Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

Flexible working and the division of housework and childcare: examining divisions across arrangement and occupational lines

Chung, Heejung, Booker, Cara (2023) Flexible working and the division of housework and childcare: examining divisions across arrangement and occupational lines. Work, Employment and Society, 37 (1). pp. 236-256. ISSN 0950-0170. E-ISSN 1469-8722. (doi:10.1177/09500170221096586) (KAR id:96006)


Using the UK Household Longitudinal Study we examine how flexible working is associated with the division of housework and childcare among dual-earner heterosexual couples with young children. Although flexible working may enable better work-family integration, it can also reinforce traditional divisions of domestic labour where women perform more housework and childcare. The degree to which this occurs may vary across arrangements due to differences in the flexibility and permeability of boundaries. We also expect occupational variations but in a paradoxical manner; the constraints and resources workers have may cause the associations to conflict with assumptions based on gender role attitudes. Results show that arrangements that allow more boundary blurring, such as homeworking, are associated with more traditional divisions of childcare but not necessarily of housework. Flexitime, especially for the lower-skilled/paid occupations, enables a more egalitarian division of labour, possibly because it is used to maximise households’ working hours and income.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/09500170221096586
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: childcare, occupational class, division of housework, flexible working, gender roles
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Heejung Chung
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2022 11:14 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.