Bartoll, X.; Ramos, R.
  • Year: 2020
    Working hour mismatch, job quality, and mental well-being across the EU28: a multilevel approach. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 93, 733–745
    DOI: 10.1007/s00420-020-01529-2
    Objective: We aim to estimate the association between working hour mismatches and mental well-being. We also investigate the confounding and moderating role of job quality in this association.

    Methods: We use cross-sectional data from the European Working Conditions Survey of 2015 in the analysis. The sample includes 9345 male and 10998 female employees in 28 countries. We run a multilevel linear regression accounting for the clustering of countries with mental well-being assessed by the World Health Organization Index. We compute mismatches in working hours as the difference between desired and actual hours of work, categorized as underemployed, unconstrained, and overemployed. The main dependent variable is the combination of these mismatches for each of the following working schedules: ≤20; 21–34; 35–40; 41–47; and ≥ 48 h/week (h/w).

    Results: The adverse association of short and long hours with well-being is mostly attributable to mismatches in working hours (except for men in the 41–47 h/w group). Once we adjust for job quality, overemployed men ≥ 48 h/w experience a reduction in mental well-being of − 5.2 (95 CI % − 7.04 to − 3.76) with respect to the unconstrained base category 35–40 h/w. Overemployed women experience a reduction in mental well-being ranging from − 4.94 (95 CI % − 6.54 to − 3.34) in the ≥ 48 h/w schedule to − 11.11 (95 CI % − 17.35 to − 4.87) in the ≤ 20 h/w schedule. We observe a confounding role of job quality across most working hour schedules, but the interaction effects are modest.

    Conclusion: Employee control over working hours is associated with mental well-being with differences by gender. Labour policies aimed at promoting flexibility on the employee side could be favoured to improve workers’ mental well-being.