It had gradually imposed itself as the norm in the last century, the “office day” no longer has the wind in its sails. In metropolitan France, in 2019, 36% of employees usually work atypical hours. A “number in the European standard”explains the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) in a study published on Wednesday 27 April.
Atypical hours are defined by the institute as “unconventional working days and hours”. In other words, they cover early morning, late evening, overnight or weekend times. To take on the atypical character, the schedule must be ” regular ” and so “likely to have significant repercussions in the family sphere”.
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Overall, atypical working hours have not increased significantly since 2013. However, the study shows that the least qualified women have been increasingly exposed to it in recent years.
Executives less affected
Significant differences exist in fact according to socio-professional categories. One in six executives usually works atypical hours “against nearly half of manual workers and more than half of unskilled employees, the most exposed category”, point out the authors of the study.
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The gaps between social groups have especially tended to widen over the past ten years. The trend is downward among executives but stable for the least qualified workers. “The nature of the jobs (telework) and the activity status (CDI) may have been favorable factors for executives in the implementation of company agreements aimed at promoting the reconciliation of working hours”analyzes INED.
Women executives are the professional category that has seen the most decline in atypical working hours. According to INED, it would have decreased in them by 23% in ten years. A very different finding among the least qualified employees. Thus female workers are those who suffer the greatest deterioration, the use of atypical working hours having thus increased by 11% between 2013 and 2017.
Increase in weekend work
Within the least qualified socio-professional categories, women are those who have suffered the greatest increase in atypical working hours. The use of evening or night shifts, which concern a more male audience, tended to decline between 2013 and 2019, in favor of weekend and early morning work. However, these schedules relate to jobs filled more by women, underlines INED. These “ work more often on Saturdays and Sundays, and the share of women exposed to this type of schedule has increased over the last decade unlike that of men “, underlines the study.
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The increased use of weekend work, and in particular on Sundays, accelerated with the Macron law, which came into force in 2015. It allows employers to extend work on Sundays for establishments whose operation is “made necessary by the activity or the needs of the public” and relates a lot to retail businesses. A sector where women are overrepresented.