Research project

Parental Nonstandard Work Schedules in the UK: Implications for Children's and Parents' Health

Project overview

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. 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. This ground-breaking research is the first in the UK to make these significant contributions:

-An examination of the social and demographic profiles of mothers and fathers working nonstandard schedules

-Provide new evidence on the immediate and longitudinal consequences of parental nonstandard work schedules on children's health and development, family life, and parental mental and overall health

-An investigation of family characteristics that may explain the links between nonstandard work and children's and parents' health, thereby identifying potential policy levers

The vast majority of scholarship on nonstandard shifts has been done in the US context, arguably a country with the most limited family and childcare policies of any industrialized country. This proposed research program will fill the gaps by focusing on the UK context to investigate the implications of parental nonstandard employment on children's and parents' health. The project will profile the characteristics of mothers and fathers who work nonstandard work schedules, and examine different markers of health and development for children, and a range of markers of health and family life for parents. Factors in the family environment will be considered to investigate the channels through which nonstandard work schedules influence children and parents. Furthermore, the statistical techniques and data source will ascertain whether nonstandard work schedules actually cause differences in health between parents who work such schedules and parents who work 9-5 schedules. This type of research will be made possible by using rich, longitudinal data in the UK: the Millennium Cohort Study. This is an ideal dataset because it contains detailed information on family circumstances, parenting, and economic resources.


Lead researcher

Dr Afshin Zilanawala

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Parental Work Schedules
  • Child Development
  • Economic Hardship
Connect with Afshin

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups

Research outputs