Employers can use them, but workers are unlikely to want to work more hours than they do now. They want time for themselves and for the children. Cabinet plans, such as full-time bonus and (almost) free childcare, have a limited effect on this.
This is evident from research carried out by EenVandaag among approximately 12,000 working people from the Opinion Panel.
’40-hour work week obsolete’
By far the largest group, both full-time and part-time employees, do not want to work more hours. When it comes to part-time employees only want to work 16 percent more. The largest group wants to continue working the same amount (59 percent) or work fewer hours (24 percent). There is also a large group (31 percent) among full-time employees who are considering fewer hours.
What prevents part-timers from going full-time? Keeping the same amount of free time is the most important reason: 45 percent cite this as the biggest motivation. “I think the idea of the 40-hour week is outdated. I work better (and more) with 24 hours than with 36, so that’s what I do,” explains one part-timer.
The work pressure is too high
4 out of 10 (40 percent) also state that they can manage with the current number of hours. In addition, a group of part-time employees already finds the workload too high (29 percent). A panel member who works in education also says: “It is very intensive. If I had to do less things outside of my teaching duties, I would want to teach more.”
For parents with young children, between 0 and 12 years of age, spending time with the children is by far the most important reason for not going to work.
Want to, but can’t
There are also part-time employees who would like to but do not yet. According to them, it is not possible to work more because their current job does not allow it. 30 percent of part-time employees who want to work more hours give this as a reason in the survey.
The second most cited reason is that the employer simply does not ask for it. “I have arranged my life with this number of hours, but I would like to work a little more. I don’t want to say it myself, but if the boss asks, I would like to think about it,” says one.
Full-time bonus has little effect
A third reason is the fear of the tax burden if they start working more hours. 17 percent say they are not convinced that working more hours also means they have more money left over the bottom line.
The cabinet is looking for ways to persuade part-timers to work more hours, such as a full-time bonus. Only 18 percent are sensitive to it. According to others, such a bonus does not guarantee that they will actually improve. “Employers are not stupid either. Of course, they settle that bonus with a lower hourly wage,” says one participant.
Want to work more in ‘free’ childcare?
Another instrument is to make childcare (almost) free. The government wants childcare reimbursement to be increased in steps to 96 percent by 2025. 3 out of 10 parents with young children aged between 0 and 12 are prepared to consider a longer working week if that were to happen.
However, as with the full-time bonus, there are doubts as to whether this scheme will really benefit them on a net basis. Justified concerns, experts say, because not everyone will benefit from the current cabinet plan, the Social Cultural Planning Office (SCP) previously told EenVandaag.
Clarity that people have a net benefit if they start working more; the largest group (40 percent) indicate that it would motivate them to work more. But non-monetary matters are also important, such as being able to organize one’s own working hours (32 percent) or being able to work from home more often (28 percent).
“I can work much more if I can decide my own working time and place. Then I can be with my child and work, for example, during the hours she sleeps during the day and in the evening,” said a young mother in the Studio.
The key lies with the employers
For young parents, these factors have a greater influence on their willingness to work more hours than free childcare. A partner carrying out more domestic duties and the employer’s understanding of the child’s situation are also important to them.
In short, part-timers are anything but eager to work more hours. They do not like to give up time for themselves or for their children. The government seems to be in a position to make some progress with the planned measures. The key seems to lie in the hands of the employer: entering into a conversation with the employee at all can already make a difference. Especially if a higher net hourly wage and more control over working hours and place are negotiable.
About this research
The survey was conducted from 4 to 14 January 2023. A total of 11,683 employees from the EenVandaag Opinion Panel participated in the survey, of which 4,714 work part-time. After weighting, the research is representative of 6 variables, namely: age, gender, education, marital status, distribution across the country and political preference measured after the general election in 2021. The opinion panel consists of 80,000 members.