Parental nonstandard shifts in the United Kingdom

21 November 2017

Evening, night, and weekend work (hereafter referred to as nonstandard work) are common in the 24/7 economy, but does this create new opportunities or new pressures for combining work with family life? In the UK, nearly 25% of employed mothers and 35% of employed fathers have nonstandard schedules.

A growing body of research has pointed to the adverse impact of these schedules on child and parental health. However, the majority of this research has focused on the US context. Given that work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 11.7 million working days lost in the UK in 2015-16, we need to gather more evidence on the implications of parents’ nonstandard work schedules on parents’ health, family life, and children’s health.

In this presentation, I will present descriptive results on the prevalence of nonstandard shifts among mothers and fathers in the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Second, I will investigate the relationship between parental shift work and children’s BMI, and maternal shift work and breastfeeding behaviours. Third, I will discuss future research questions related to nonstandard shifts in the MCS.