Flexible working and unpaid overtime in the UK: The role of gender, parental and occupational status

Heejung Chung*, Mariska van der Horst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Recent studies have shown that flexible boundaries between work and family may make employees work harder and longer. Yet most studies were not able to show whether there are differences across different types of flexible working arrangements, and whether this relationship may only hold for certain groups of workers. We examine how three different types of flexible working arrangements, that is schedule control, flexitime, and teleworking, are associated with an increase in unpaid overtime hours of workers in the UK using the Understanding Society data from 2010 to 2015 and fixed effects panel regression models. Results show that the flexible arrangements that were introduced primarily for work-life balance purposes, i.e., flexitime and teleworking, do not necessarily increase unpaid overtime hours significantly. On the other hand, workers’ control over their schedule, mainly introduced as a part of high-performance strategies, leads to increased unpaid overtime hours. This is especially true for professional men, and women without children, especially those working full-time, and surprisingly part-time working mothers. The results of this study point to the importance of distinguishing between different groups of workers as well as between different types of arrangements when examining outcomes of flexible working. Furthermore, the results of the study contribute to the argument that performance enhancing flexible working arrangements can potentially exacerbate gender inequalities in the labour market by enabling men to commit more time to their jobs, while for women, especially full-time working mothers, this may be less possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495–520
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number2
Early online date26 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Fixed effects panel regression
  • Flexible working
  • Flexitime
  • Gender
  • Overtime
  • Schedule control
  • Teleworking
  • UK
  • Working hours


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