Contemporary contestations over working time: Time for health to weigh in

Jane Dixon, Gemma Carey, Lyndall Strazdins, Cathy Banwell, Dan Woodman, John Burgess, Michael Bittman, Danielle Venn, Ginny Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Non-communicable disease (NCD) incidence and prevalence is of central concern to most nations along with international agencies such as the UN, OECD, IMF and World Bank. As a result, the search has begun fo 'causes of the cause' behind health risks and behaviours responsible for the major NCDs. As part of this effort researchers are turning their attention to charting the temporal nature of societal changes that might be associate with the rapid rise in NCDs. From this, the experience of time and its allocation are increasingly understood to b key individual and societal resources for health (7-9) The interdisciplinary study outlined in this paper will produce a systematic analysis of the behavioural healt dimensions, or 'health time economies' (quantity and quality of time necessary for the practice of healt behaviours), that have accompanied labour market transitions of the last 30 years-The period in which so man NCDs have risen sharply Methods/Design: The study takes a mixed-methods approach to capture and explain the relationships betwee work time and health behaviours. It combines: longitudinal analysis of temporal organisation of work in Australia, wit the goal of establishing associations between labour timescapes and health behavioursand health time economies; a in-depth qualitative investigation of employee experiences of the perceived impact of their labour timescapes o 'health time economies'; and, a stakeholder analysis, will uncover whether, how and why (or why not) stakeholder consider health an important dimension-of work and industrial relations policy, and what efforts are being made t mitigate health impacts of work Discussion: The study posits that time is a key mechanism through which particular forms of labour market policie impact health. The labour market flexibility agenda appears to be operating as a time re-distributive device: it ha supported the removal of regulations that governed 'the when' of working time and removed limits over th amount of working time, thus extending by many hours the notion of the 'standard' working week and forcin employees to adapt their shared or social times as well as their time for health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1068
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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