Om föräldrars tidspress : orsaker och förändringsmöjligheter
This is a report from a research project financed by The Swedish Research Council Formas with the aim of developing knowledge about strategies for mastering families’ time pressure. The analysis is based on data from time use surveys, carried out by Statistics Sweden in 2001. 47 percent of the respondents with children living at home often experience difficulties in managing everything that has to be done – the corresponding number for people without children is 31 percent. I have used linear regression analysis to identify which factors explain variations in parents´ subjective time pressure. The most important work related factor found in this study is the length of the working week, but longer commuting time also contributes to time pressure. Having a managerial or other highly qualified job also increases time pressure in private life. Surprisingly, this is also the case for jobs where the individual has influence over when to begin and end the working day. Among the family factors contributing to time pressure the number of children is the most important. Regularly taking care of someone outside one’s own household, as well as having a partner who regularly works overtime, increases one’s time pressure. Consumption and housing factors are also linked with higher time pressure: owning a house instead of renting an apartment as well as carrying out do-it-yourself-projects. On average Swedish couples with pre-school children carry out ten hours more of paid work per week compared with 30 years ago. This, along with substantially higher consumption levels, constitutes a base for increasing time pressure. Based on the results above, I discuss possible changes that could lower parents’ time pressure. The main possibility is related to shorter hours for paid work. One version of this is less overtime. Another way is the legal right that Swedish parents have to cut their hours down to 30 with a subsequent loss in pay. Many parents want to do this but apparently there are social structures hindering them. Progressive employers could actively offer them a shorter workweek and politicians could introduce a partial compensation for the income loss. This would enhance social acceptance of working less hours. If some kind of “equality-bonus” was involved a positive gender effect could also be possible.