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A new organisation of time over working life

Bert de Vroom, Jørgen Goul Andersen, Katrin Krämer, Corinna Barkholdt og Gerhard Naegele

Office for Official Publications of the European Communities 2003, 173 s. ISBN 92-897-0222-2
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

The organisation of time in society has been a long-standing area of interest and analysis in the Foundation. Considerable attention has been given to the structuring of working time as a central element of working conditions and a key influence upon job satisfaction or the quality of working life. However, the Foundation’s wider remit, to examine the quality of life for Europe’s citizens, underlines the importance of looking at links between working time and time outside work.
The changing labour market, alongside the demands for time to meet social needs (for learning and caring, personal, family and community activities), generates pressures to re-examine options for organising working time. Above all, as this report emphasises, this rethinking must address the organisation of time over the course of an individual’s working life, not only at specific moments.
The concepts of ‘life-cycle’ and ‘life-course’ are increasingly being used as tools for analysis and policy debate. They require careful application to make them operational and to inform policymaking.
However, the life-course approach can provide insights and shed new light on contemporary policy challenges. Issues of lifelong learning, intergenerational solidarity, employment rates, sustainable pensions and care for children or dependent adults are all addressed in the ‘life-course perspective’. This does not, of course, offer ready-made solutions, but rather ideas and options for human resource policies, labour market and social protection policies. This lifecourse approach emphasises the inter-relatedness of all these policies.
This report, A new organisation of time over working life, offers a conceptual framework to consider time arrangements and working life, linking this to measures to improve quality of life. The report shows how these time arrangements have already changed significantly, for men and especially women, over the last 30 years, and it documents some of the consequences. This first report does not give a systematic comparative analysis of new time arrangements across the EU, but it illustrates developments in many areas, including part-time and flexible working time; long-term leave arrangements for care, education or other reasons; and measures to extend or redistribute time over working life.
The conclusions not only point to the need for further research, some of which is already underway, but also signal a range of initiatives which need further implementation and evaluation – involving workplace measures, collective bargaining, public authorities and public policies.
We are pleased to make this report available as a contribution to the lively debate and reflection upon time policies and quality of life. A short summary has been prepared by the Foundation’s research managers.