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Abstract A wide body of research over the past 30 years links non-standard work schedules to increased work–family conflict (WFC), but often only within single country contexts. A relatively under-explored question is the extent to which the effects of non-standard schedules on family life might vary by country or be buffered by institutional context. Building on past research, this study uses multilevel modelling techniques on 2004 and 2010 European Social Survey data to explore whether the effects of non-standard schedules on WFC vary across 32 countries in Europe, and if so, whether this contextual variation can be explained by labour regulations and industrial relations characteristics measured at the country level. Findings show that while non-standard work hours and days are associated with increased WFC across the majority of sampled countries, the strength of this association varies significantly between countries. The strongest factor shaping the social consequences of non-standard schedules is the degree to which workers are covered under collective bargaining agreements in a country, which explains as much as 17% of the observed between-country variation in the effects of non-standard schedules on WFC. These findings highlight collective agreements as one of the central mechanisms through which family-friendly regulations on working times and conditions are generated for non-standard schedule workers across Europe. More broadly, findings suggest that when studying the social consequences of non-standard schedules, these arrangements must be contextualized in the broader institutional frameworks within which they are organized and regulated.

Original publication




Journal article


European Sociological Review


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date