The publication of the SCP’s serious study of part-time work in the Netherlands concluded that it was impossible to say why so many young women without children don’t work full time and why so many young mothers never go back to a 40-hour week.
More research is pending to try to get to the bottom of it, the organisation says.
Part-time work is currently seen as a ‘bad thing’ – its not good for the economy, it means well-educated women are wasting their potential (and all that education) and it sets a bad example to the next generation.
The government wants us all to work more hours and stay on the job for more years – to help pay for the aging population. But it has got its work cut out to persuade us to do it differently.
There are very few signs that its efforts so far are working. A new scheme to help workers pay for sabbaticals seems set to be a flop – everyone is saving to retire early instead. And a recent survey of newcomers on the jobs market showed most wanted a 32-hour week.
But why on earth should the 40-hour working week be set in stone – after all, a 50-hour week used to be the norm? Perhaps we just don’t want to work any longer. After all, who in their right mind wants to be cooped up in a stuffy air-conditioned office on a wonderful very early spring day?
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