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23-10-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2016

Couples’ Work Schedules and Child-Care Use in the Netherlands

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2016
Melissa Verhoef, Anne Roeters, Tanja van der Lippe


Various aspects of parental work schedules affect the opportunities and constraints that parents encounter when arranging care for their children. This study examined the extent to which the combination of couples’ work schedules was associated with their use of different types of child care, focusing on parental, formal, and informal child care. We considered multiple dimensions of couples’ work schedules, namely, the timing of work, schedule flexibility, and home-based telework. Data from a recent Dutch survey were used, including information about 1599 dual-earner couples with children aged 0–6 years. The results indicated that paid work during nonstandard hours increased the amount of parental child care that was provided by one parent while the other parent was working, whereas work during evenings, nights, and weekends decreased the likelihood of using both formal and informal child care. Results further revealed gender differences for nonstandard hours and schedule flexibility. We found stronger effects of mothers’ work schedules, indicating that a gender-neutral approach to parental work is not justified. These results indicate that the timing of parental work is important to consider when examining not only parental child care but also formal and informal child-care use. We provide recommendations for future research, specifically regarding the possible consequences for parental well-being.

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