Introduction Neoliberal economic globalisation has changed the definition of standard employment and this could be affecting work-life balance. The objective of this study is to describe the satisfaction with working hours and satisfaction with work-life balance and their association in the European Union (EU-28).
Methods This is a cross-sectional study based on data from the Flash Eurobarometer 398 among workers of the EU-28 from 2014 (n=13,683). We calculated percentages and their 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). We also fit a multi-level generalised linear model (GLM) using the Poisson family, in order to calculate the adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) of satisfaction with work-life balance based on working hours. All analyses were stratified for individual, employment and welfare regime country classification.
Results Satisfaction with working hours and work-life balance was 80.62% and 74.48%, respectively, and was significantly higher among women. The highest percentages of satisfaction were found in Nordic welfare regime countries (90.2% and 85.3%, respectively). There was a statistically significant association between satisfaction with working hours and work-life balance (aPR=2.63, 95% CI: 2.28 to 3.04), and the magnitude of the association differed by individual and employment characteristics and welfare regime country classification. The main reasons declared for dissatisfaction were ‘excessive working hours’ (48.7%), ‘shift work’ (27.9%), and ‘inability to influence the work schedule’ (28.3%). Differences were observed according to sex and type of welfare regime.
Conclusion European Union workers are highly satisfied with their working hours and work-life balance, and there is a strong association between satisfaction with work-life balance and working hours. There are still differences between sexes and welfare regimes.The Nordic model of social policies should be considered to improve satisfaction with work-life balance in the rest of the EU-28.
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