Problems of reconciling work and family life are highlighted as one of the new social risk factors that accompany the transition towards a post-industrial society (Bonoli 2007; see also Chapter 3 of this volume). Perrons has observed that work intensification, as well as job insecurity, creates tensions that may undermine family life (Perrons et al. 2005). According to Leisering and Leibfried (1999), dual-breadwinner families in particular are facing such problems. Even in Sweden, a Nordic welfare state characterized by a high proportion of dual-breadwinner families, a policy framework that would protect dual-breadwinner families from the time constraints imposed by a demanding working life has so far only been enacted to a limited extent (Furåker et al. 2007). This chapter shows that problems of work-family life balance are indeed present in the Nordic countries — and asks why the protection of employees, and in effect, families, through the regulation of working time, has ceased to be on the political agenda. The question is addressed by conducting a case study of working time regulations across different periods in Swedish modern history.
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