The challenge of reconciling working time demands and life transitions : a policy proposal

Gahan, Peter and Stricker, Peter 2005, The challenge of reconciling working time demands and life transitions : a policy proposal, in Transitions & Risk : New Directions in Social Policy Refereed Conference Papers, University of Melbourne, Dept. of Political Science, Melbourne, Vic..

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Title The challenge of reconciling working time demands and life transitions : a policy proposal
Author(s) Gahan, Peter
Stricker, Peter
Conference name International Social Policy Conference (2005 : Melbourne, Vic.)
Conference location Melbourne, Vic.
Conference dates 23-25 Feb. 2005
Title of proceedings Transitions & Risk : New Directions in Social Policy Refereed Conference Papers
Editor(s) Rosewarne, Lauren
Publication date 2005
Conference series International Social Policy Conference
Publisher University of Melbourne, Dept. of Political Science
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Summary Labour markets, like all market institutions, exhibit structural and dynamic characteristics. Both the structural and dynamic characteristics of labour markets inevitably change and evolve over time in response to a host of exogenous and endogenous factors. In the case of the Australian labour market, structural changes are reflected in significant shifts in the industry and occupational composition of employment, the decline of full-time work and the concomitant rise in part-time and atypical forms of employment, demographic changes in the labour force, as well as changes in social and individual preferences. Dynamic shifts can be found in cyclical pattern of employment and wages growth, the growth in labour mobility, and transitions between various labour market states.
The starting point for this paper is that these structural and dynamic changes have given rise to an increase in the likelihood that individuals will experience a transition between various labour market states, and a greater diversity in the range of transitions they may experience over their working life. This acceleration in the rate of transition generates ‘transition costs’ for both employers and employees, as well the likelihood of mismatch between employer and employee working time preferences. As a consequence, existing labour market policy regimes, based on the traditional model of labour market participation over the life course may not provide adequate protection for most workers today.
Gunther Schmid (1998) and others have proposed institutional reforms which promote ‘transitional labour markets’. Transitional labour market institutions are those that allow individuals (and firms) to successfully adjust to critical events. While transitional labour market institutions may consist of traditional ‘active labour market policy’ mechanisms, Schmid and others have proposed a range of innovative policy responses which allow individuals (and firms) to adjust the intensity of their abour market participation over the life cycle. In this paper we use the general approach of advocated by the transitional labour market concept to do three things. First, we investigate the processes by which the nature of labour market transitions has changed over time. Second, we review the range of policy options available to government to smooth labour market dysfunctions associated with labour market transitions, with the objective of ensuring labour markets operate more efficiently and more equitably. Third, we focus on one possible way in which an existing labour market institution, Long Service Leave (LSL), could be reformed to make way for a more comprehensive transitional labour market institution in the form of a ‘working time bank’.
Language eng
Field of Research 150305 Human Resources Management
Socio Economic Objective 910402 Management
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Copyright notice ©2005, University of Melbourne, Dept. of Political Science
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