Lott, Yvette; "German mother's labor market re-entry after parental leave: Do parent's flexible working time arrangements help?"; Working paper Forschungsförderung, Number 071; Hans Böckler Stiftung; 2018
Flexible working time arrangements can help combine work and family life and might therefore encourage mothers’ labor market re-entry after parental leave – without a reduction in working time. The present study analyzes the role of flexible working time arrangements, namely flexitime, weekend work and night work, (1) for women’s re-entry into the labor market and (2) for changes in mothers’ contractual working time after parental leave in Germany. Since partners’ lives are interrelated, mothers’ might also profit from their partners’ working time flexibility. Event history analyses based on the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) in the years 2003 to 2013 show that mothers are more likely to re-enter the labor market when they have flexitime, but they do so mostly with reduced work hours. There is also some evidence that mothers are more likely to return to the labor market when they work weekends. Moreover, women’s and especially their partners’ night work has negative effects on mothers’ work capacity. Interestingly, partners’ flexitime is negatively related to mothers’ return to the labor market. The present study indicates that public policy measures are needed to limit the prevalence and the extent of burdensome work arrangements like night work. Also, mothers who seem to extend the workweek in order to re-enter the labor market should be supported more in balancing work and family life during the regular work week. Furthermore, public policy measures should encourage the implementation of flexitime as a worklife balance measure and, at the same time, weaken the gendered use of flexible arrangements. The study, however, also indicates that policy measures are needed to support mothers’ work capacity and to contribute to gender equality.