ABSTRACT

This chapter provides the development of flexitime, the extent to which it genuinely increases flexibility and the implications for broader increases in worktime discretion. Two other changes in worktime patterns are also considered: compressed workweeks and staggered hours. Formal systems of flexible working hours were first introduced in the Messerschmidt-Bolkow-Blolm aerospace company in West Germany, as a means of reducing congestion at starting and finishing times. The system that the flexitime is replacing is also likely to be important in influencing attitudes. As McEwan Young has pointed out, employee attitudes are likely to be far more positive where flexitime replaces a time-clock controlled, rigid hours system, than where it is introduced to formalize and control a 'permissive' rigid hours system. One effect of many flexitime systems is to allow employees to compress some of their workweeks into fewer full working days. The main impetus for staggered hours stems from a desire to reduce congestion either within the factory or outside.