Do parents coordinate their working schedules?

R Carriero, J. Ghysels*, C.P.B.J. van Klaveren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


As a consequence of the rising number of dual-earner households, many contemporary couples in europe face two potentially conflicting job schedules when figuring out how to allocate their time over a week. In this article, we study how dual-earner couples with children organize their working time in belgium, italy, and the netherlands. We place working time coordination explicitly in a comparative framework to allow cross-country differences in time-scheduling mechanisms to be revealed. We define working time coordination as an act that leads to hours of paid work performed by both parents at the same moment and of which the joint nature cannot be explained by factors other than the partners’ potential to communicate on the timing of their work. Our main findings are as follows: (1) parents actively coordinate their working times in all three societies; (2) on average, italian and flemish dual-earner parents tend to synchronize (increase their work-time overlap), which indicates that parents aim at spending non-market time jointly; and (3) dutch dual-earner parents tend to de-synchronize (decrease work-time overlap), which indicates that the latter tend to maximize the amount of time that at least one parent is out of the job.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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