Flexible Work Arrangements for Mothers

Astrid Kunze (Norwegian School of Economics)
Xingfei Liu (University of Alberta)

Abstract: Flexible work arrangements are of increasing importance, but we still have little systematic evidence on the question whether these are primarily set by the employers or by the employees. We shed new light on this question by examining the effect of an expansionary universal childcare reform on mothers’ take up of work that includes non-ordinary work hours; that is the contract includes regularly shift work, evening and night work, Saturday and Sunday work. We find that mothers increase the take up of non-ordinary work arrangements, and this is a shortterm effect of the reform. The increase is entirely driven by mothers who work relatively long hours, more than 30 hours per week. The average response is more pronounced for women after maternity leave. We interpret these results as showing novel evidence supporting the hypothesis that the marginal take-up of non-ordinary hours is driven by labour supply factors.