Split-shift work in Spain linked to less time with family and children

Spain family

Photo: jacinta lluch valero. Creative Commons.

A study of the impact of the split shift in Spain – working in the morning and the evening with a long break in the middle, something that has roots in the siesta tradition – found that mothers and fathers who work in this way spend considerably less time together as a family and less time with their children.

Researchers Pablo Gracia (European University Institute in Florence) and Matthijs Kalmijn (University of Amsterdam) looked at data from 1416 families in 2003.

In families working the split shift, mothers spent on average 26 minutes less each day with their families than mothers working normal hours (no evening work). For fathers, the figure was 33 minutes. Mothers spent on average 35 minutes less each day with their children and fathers 17 minutes less.

Meanwhile couple time and private leisure time are not particularly different for mothers and fathers working split shifts, as compared to those working a standard shift.

There are big gender differences across all types of work in Spain, split-shift workers included. Mothers who work split shifts spend three times more time on average each day with their children than split-shift working fathers. When a partner works in the evening, a parent spends more time with children – but the difference is three times bigger for mothers than fathers.

Gracia P & Kalmijn M (2015), Parents’ Family Time and Work Schedules: The Split-Shift Schedule in Spain, Journal of Marriage and Family, Dec 2015