Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality
Show Less

Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality

Building Just Societies in the 21st Century

Edited by Janine Berg

Labour market institutions, including collective bargaining, the regulation of employment contracts and social protection policies, are instrumental for improving the well-being of workers, their families and society. In many countries, these institutions have been eroded, whilst in other countries they do not exist at all.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 7: The ‘deconstruction’ of part-time work

Jon C. Messenger and Nikhil Ray


Part-time work has a complex relationship with inequality, as it can be both a source of discrimination and also a means for integrating certain disadvantaged groups into the labour force. While part-time work can give parents, older workers and youth job opportunities they might not otherwise enjoy, it is also associated with less favourable conditions regarding wages (‘the part-time pay penalty’) and other employment benefits, inferior job security, restricted social security coverage, and more limited career prospects. Part-time work is of growing importance in many countries as a means for otherwise excluded groups to participate in the paid labour force, especially groups such as homemakers, students and retirees. Many authors (e.g., Fagan et al., 2012) highlight the link between part-time work and gender, especially as a means for women to reconcile family responsibilities with paid work, while also underlining how extended periods of part-time work can permanently relegate women to an inferior position in the professional world. In a number of developed countries (e.g., the Netherlands, Sweden), part-time work is encouraged by government policy as a means of access for women who might otherwise not have the opportunity to join the paid labour force (Anxo, 2007; Kjeldstad and Nymoen, 2012). Part-time work is also frequently used as a means for companies to retain older, skilled workers, who might otherwise retire, or to attract and retain workers in difficult jobs, such as nursing (MacPhee and Svendsen Borra, 2012).

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.