Working longer with working-time flexibility: Only when job commitment is high and family commitment is low?
Keywords:working-time flexibility, working-time autonomy, employer-driven flexibility, job commitment, family commitment, gender, moderation analysis, parental status
Objective: This study investigates (a) whether job commitment and family commitment moderate the positive association between flexible working-time arrangements and work hours, and (b) whether childless women and men and mothers and fathers with the same levels of job and family commitment work equally long hours with flexible working-time arrangements.
Background: As working-time flexibility increases at many workplaces due to digital technologies and work overload, so too does the risk of working longer hours. Although previous research has neglected job and family commitment as potential moderators of the relationship between working-time flexibility and long working hours, it has found gender inequalities in working hours among employees with flexible working-time arrangements, which have been attributed inter alia to men’s higher commitment to work and lower commitment to family.
Method: Multivariate analyses were conducted based on German Family Panel (pairfam) data for 2018, 2019, and 2020. The sample comprised data from 4,568 employee-years, 1,666 part-time employee-years, and 2,902 full-time employee-years.
Results: Among full-time employees, only those with high job commitment and low family commitment worked longer hours with employer-driven flexibility and working-time autonomy. Mothers with these arrangements worked fewer hours than childless women, childless men, and fathers, unless they had the same levels of job and family commitment as the latter three groups.
Conclusion: These results suggest, first, that among full-time employees with flexible working-time arrangements, job and family commitment are driving factors for working long hours; second, that gender differences in work hours are shaped by parental status; and third, that these differences are due, at least in part, to differences in connectedness to job and family roles.
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