Toward a 24-Hour Economy: U.S. Work Schedules and Public Policy in Cross-National Perspective

Project Date:
Mar 2003
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work


The United States is moving towards a 24-hour economy. As of 1997, two-fifths of all employed Americans worked most of their hours in the evenings, on a rotating schedule, or on weekends. In additions, one-fifth worked hours other than regular daytime shifts, and one-third worked during weekends. While European countries have promoted or implemented policy options to minimize the adverse consequences of "24/7" employment on family life and physical well-being, the United States has engaged in little public dialogue or policy action.


With support from the Foundation, Janet Gornick and Harriet Presser conducted a comparative study of trends in shift work and employment in Europe and the United States. They analyzed non-standard employment in 15 European countries by assessing trends in the 1990s as they relate to men and women, parents and non-parents, and various occupational groups. They then compared this to data on American workers, and see how European work and family policies might be applied to American workplaces.


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