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Involuntary Temporary and Part-Time Work, Job Quality and Well-Being at Work


This paper studies the impact of job contract types on perceived job quality, using the Finnish 2008 Quality of Work Life Surveys (QWLS) from the years 1997, 2003 and 2008. In the analysis, job contract types are adjusted to take into account the motive for doing temporary and part-time work. Our results from the Finnish QWLS imply that there are clear differences in job quality and work well-being by the type of job contract. Our results also show the importance of distinguishing between types of temporary and part-time work by the contract preference, i.e. whether these nonstandard employment arrangements are exercised involuntarily or not. Almost without exception, involuntary temporary and involuntary part-time workers’ experiences of their job quality are weaker with respect to core job quality indicators studied in this paper, such as training possibilities, participation in employer-funded training, career possibilities, possibilities to learn and grow at work, job insecurity, and job autonomy.

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  1. 1.

    Of these problems related to unequal treatment also tells that in the EU both Fixed-term Work and Part-time Work Directives (1999/70/EC, 1997/81/EC and 1998/23/EC) have been drawn up in order to end less favourable treatment of temporary and part-timer workers, and increase the quality of these jobs. Furthermore, the directive supports the increase of voluntary part-time work and flexible working time arrangements, which take into account the needs of both employees and employers. The aim is that temporary and part-time employees would be equally treated than similar permanent and full-time workers (apart from issues of pay) unless there is an objective reason to justify the less favourable treatment.

  2. 2.

    On the basis of data description for different years separately which are not reported.

  3. 3.

    Ordinal variables are usually seen as observable indicator variables of underlying latent continuous variables.

  4. 4.

    Based on unpublished estimation results using the QWLS from year 2008.

  5. 5.

    Results based on the QWLS data from years 1997, 2003 and 2003. In all job arrangement types the shares of unemployed/on temporary layoff were highest in 1997 and lowest in 2008.


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This paper is a part of a project funded by the Academy of Finland in the research programme WORK of the Academy of Finland. We are grateful for this financial support. We also thank anonymous referees and the participants of IWPLMS and Work, Employment & Society conferences for useful comments.

Author information

Correspondence to Merja Kauhanen.



See Tables 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Table 1 Characteristics of wage and salary earners by the type of job contract in the pooled data
Table 2 Average scores for job quality indicators by job contract type from pooled data
Table 3 Pooled ordered probit estimation results
Table 4 Pooled probit estimation results

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Kauhanen, M., Nätti, J. Involuntary Temporary and Part-Time Work, Job Quality and Well-Being at Work. Soc Indic Res 120, 783–799 (2015).

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  • Involuntary
  • Temporary work
  • Part-time work
  • Quality of jobs