Overtime Work and Family Consequences

24 Pages Posted: 23 May 2007

See all articles by Lonnie Golden

Lonnie Golden

Pennsylvania State University - Abington College; Economic Policy Institute; Project for Middle Class Renewal

Barbara Wiens-Tuers

Pennsylvania State University

Date Written: April 2007


The consequences for the work and family interface when workers' work longer than their usual hours might depend on the extra hours of work but perhaps even more so on whether such extra hours are required rather than chosen purely voluntarily. This research analyzes data from a large national survey from which we are able to isolate the potential role of choice of overtime work. It highlights the tradeoffs involved for workers. It entails a sacrifice of potential time or energy for home and family life activities. But extra hours also have positive consequences such as greater income and satisfaction from work. Two-thirds of the employed reported working longer than their usually scheduled hours at least one day per month, and about a third of these worked extra hours because it was required by their employer. The main self reported adverse consequences for workers' is interference of work with family time and inability to take time off from work for family or personal need. Greater fatigue carried home, including energy to do household chores, is also higher. Multinomial regression analysis finds only minimal effects on fatigue when overtime work is not mandatory. However, when extra work is mandatory, all such adverse effects are present and significant. Thus, future research in the work-life field should more deeply consider and measure the crucial factor of choice in overtime work, not just the duration of work hours. In addition, it should incorporate into theoretical constructs the potential economic gains workers that workers also may experience from doing overtime work, which may at least partly offset the negative effects on work-family integration.

Keywords: Overtime work, Mandatory Overtime, Hours of Work, Work and Family, Work Fatigue

JEL Classification: J22, J23, J12

Suggested Citation

Golden, Lonnie and Wiens-Tuers, Barbara, Overtime Work and Family Consequences (April 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=988203 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.988203

Lonnie Golden (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Abington College ( email )

1600 Woodland Rd.
Abington, PA 19001
United States
215-881-7596 (Phone)
215-881-7333 (Fax)

Economic Policy Institute ( email )

1660 L Street NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Project for Middle Class Renewal ( email )

1408 W. Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Barbara Wiens-Tuers

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

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