Unsocial Hours: Unsocial Families?, Working Time and Family Wellbeing
In March 2009 the British researchers Claire Lyonette and Michael Clark examined the impact of atypical working times – inter alia work on Sundays – on family relations, the health of workers and the well-being of their families.
The following paragraphs are excerpts from the study (pp. 55-56):
3.2.1 Weekend work:
A Canadian Study (Jamal, 2004) found that full-time employees working at weekends reported significant higher emotional exhaustion, job stress and psychosomatic health problems than employees not involved with weekend work. In Boisard et al.’s European-wide research (2003b), respondents were asked about health problems, according to whether or not they worked at weekends (Table 3.4). Results were highly consistent in that those working on Saturdays were more likely to report health effects than those not working Saturdays, and those working Sundays were more likely to report problems than those not. However, Sunday working appeared to have the greatest impact. These results support findings from Chapter 2 regarding employee preferences, in which La Valle et al. (2002) reported that 67 % of those mothers in the UK who work every Saturday would prefer not to, and a higher proportion (78 %) of those who work every Sunday would prefer not to. Furthermore, mothers expressed similar preferences for their partners who worked such atypical hours. Not only do the great majority of employees prefer not to work on weekends, but their health appears to be adversely affected when they do. In fact, one may expect the health impact to be even greater for those employees working every Saturday or Sunday, as the results reported here include all employees working “at least one Saturday/Sunday a month”.
Moreover, the authors of the study found, that, in particular, Sunday working of parents has a negative impact on the well-being of their children (p. 14):
“Sunday work appears to affect time spent with children more than any other form of atypical work. [...] Parents do not appear to make up for time lost by atypical working patterns by spending more time with children on another day or at other times.”
The study recommends incorporating a shared week-end day off into current working time legislation (pp. 14-15)