The subject of part‐time work is one which has become increasingly important in industrialised economies where it accounts for a substantial and growing proportion of total employment. It is estimated that in 1970, average annual hours worked per employee amounted to only 60% of those for 1870. Two major factors are attributed to explaining the underlying trend towards a reduction in working time: (a) the increase in the number of voluntary part‐time employees and (b) the decrease in average annual number of days worked per employee (Kok and de Neubourg, 1986). The authors noted that the growth rate of part‐time employment in many countries was greater than the corresponding rate of growth in full‐time employment.
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