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7 - Policy issues

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Robert A. Hart
Affiliation:
University of Stirling
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Summary

Work sharing and mandatory overtime rules

At industry or 7national level, work sharing is usually taken to mean spreading the available work more thinly across more workers. It may occur because firms voluntarily re-structure towards the use of more part-time employees, split jobs and flexible working time arrangements. Such actions probably account for relatively minor employment changes and may not mean, necessarily, that there is a net increase in workforce size. In order to achieve a sizeable employment impact, and often with an eye towards alleviating unemployment, some governments have taken the view that significant shifts towards more work sharing require direct and systematic labour market intervention. Overtime working is usually at the centre of such initiatives. The reason has as much to do with social and political concerns as with economic ones. Why should sections of the workforce work hours beyond their standard contractual commitment, the argument proceeds, when others are unemployed or working involuntary short-time hours? While this line of reasoning has potent political appeal, policy makers in Europe and the United States have adopted radically different approaches to work sharing in general and to its overtime dimension in particular.

Europeans have concentrated on manipulating the length of contractual hours. In this context, overtime plays a generally misunderstood role.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Policy issues
  • Robert A. Hart, University of Stirling
  • Book: The Economics of Overtime Working
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511493263.008
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  • Policy issues
  • Robert A. Hart, University of Stirling
  • Book: The Economics of Overtime Working
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511493263.008
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Policy issues
  • Robert A. Hart, University of Stirling
  • Book: The Economics of Overtime Working
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511493263.008
Available formats
×