With the rise of unions and salaried employees, piece work went out of fashion in American business.
Yet regulations and taxes and services have a cost, so more families than ever need to have both parents work time, which can lead to a 'time squeeze' when it comes to caring for children. A paper in the Journal of Marriage and Family examines if flexible working schemes help or add to this pressure.
Under ROWE schemes - Results Only Work Environment - workers are paid for results rather than time. It's basically piece work for the modern age. It
has impacted parents' perceptions of their time.
The data showed that both parents saw changes in working hours such as ROWE as a major factor to their time, yet only mothers reported increased schedule control and improved time adequacy. However, this change was shown to be in perception only, as little change was reported in the actual time spent with children beyond evening meals.
"ROWE helped mothers feel that they were spending enough time with their children, even though it didn't change the actual amount of time for most parents," said Rachelle Hill from the
University of Minnesota. "Mothers who participated in ROWE and ate fewer than three meals with their children per week were able to eat one additional family meal with their children compared to mothers in traditional departments."