Related BLS programs | Related articles
August 2005, Vol. 128, No.8
The female share of weekend employment: a study of 16 countries
Harriet B. Presser and Janet C. Gornick
The postindustrial era has brought with it changes in the temporal nature of labor force activity in highly industrialized countries, including a growing diversity in employees’ work schedules. How many hours a week people are employed and which hours in the day they are employed are becoming more varied—not just within countries, but across countries; so, too, are which days of the week people are employed.1
Researchers have long studied the number of hours per week that people work and now are focusing some attention to workers’ shifts, whether they work mostly days, evenings, nights, or weekends, or have a rotating schedule; however, there is considerably less research about what is happening to employment during the weekend, both Saturdays and Sundays. Yet weekend employment is a phenomenon of considerable interest as the service sectors of many advanced economies grow, responding to the growing demands of consumers for "24/7" access to certain services.2 Also, because women are disproportionately employed in the service sector in virtually all highly industrialized countries, it is expected that a growing share of weekend employment will be female.
It is important to consider the gendered nature of weekend employment, both in terms of trends and variations. This article documents, for the first time, the share of women working weekends, focusing on 15 contemporary European countries, and to a lesser extent (limited by problems of comparability), the United States.3 This comparative analysis shows considerable variation among European countries that call for contextual factors as part of the explanation, such as differences among countries in public policies and collective agreements bearing on work-hour regulations, pay premia and/or compensatory time, and childcare. These differences will be analyzed in more detail in future work; this article lays the groundwork for further exploration.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 2005 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (93K)
1 "Working Hours: Latest Trends and Policy Initiatives," OECD Employment Outlook (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 1998), pp. 153–88; John M. Evans, Douglas C. Lippoldt, and Pascal Marianna, "Labour Market and Social Policy: Trends in Working Hours in oecd Countries," Occasional paper 45 (Paris, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Employment, Labor, and Social Affairs Committee, 2000).
2 Harriet B. Presser, Working in a 24/7 Economy: Challenges for American Families (New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2003).
3 In another paper in preparation, we assess employment during nonday hours, that is evening, night, and rotating hours, in these same countries.
Related BLS programs
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
schedules of low-educated American women and welfare reform, The.—Apr.
Women's part-time employment: a gross flows analysis—Apr. 1995.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers