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This study examined the effect of working at non-standard times on the transition to first and second childbirth. Using quantitative couple data from two waves of the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 742) and semi-structured qualitative interviews (N = 29), we found a lower probability of having a first child when the female partner was engaged in non-standard schedules, and a higher likelihood of second childbirth for couples where either partner worked in a non-standard schedule. In line with expectations about the institutional and normative context of the Netherlands, we concluded that women adjusted their work schedules to their fertility plans and that couples had a preference for the personal care of their children rather than relying on formal care arrangements. Non-standard schedules served as a means to achieve this.

Original publication




Journal article


Social Forces

Publication Date





957 - 988