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Limited Access: Disparities in Flexible Work Schedules and Work-at-home

Abstract

This research tests predictions regarding potential disparities among the employed by personal characteristics in the ability to vary the starting and ending times of their workday and engage in work from home. Women and African-Americans possess less access to flexible work schedules, even when controlling for most job characteristics. Married men have more access, but only if they are parents, and mothers only if they have pre-school-age children. Workers with part-time or long hours gain far greater access. Work-at-home is more common among women, the married and parents-thus, relatively more reflective of family demands. The results suggest where public and organizational policies could be focused to spread flexible work arrangements more toward those who both most value it and lack it.

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Acknowledgments

Grant #B-2002–48 from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Workplace, Workforce and Working Families Program, and Tesfayi Gebreselassie for research assistance.

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Correspondence to Lonnie Golden.

Appendix

Appendix

May 2001 CPS Supplement on Work Schedules and Work at Home

Full sample characteristics and key variable descriptions

Characteristics (weighted) Mean (or %) Standard deviation Variable description
Age 39.7 13.09  
Female 46.7 0.50  
African-American 11.3 0.32  
Married 58.4 0.49  
Divorced/separated/widowed 14.7 0.35  
Child 0–5 8.9 0.28 Age of youngest child in the household is under 6
Child 6–17 29.4 0.46 Age of youngest child in the household is under 18
Usually part-time 16.2 0.37 Job is usually fewer than 35 hours per week
Work hours 40/week 49.0 0.50 Usual number of hours per week on main job
41–49 6.9 0.25  
50+ 14.0 0.35  
Day shift 82.0 0.38 Usually work between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. schedule on major some other schedule? 1. A daytime schedule (anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.)
Evening shift 6.5 0.25 Usually work anytime between 2 p.m. and midnight
Night shift 2.9 0.17 Usually work anytime between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Other shifta 7.8 0.27 Usually work rotating, split or irregular shift
Self employed 5.3 0.22  
Federal government 2.5 0.16  
State government 4.3 0.20  
Local government 7.6 0.27  
Occupation    Sole or principal job of wage/salary worker
Industry    Sole or principal industry of wage/salary worker
Flexible schedule 28.6   Yes, allowed to vary time you begin and end work?
Work at home 19.1a 0.39 As part of job, do any of your work at home? Arrangement with your employer to be paid for the work that you do at home, or were you just taking work home from the job?
  1. aIncludes the self-employed

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Golden, L. Limited Access: Disparities in Flexible Work Schedules and Work-at-home. J Fam Econ Iss 29, 86–109 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-007-9090-7

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Keywords

  • Flexible hours
  • Flextime
  • Telework
  • Work-at-home
  • Work-life balance
  • Working hours