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Rights to Alternative Work Arrangements—Global Policy Summary

by Ariane Hegewisch & Janet C. Gornick

August 2008—The first of the Global Policy Summary Series presents statutory employment rights, specifically regarding workers’ rights to adjust work hours, in 21 high-income countries, including the United States. Changing ones’ status from full-time to part-time as well as other alternative work arrangements, such as flextime, family leave, early retirement, and working time adjustments for training/education are included in this cross-national comparison.

“Most flexible work statutes try to find solutions that are workable for both employer and employee. While employers might have protested before the laws were introduced, once implemented most found them workable,” says Ariane Hegewisch, Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, and co-author of the Summary.

Many of these rights to flexible or reduced hours were introduced in the last decade in response to looming demographic changes which put a premium on encouraging people to stay in work.

“There is a big incentive for policymakers to support flexible work. When more people work, more people contribute to taxes and social insurance and thus provide for those who can no longer work,” says Janet Gornick, Professor of Political Science and Sociology, CUNY, and co-author of the report.

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