'Workers with unstable hours felt more stress and reported worse health than those with more stable work hours.'
Ottawa (2 April 2006) - The nine-to-five job is fading away in Canada as more and more workers toil at jobs with unstable hours, according to a new study by Statistics Canada. Work hours instability is a fact of life for many Canadians, the agency says.
The study assessed work patterns from 1997 to 2001 in the 24 to 54 age bracket. The basic finding was that fewer people fit into the traditional model of working the same number of hours year after year.
One of every three workers (32%) worked a "standard" full-time year, defined as a job ranging from 1,750 hours (33.6 a week) to 2,400 hours (46 a week). About 15% worked a shorter week; less than 1% worked a longer one.
The remaining 52% of those surveyed shifted among the various categories. Only 20% of men and 15% of women worked the exact same hours during the period.
"While it was common to work a long work year in a given year, it was rare to work chronically long hours," StatsCan reported. "One in five workers had at least one long work year between 1997 and 2001, but less than 1% had a long work year each year.
The agency said the changing workplace patterns are taking a toll on the well-being of employees. "Workers with unstable hours felt more stress and reported worse health than those with more stable work hours," it found.
About 20% of those working unstable hours reported their health as fair or poor, compared to 16% of those who worked standard hours. NUPGE
Statistics Canada study: Work Hours Instability