May 16, 2016
There has been significant expansion of flexible working arrangements (FWAs) in the last two decades, driven to some degree by the work-life balance agenda. However, in practice work-life balance and flexible working continue to be viewed as a ‘women’s issue’, as women more often reduce hours or work part-time. But recent research conducted by my own department suggests that women working flexibly are not experiencing the potential wellbeing benefits when compared to men. Flexible working arrangements include part-time, flexi-time, job share and homeworking. Part-time accounts for approximately 40 percent of female employment and is the most common FWA used by women. Term-time working is also used predominantly by women, reflecting the typical gender roles regarding caring for school-aged children. Meanwhile, flexi-time remains the most common arrangement used by men, at around 19 percent.