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27 May 2019
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Mother baby stress © iStock
Flexible working 'does not mean more free time' © iStock

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8 March 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

Women and men with children use flexible working models in different ways, according to research by a German trade union research body.


The Hans Böckler Foundation research states that while the fathers spend a lot more time in the job, mothers do more overtime, but they spend significantly more time looking after the child. 

The researchers found that flexible work helps “to reconcile work and family life, at the same time it can consolidate or even strengthen the classical distribution of roles between women and men”. 

On the other hand, clearer regulations – such as stipulated time in a home office – could make for “stronger incentives for fathers to take more care of their children”. 

Neither mothers nor fathers have more free time because of flexible working hours, according to the study by Dr Yvonne Lott.


Clearer rules for home office and self-employed working hours should be created to prevent self-exploitation, advises Lott. Whenever working autonomously or at home, time tracking can also help to limit overtime. Organisations should negotiate rules that apply to all.