Support for labour market flexibility has been growing internationally and in Australia for several decades (Sala et al. 2012; SEO 2013), leading to a more fluid set of working times. Employment and working times are recognised as a determinant of worker health, and while the effects of employment can be positive or negative for health, the distinguishing factor is the quality of the job characteristics, such as hours, income, flexibility, and degree of control (D’Souza et al. 2003). We review evidence regarding the influence of flexible work time on health behaviour and outcomes as relevant to Australia and New Zealand. The quality of evidence is generally of a high standard. While a clear cut answer regarding the positive or negative influence of working time flexibility is not apparent, current research indicates that flexibility policies may have detrimental effects on health through their impact on specific health behaviours.
Australia and New Zealand School of Government and authors 2017