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Work hour mismatches and sickness absence and the moderating role of human resource practices: Evidence from Germany

Referierte Aufsätze Web of Science

Ricarda Reich

In: German Journal of Human Resource Management (online first) (2023), 23970022231193085


Working time mismatches – and especially overemployment – continue to be a highly relevant topic in German legislation, business practice and in research. However, it has been rather neglected in empirical absenteeism research. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the relationship between contractual overemployment, that is, the difference between contractual and preferred working hours, and sickness absence in Germany. Furthermore, this study explores the moderating role of HR practices (flexible work arrangements and part-time employment) on this relationship. Therefore, I conduct two-level negative binomial regression analyses, using data from the German Socio-economic panel (GSOEP). In line with the JD-R model, results indicate that overemployment (especially overemployment of 6–10 hours compared to a work hour match) is positively related to sickness absence. However, the moderating role of flexible work arrangements, that is, the buffer effect of working time autonomy on this link cannot be confirmed. Moreover, the results suggest that part-time employment amplifies the relationship between overemployment (1–5 hours) and sickness absence for females only. This study highlights the need to move away from standardised work hour arrangements. Indeed, it is one of the first studies that emphasises the role of preference-based contractual working hours in reducing absenteeism, also and especially because standard HR practices do not mitigate overemployment-related absenteeism, but can in fact exacerbate it. Furthermore, this study contributes to theory and literature, by extending the JD-R model to overemployment.

Keywords: Absenteeism; employment status; HR practices; JD-R model; overemployment; sickness absence; socio-economic panel; work hour mismatch; working time autonomy; working time mismatch
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