figure 5 confirm the hypothesis with respect to the use of the tight-time schedule, although the difference is quite reduced (2.5 percentage points in 2003 and 3.1 in 2010). Table 2 confirms that women have more available time both from Monday to Friday and during the weekend, and that the differences are significant at 1%. On average, men work 3.3 weekly hours more than women in the evenings and nights (AT1) in 2010, and 0.7 hours (around 42 minutes) during the weekends (AT2). Differences have decreased in the case of AT1 and slightly increased in the case of AT2.

Table 2. Available time (AT1 and AT2) by gender in Spain, 2003-2010

Available time (AT1 and AT2) by gender in Spain, 2003-2010

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Parenthood, gender, occupation and available time. Multivariate analysis

We now turn to the multivariate analyses to test hypotheses 2 to 5. Table 3 presents the descriptive statistics for the sample used and Table 4 presents the results of the OLS models. The reference category in the regression models is a white collar employee, who is not living with any child under 18, in 2003.

The second hypothesis stated that parental status is associated with an increase in the difference in available time between men and women. This hypothesis is confirmed in the case of having at least one young child (0 to 12 years) and only for available time during weekdays. That is, having a child younger than 13 years old increases the gap in available time in around 22 daily minutes every day from Monday to Friday, and having more than one, in around 31 daily minutes, while there is no significant difference in the amount of hours worked during the weekend. Hypothesis 3 aimed at testing the changes in available time for fathers between 2003 and 2010. This hypothesis would also be confirmed; otherwise the interaction between year 2010 and parental status would have been significant.

Hypotheses 4 and 5 aimed at analysing the combined effect of occupation and period on available time. Hypothesis 4 proposed that managers and professionals have less available time, even if they are fathers. This hypothesis is clearly confirmed in the case of managers (with the exception of AT2, which is lower for services and sales employees than for managers) while in the case of professionals more nuances are introduced. Both managers and services and sales workers have less AT1 and AT2 than professionals. Having a child under 13 years old does not introduce any significant change in the association between occupation and available time. Elementary jobs and white collar workers are those with more AT1 and AT2 (in the case of the latter, there are no significant differences from blue collar workers). The final hypothesis proposed that the difference between higher level employees and the rest of the workforce would have increased after the recession. This hypothesis cannot be confirmed with the data used in this study, as the interactions between year 2010 and occupation present no significant results pointing in this direction. Therefore, there does not seem to be an increasing polarization of employees in terms of available time after the beginning of the recession. What is noticeable though, is that the association between occupation and available time is highly gendered (e.g. when comparing available time on the weekends for managers and services and sales employees).

The regression analyses throw light on other interesting associations of different variables and available time. As previously mentioned, women have significantly reduced their AT1 in 2010 while men have not. Working in the public, education or health sector, having schedule flexibility or a university degree is significantly associated with having more available time for both men and women (and especially in the case of AT1, for men). Income hypergamy seems to have the contrary effect on men and women with respect to AT2: when the woman earns more, he works longer hours at the weekend, while when the man earns more, she works fewer hours. The most relevant interaction of parental status and occupation happens in the case of mothers with a managerial position. Mothers (with a child up to the age of 12) in managerial positions (and to a much lesser extent professionals) reduce their available time during the weekends to a lesser extent than their male or childless counterparts. Finally, the multivariate analyses show that spouses’ available hours are significantly associated, which means that spouses do not tend to have desynchronized work weeks. This might be due in part due to an active maximization of time out of work spent together by spouses as it has been empirically proved for other national contexts such as Italy (Carriero, Ghysels and Van Klaveren 2009Carriero, R., J. Ghysels and C. Van Klaveren. 2009. "Do parents coordinate their work schedules a comparison of Dutch, Flemish, and Italian dual-earner households". European Sociological Review 25(5):603-617. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcn077.), though the analyses carried out in this study cannot disregard selection effects. To end with, schedule flexibility is associated to more available time for men but not so much for women.

