Time over the Life Course: Preferences, Options and Life Course Policy
This article has a twofold objective and addresses two central questions. Is there a gap between the preferences for and availability of various ways to make working patterns more flexible over the life course? What is the role of life course policy (LCP) in narrowing this gap? Using the Eurobarometer 2004 survey on time use over the life course, in the first part we map the preferences, options and attitudes of workers to several ways of modifying their, often standard, working biographies through sabbaticals, smoothing into early retirement, educational leave, palliative leave, part-time jobs or temporary unpaid leaves. As is clear from the empirical part, there is ample potential among the European workforce to arrange paid and unpaid work and leisure in different ways over the life course. In the second part, we discuss the potential of distinct LCP to effectuate more life cycle oriented choices made by workers themselves on how to spend their time and arrange it over the life course according to their own wishes.
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