Non-Standard Work Schedules and Long Work Hours: The Dual Influence on Workers’ Work-Family Conflict in Japan

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Shigeki MATSUDA, Chukyo University, Japan
Economies that operate 24 hours per day and seven days per week have emerged in many developed countries in response to globalization, a shift toward services, and information technologies. These changes have increased the number of non-standard work schedules, such as evening, night, and weekend shifts outside the historical nine-to-five workday. Japan is unique because non-standard work schedules have been penetrating its culture of long work hours. This context might be difficult for workers and their spouses to balance work and family, and it might be a barrier to women’s social advancement in Japan, where there is a strong gendered division of labor. This study investigated the effects of long work hours (weekly and overtime) and non-standard schedules (shift and Sunday work) on workers’ and spouses’ work-family conflict and related outcomes (sleep quality, feeling of being rushed, life satisfaction). Secondary data on a nationally representative sample of 1,654 couples (with children) in 2015 were tested using multiple regression analysis. The results found that long work hours and non-standard schedules had a dual influence that worsened workers’ work-family conflict and the related outcomes. The impact was stronger for males than for females. Male workers’ overtime days and Sunday work worsened their work-family conflict and shift work lowered their sleep quality. Interactions between long work hours and non-standard work negatively affected work-family conflict for the males. Husbands’ long work and non-standard work did not influence their wives’ outcomes, but wives’ work conditions influenced their husbands’ outcomes. Increasing non-standard work in Japan seriously degrades health and work-family conflict resolution for male and female workers. Women’s employment opportunities might be limited because they seem to be avoiding these work styles as much as possible.