Table 3. Sample characteristics: independent and control variables, 2003-2010 (n=4,528)

Sample characteristics: independent and control variables, 2003-2010 (n=4,528)

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Table 4. OLS regression for available time (AT1 and AT2), 2003-2010

OLS regression for available time (AT1 and AT2), 2003-2010

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CONCLUSIONS Top

At the heart of the difficulties that many contemporary workers experience to achieve the ideal work-life balance, there seems to be an ultimate conflict with time (Moreno Colom 2015Moreno Colom, S. 2015. "Tiempo, trabajo y bienestar: relato de un conflicto cotidiano". Pp. 145-167 in Conflictos por el tiempo. Poder, relación salarial y relaciones de género, edited by E. Martín Criado and C. Prieto. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid y Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.). Most workers move within the territory of imbalance (rather than balance) or direct conflict with respect to the achievement of work, family and personal daily demands, which can have important negative consequences in their health and general well-being (Schieman, Whitestone and Van Gundy 2006Schieman, S., Y. K. Whitestone and K. Van Gundy. 2006. "The nature of work and the stress of higher status". Journal of Health and Social Behavior 47(3):242-257. https://doi.org/10.1177/002214650604700304.; Mills and Täht 2010Mills, M. and K. Täht. 2010. "Nonstandard Work Schedules and Partnership Quality: Quantitative and Qualitative Findings". Journal of Marriage and Family 72(4):860-875. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3737.2010.00735.x.; Moreno Colom 2010Moreno Colom, S. 2010. "El tiempo de trabajo: de la jaula dorada a la libertad azarosa". Cuadernos de Relaciones Laborales 28(2):299-321.; Bell, Otterbach and Sousa-Poza 2012Bell, D., S. Otterbach and A. Sousa-Poza. 2012. "Work hours constraints and health". Annals of Economics and Statistics 105/106:35-54. https://doi.org/10.2307/23646455.). Chronic stress may be the most obvious one, but there might be others also affecting the life of individuals and communities in the medium and long term: from marital instability to very low fertility or discrimination in the labour market. If we assume the premise that achieving or at least approaching the ideal of work-life balance is to a great extent a ‘question of time’, some of the first questions that Sociology faces are probably how much and when along the day women and men work and to what extent the time they are not engaged with work is sufficient to meet their real needs.

This study has sought to examine working time from a work-life balance perspective, which implies focusing on those social groups that are subject to more intense family demands (such as fathers and mothers of young children), as well as taking into account the constrains that the rhythms of social schedules impose on them. Changes in today’s society make the study of working time and work-life balance particularly relevant. From a gender perspective, the ‘one and a half earner model’ (Hook and Wolfe 2013Hook, J. L. and C.M. Wolfe. 2013. "Parental involvement and work schedules: Time with children in the United States, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom". European Sociological Review 29(3):411-425. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcr081.), with women working significantly less than men in order to meet family and domestic demands, seems neither socially fair nor sustainable. We know that men are responding to this conflict by adopting new roles as that of the ‘new father’ (Barbeta-Viñas and Cano 2017Barbeta-Viñas, M. and T. Cano. 2017. "¿Hacia un nuevo modelo de paternidad? Discursos sobre el proceso de implicación paterna en la España urbana / Toward a New Model of Fatherhood? Discourses on the Process of Paternal Involvement in Urban Spain". Revista Española de Investigaciones Sociológicas 159:13-30. https://doi.org/10.5477/cis/reis.159.13.), but this does not seem to be having a real reflection on paid work hours. From an economic perspective, global markets and the 24/7 economy, sustained on the paradigm of a virtually complete ‘temporal availability’ of employees with respect to companies (Martínez García 2015Martínez García, E. 2015. "La disponibilidad temporal de los asalariados en la organización flexible del trabajo". Pp. 25-48 in Conflictos por el tiempo. Poder, relación salarial y relaciones de género, edited by E. Martín Criado and C. Prieto. Madrid: Universidad Complutense de Madrid y Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.) as the norm ruling employment relationships nowadays, seems to clash with the requirements of managing a household and being in charge of dependent people. In sum, the model of the male breadwinner, who was not expected to be particularly attentive to domestic demands, and who, furthermore, worked under the ‘9 to 5’ pattern has collapsed, but the alternatives still seem unclear. The Spanish context presents some structural, economic and cultural particularities that make it an interesting case of study for the aforementioned issues.

