Shorter Work Weeks Lead to More Work-to-Family Strain? Worldwide Evidence

Leah Ruppanner, University of Melbourne
David Maume, University of Cincinnati

Many individuals face competing work and family demands. In response, many welfare states have limited weekly work hours to encourage work-life balance. The impact of these policies on work-family strain is mixed thus requiring additional investigation. In response, we apply multi-level data pairing the 2005 International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) for individuals in 31 nations (N=20,399) with country-level measures of legislated weekly work hours and reported mean weekly work hours. At the individual-level, we weigh the impact of job resources on work-to-family interference by gender. At the country-level, we weigh the scarcity and resources-expectations arguments. We find maximum legislated weekly work hours have no impact on work-to-family interference. By contrast, we find longer normative weekly work hours and the gap in worked versus legislated work hours are negatively associated with work-to-family interference with no different effects by gender. Further exploration demonstrates shorter work hours to be tied to reports of individualism which produce an equivalent pattern.

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Presented in Session 131: Work-Family Balance and Conflict