Long work hours and the wellbeing of fathers and their families
The average hours worked by full-time employees in Australia have increased since the late 1970s. This, combined with increases in female labour force participation, has led to concerns about the impact of long work hours on family life. This paper explores the relationship between fathers' work hours, their own wellbeing and that of their families using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey. The analysis is restricted to full-time employed fathers with a partner and dependent children. Overall, satisfaction with work hours decreases as the number of hours worked increases. However, long work hours are not necessarily, or even on average associated with pervasively lower wellbeing. Work hours are negatively related to only two of the thirteen measures of wellbeing examined. For fathers working very long hours, their satisfaction with their work hours is found to be very important to the relationship between work hours and wellbeing.
Authors and Acknowledgements
The authors thank Ann Sanson, Iain Campbell and Mark Wooden for comments on an earlier version of this paper. A previous version of this paper was presented to the Australian Social Policy Conference, Sydney, 2003. This paper uses the data in the confidentialised unit record file from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. The HILDA survey is funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Government Department of Family and Community Services. The survey is being designed and managed by a consortium led by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research (University of Melbourne). Other partners are the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Australian Institute of Family Studies. (Further details can be found at the web address <http://www.melbourneinstitute.com/hilda/>
Weston, R., Gray, M., Qu, L., & Stanton, D. (2004). Long work hours and the wellbeing of fathers and their families (Research Paper No. 35). Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.
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