In this context, this article has tried to shed light on how availability of time in the evenings and weekends can be a potential work-life balance resource. The results show that only a minority of people living in dual-earner couples with at least one child under 13 years old make use of the so called ‘tight time’ schedule (a work week of 30-40 hours concentrated within the core business hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday): around 16% in the case of mothers and 11% in the case of fathers. This slight difference hides in fact a highly gendered reality: while for mothers the alternative seems to be working less than 30 hours (for around 25% of working mother), for fathers it seems to be working more than 40 (in more than 40% of the cases).

This study confirmed four of the hypotheses proposed with regard to ‘available time’ (understood as time away from paid work) for Spanish workers. Firstly, motherhood (but not fatherhood) is positively associated to having more available time, and the number of children under 13 years old does matter to this respect. Secondly, time availability has not significantly increased nor decreased for fathers in Spain before and after the onset of the Great Recession, despite the changes that it has introduced in our social organization. Finally, the availability of time is conditioned by occupational status in a particular and complex way: managers, but also sales and services workers are, for different reasons, those who more frequently work non-standard hours, while white collar workers (e.g. clerical workers) are in the opposite extreme. Other relevant results have arisen from the analyses. Mothers (but not fathers) in managerial positions seem to limit their working hours during the weekends. Spouses’ available time presents a positive correlation, which points, either to a selection effect or an active synchronization of work schedules. The use of flexibility (as well as the effect of jobs themselves) seems to be relatively gendered, as its association with time availability is quite different for women and men. To end with, the data showed a slight but clear convergence trend between women’s and men’s work hours, due to a decrease in women’s available time within the period 2003-2010. Future analysis will show if there is a lagged response to this in men’s schedules in the opposite direction.

The study of working hours in its relation to work-life balance with time use data is not exempt from limitations, the most important one probably being the problem of endogeneity of jobs, family characteristics, work time and other uses of time. We cannot disentangle, with time use data, to what extent working particular hours comes before or after the decision to have a child or develop a particular career, nor can we be certain if fathers work long hours because they do not do the lion’s share of domestic and care work or the other way round. What seems clear in any case is that paid and unpaid work time are undoubtedly associated, and that being the main caregiver for children (up to now, a role reserved for mothers) is hardly made compatible with long work schedules, irrespective of which circumstance came first.

Despite these limitations, therefore, the study of work time and available time with a quantitative, nationally representative approach can be a first, necessary step to raise new questions about co-responsibility in the family, work schedules, jobs, and preferences over work time and, ultimately, individuals’ well-being. Some of those are: to what extent is a tight-time schedule a desirable model for male and female employees to approach work-life balance, and if so, what are the barriers that they face to work under this pattern? What are the costs at the individual and family level, if any, of the relatively high amount of non-standard hours worked by particular employees, such as managers and those in service and sales? What roles do preferences and constrains play in the adoption of these work time patterns? What role can working time policies play to foster co-responsibility among individuals in the processes required to ‘maintain life’ (Pérez Orozco 2014Pérez Orozco, A. 2014. Subversión Feminista de la Economía. Madrid: Traficantes de sueños.; Gálvez Muñoz 2016Gálvez Muñoz, L. (ed.) 2016. La economía de los cuidados. Sevilla: Deculturas Ediciones.);)? To end with, cross-national comparative research could explore further if the patterns pointed out in this study respond to national specific or global trends.

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSTop

This work was supported by the research project CSO2014-58754-P and the grant BES-2015-07427 for the hiring of doctoral candidates, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy.

 

NOTES Top

[1]

This paper received the “Jóvenes investigadores” (Young Researchers) prize at the 2016 REPS Conference this is the original version submitted to the Conference.

[2]

A clarification is worth at this point with respect to the term ‘available time’. This study focuses particularly on paid working time and therefore ‘available time’ is understood in the ‘narrow’ sense of the time in which the person is not in (paid) work, and not as overall available time (i.e. time away from unpaid work). Only in this restricted sense can we conclude that mothers have more available time than fathers in Spain.

[3]

I use this term for the widely used expression of ‘jornada intensiva’ in Spanish, for which I have not found a more direct translation into English.

[4]

The measurement of the social time devoted to an activity includes also people who do not spend any time doing it, in this case, unemployed people (Durán Heras and Rogero García 2009Durán Heras, M. Á. and J. Rogero García. 2009. La investigación sobre el uso del tiempo. Madrid: Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.).

