PAM study: Children of sales assistants are suffering
A study by Service Union United PAM reveals that the liberalisation of shop opening hours, that was introduced 1 January 2016, has led to sales assistants spending less time with their children. The experiences of families show that municipal child care services do not always keep up with developments in working life.
A full 60% of women who responded to a study conducted by PAM’s social policy expert Egëzona Kllokoqi have considered resigning or have actually resigned for family reasons following the liberalisation of opening hours.
– Sales assistants in particular feel that the reform has affected their working hours. With more evening, night and weekend work, they feel that work is taking too much time away from their family life and their children, Kllokoqi says.
The study reveals that a quarter (26%) of families have had to re-organise child care. Even if municipal care facilities are readily available for shift workers, standards fall short of requirements. Out-of-hours care works when atypical employment follows a regular pattern and is planned well in advance.
– Over 40 per cent of respondents indicated dissatisfaction with municipal out-of-hours care, which tends to be inflexible when working hours change at short notice and with evening shifts. Many respondents highlighted that care centres are closed on midweek bank holidays and also at weekends, Kllokoqi says.
She would like to see rapid changes to the system of out-of-hours care. Kllokoqi is particularly concerned about small children of school age who have no out-of-hours care even though their parents are working more in the evenings, nights and at weekends.
Liberalisation of opening hours was part of the deregulation package in the government programme of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä. The reason for the move was that there would be a big boost to employment in the sector.
PAM’s Research Manager Antti Veirto says that there is still not enough evidence proving the impact of opening hours on higher employment.
– A little-noticed study by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy indicates that liberalisation of the rules on opening hours has not increased employment in the retail sector. However, there is evidence of increased part-time and fixed-term employment and these phenomena are increasingly a fixture in the everyday lives of service sector workers, Veirto states.
PAM has repeatedly expressed concern about how the liberalisation of shop opening hours has undermined the everyday lives of people working in service sectors and elsewhere.
The liberalisation of opening hours came into force 1 January 2016 in retail sale and among barber and hairdressing shops. Self-employed professionals were given the right to decide on their own opening hours without restrictions. Before then, opening hours within sale had varied according to shop size and
goods and services offered.
The report on the survey of the impacts of the liberalisation of shop opening hours on reconciling working and family life can be found on the website under Material and Statistics.The study was carried out in January-February 2017 amongst Finnish-speaking PAM members aged 25-45 who are sales assistants and warehouse workers. Approximately 2300 persons responded to the study and the response rate was around 10%.
The background note by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Commerce Committee of the Parliament of Finland on the report on the impacts of deregulation of shop opening hours and the position of small traders in shopping centres was published on 22 June 2017.