Employment models in couple households

In addition to the domestic and family workload, in couple households employment is also unequally divided; this is particularly true for family households. Usually, the woman reduces her working hours or gives up (temporarily) her job completely when children live in the household. An employment model in which the father is employed full-time and the mother part-time is the most frequently chosen model in family households, followed by the model with the father in full-time employment and the mother economically inactive.

As the children grow older, a decline is seen in the number of households with mothers who are economically inactive and an increase in households with mothers with a higher worktime percentage (part-time at 50-89% or full-time). Only few couple households choose a model in which both partners work part-time, this model is most common in families where the youngest child is aged under 4. In a small share of couple households the man does not work or works part-time (1-89%) and the woman works full-time. This is more common when no children live in the household.

Since 1992, the share of family households with the male partner in full-time employment and the female partner economically inactive declined sharply in favour of the model with the male partner working full-time and the female partner working part-time. Couples in which both partners work part-time still remain a minority, although their share has increased significantly since 1992.


Federal Statistical Office Section Demography and Migration
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuch√Ętel



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