Mother is happier when father works more. Things don’t look as rosy the other way around: fathers don’t like it when mothers work more than they do. This is the conclusion of a recent study by Swiss Life. But why is that? Is part-time employment for men still a taboo? We wanted to find out.

Switzerland is a part-time nation. The secret has been out for some time. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, in 62% of families in Switzerland at least one parent works at a reduced level of employment. But how does that break down depending on gender?

A recent study by Swiss Life finds that part-time employment is still largely a woman’s affair. Around 80% of fathers work full time. They are simply happier when they can work 100% and work more than their wives. Is that an indication of their continuing to cleave to old role models?

We went out to ask men in a wide range of employment models about the issue of part-time work. How do they find part-time employment? Is a reduced level of employment for men a taboo?

Video by Christoph Jentzsch, Content Creation & Online Marketing @ Swiss Life

Is part-time employment still a taboo among men?

The most intriguing answers to our street survey:

I remember that my father explicitly refused part-time work. It would look as if the man weren’t earning enough if his wife also went to work. That has totally changed and is no longer a taboo for many people.
There’s no question of part-time employment for me yet. I’m still young and have no other major commitments at the moment. I am at a point in my life right now where I am able to work – at 100%. But I think in my generation and in those after me part-time employment is becoming ever less a taboo, compared to among older people. It was simply another era back then.
If I work, then 100%. In my line of work part-time employment would be impossible. I can imagine that someone who works full time to take care of their family might later think that they’ve missed so many things.
Men are expected to work full time. The men at my current employment and at all of the companies I’ve worked at so far tend to work 100%. Women have more freedom and room to breathe, they can work part time. It’s always been that way, historically, and it needs time for it to change.
I don’t think part-time employment is a taboo. Maybe it hasn’t sunk into society 100% but there is definitely a conversation ongoing – and I think it’s important that it takes place. I would certainly say that part-time employment makes you happier. It’s always been very important to me to work part time, to change things up and for my work-life balance. It does make a difference if you have one day a week for yourself.
It’s still a taboo in many sectors, also depending on the career level, for men to work part time. At the moment I work rather more than 100%, since I am self-employed. But I can imagine that many people are happier working part time. That way they simply have more time for their interests and to look after their family.
I think it depends a bit on the field whether part-time employment for men is a taboo or not. I’m an academic, so part-time work is clearly accepted. But I could imagine that it wouldn’t be that way if the field were more macho. What I have noticed is that when I have time for my family, I am more efficient in the time I spend working. I also believe that part-time employment makes people happier. But only if you can avoid having to work 120% in 80% of the time.

Part-time calculator

Would you like to work part time as well? Find out quickly and easily what impact the reduced hours would have on your budget and on childcare.

Families in the part-time model

Working part time is popular here in Switzerland: more than a third of Swiss employees have consciously chosen not to work full time – mostly because they want to spend time raising their children, taking care of family obligations or pursuing education and training.

What needs to be borne in mind?

It isn’t impossible to put by money even while working part time. Making private and occupational provisions allows you to save on tax: for a self-determined financial future.

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The Mbemba family and their dream of self-employment

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