[5]

Different studies show that informally arranged flexible work arrangement are widely spread (Ladge et al. 2015Ladge, J. J., B. K. Humberd, M. Baskerville Watkins and B. Harrington. 2015. "Updating the Organization Man: an Examination of Involved Fathering in the Workplace". Academy of Management Perspectives 29(1):152-171. https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.2013.0078.) and that they may matter even more than formally established policies to determine work to family conflict (Allard, Haas and Hwang 2007Allard, K., L. Haas and C. P. Hwang. 2007. "Exploring the Paradox. Experiences of flexible working arrangements and work-family conflict among managerial fathers in Sweden". Community, Work and Family 10(4):475-493. https://doi.org/10.1080/13668800701575135.).

 

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APPENDIXTop

A typology of work schedules

The criterion used to define the different schedules is double: how much and when throughout the day work takes place. Regarding the second one, we have followed Hook and other authors’ method for classifying schedules according to when most work time happens, considering substantially relevant time lapses (e.g., these authors consider the lapses between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for ‘morning workers’ vs 4 p.m. to midnight for ‘evening workers’ (Hook and Wolfe 2013Hook, J. L. and C.M. Wolfe. 2013. "Parental involvement and work schedules: Time with children in the United States, Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom". European Sociological Review 29(3):411-425. https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcr081.). However, a more nuanced classification has been made, trying to reflect situations in which people, at least sometimes, work in non-standard hours. One main classification distinguishes between standard schedules (work weeks in which most work time is performed between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and less than 6 hours between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.) and non-standard schedules (for people who perform most of their work between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. or at weekends, or those who work at least 6 hours between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.). Bearing in mind the generalized long hours’ culture in Spanish workplaces, the relatively high presence of the split-shift schedule (Gracia and Kalmijn 2016Gracia, P. and M. Kalmijn. 2016. "Parents’ Family Time and Work Schedules: The Split-Shift Schedule in Spain". Journal of Marriage and Family 78(2):401-415. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12270.) and the general time lag compared to other countries, the ‘tight time schedule’ has been defined in a broad way. It would be one standard schedule comprising between 30 and 40 hours in which all work time is performed either between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (for a more flexible definition of this schedule, people working only between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. have also been included), with no work performed on weekends. People who work less than 30 hours and more than 40 have been excluded from this category, as the ‘tight time schedule’ aims at representing an ‘ideal’ form of distributing work time more equitably among men and women, especially those who are parents— thus excluding extreme cases of ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ work. As in all taxonomies, the operationalization of this one may be establishing arbitrary frontiers (e.g. one employee may be classified as having a ‘night schedule’ if he was working exceptionally for a whole night). However, the fact that only ‘usual work weeks’ are analysed make this possibility residual.

The schedule typology has emerged as follows:

(1) Standard schedules: people who work most of their time between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays and less than 6 hours between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

(a) Standard hours, short schedule (0-29 hours).

(b) Tight time schedule, people who work: 30-40 hours a week (included); 100% between core hours: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (or alternatively between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.) and no work takes place on weekends.

(c) Other standard schedules, different to the tight-time one (30-40 hours).

(d) Standard schedule, some overtime (41-45 hours)

(e) Long schedule (46-50 hours)

(f) Very long schedule (more than 50 hours)

(2) Non-standard schedules: People who work most of their time between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. or during the weekends, or work at least 6 hours during the night (between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.).

(a) Afternoon /evening: they only work between 1 p.m. and 11 p.m., and most of their time after 5 p.m. or at the weekend.

(b) Night: they work at least 6 hours a week between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

(c) Other non-standard schedules. People who work most of their time at the weekend or, alternatively, work some hours after 10 p.m. but less than 6 hours at night (e.g. Monday to Friday, from 6 p.m. to 12 p.m.).

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORTop

IRINA FERNÁNDEZ-LOZANO is a PhD candidate (FPI researcher) at the Spanish National Distance Education University (UNED), being a member of research project IMPLICA (‘Working time, paternity and childhood. How can business policies promote father involvement in care and maintain gender equality?’). Her current research interests comprise labour market trends, work-life balance, gender and other forms of inequality and quantitative social research methods.



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