Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 44

The use of working time-related crisis response measures during the Great Recession

In principle, two different types of working-time instruments were used to introduce working-time changes during the crisis. First, work-sharing schemes (with their country-specific institutional background and public subsidies); second, working-time adjustments based on unilateral or bilateral decisions taken at the level of the firm, with or without a framework of collective agreements, but in either case without public financial support. While the former have been studied extensively
(Messenger and Ghosheh, 2013), the present report takes stock of working time-related crisis-response measures at the firm level beyond those supported by work-sharing schemes. It covers conventional instruments such as reductions of working time with or without financial compensation and variations in the use of overtime hours, but also more innovative approaches such as the use of working time accounts, “working-time corridors”1 and various other forms of changes in working-time organization,
such as teleworking or compressed working weeks.