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Are Flexible Work Schedules Created for Business Reasons or to Assist Workers? Evidence from WES.

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Published: November 2009

Author(s): Isik Zeytinoglu, McMaster University; Gordon Cooke, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador; Sara Mann, University of Guelph

This paper examines whether flexible work schedules in Canada are created by employers for business reasons or to assist their workers achieve work-life balance. We focus on long workweek, flextime, compressed workweek, variable workweek length and/or variable workweek schedule. Statistics Canada’s 2003 Workplace and Employee Survey data linking employee microdata to workplace (i.e., employer) microdata are used in the analysis. Results show that more than half of the workers covered in this data have at least one of the five specified types of flexible work schedules. Employment status, unionized work, occupation, and sector are factors consistently associated with flexible work schedules. Personal characteristics such as marital status, dependent children, and childcare use are not significantly associated with flexible work schedules, and females are less likely to have a flexible work schedule than are males. Overall, results suggest that flexible work schedules are created for business reasons rather than individual worker interests.

(Power Point presented at Whose Flexibility conference, October 30, 2009)

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