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Part-Time Employment in Switzerland

Relevance, Impact and Challenges

Series:

Irenka Krone-Germann

In recent labour market history, one of the most striking features has been the increase in part-time employment. In Switzerland, one person out of three works part-time. 57% of women work part-time compared to only 13% of men. This disparity between women and men is one of the highest worldwide. At the same time, differences in the level of education between genders are disappearing. Given the magnitude of this phenomenon, new questions and challenges need to be addressed.
By presenting several econometrical models and taking into account historical and social gender focused behaviors, the author analyzes the impact of part-time employment on earning disparities, labour market segmentation and the probability of being promoted to a higher level of responsibility. While introducing ways to improve the situation for part-timers, the author examines innovative models of work organization such as job-sharing, top-sharing, functional flexibility and project team rotations. Beyond demonstrating the need for changes within public and private companies, the book also reveals concrete instruments on policy which could facilitate the implementation of such innovative models.

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6. Towards new instruments and policies for improvingthe status of part-time employees in Switzerland - 159

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159 6. Towards new instruments and policies for improving the status of part-time employees in Switzerland 6.1 Introduction Considering the results observed in the last chapters (vertical segrega- tion, lost opportunities in earnings and dual market segmentation af- fecting more part-timers), solutions must be further explored and new types of flexible time arrangements and working models should be im- plemented to improve the status of part-time employees and create more diversity of flexible arrangements within companies. The following chapter aims at presenting some solutions to improve the status of part- time employees. We refer first to new types of work arrangements such as job-sharing and top-sharing which could be a response to the de- mand for full-time workers seldom available among women between 25 and 49 years old. We then propose ways to develop the utilization of functional flexibility within companies to support part-time employment in an equal manner for male and female employees. We also suggest some fiscal incentives to support part-time workers living under speci- fic difficult economic conditions (employees in precarious situations). From a sociological perspective, we endeavour to show that these new forms of flexible time arrangements can at the same time favour the increase in equality between male and female employees, optimize the capabilities and potentials of each professional partner involved, decrease social costs such as those related to burn-out syndromes, and finally reinforce welfare and well-being in general as seen through mul- tiple role conciliation. From an economical angle, the deeper enforcement of partnership...

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