Care work, zero-hours contracts and employee wellbeing

Ravalier, J.M (2018) Care work, zero-hours contracts and employee wellbeing. In: Institute of Work Psychology International Conference 2018, 19 - 21 June 2018, University of Sheffield, UK.


Organisational factors such as psychosocial working conditions and work patterns impact employee wellbeing. While it is known that healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses have highly stressful jobs, care workers who provide assisted living to those with psychological and physiological disabilities and provide services such as medication administration are not widely investigated despite there being over 1.6 million of these workers in the UK. Furthermore zero-hours contracts are widely denigrated in the UK media, without any academic research on the topic. This two-phase study is among the first to investigate psychosocial working conditions for care workers via a survey (n=225), and the first to investigate the impact of zero-hours contracts on care worker wellbeing via a number of semi-structured interviews of those with zero-hours contracts (n=24) and those with set hours contracts (n=15). Results suggest that psychosocial working conditions are worse in care/support workers than the UK benchmark average. However, general mental wellbeing was for the most part adequate, with employees having ‘medium’ levels of engagement. Qualitative results suggest that issues of power between employees and management, and work-life balance associated with zero-hours contracts were particular stressors, although the flexibility offered with these contracts is a buffer to stressors when in combination with mutual power relations with management. Lack of management support and low pay were associated with care work in general.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Sciences
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 09:35
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:50
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