Arbetstidsregleringens utveckling: En studie av arbetstidsreglering i fyra länder

Translated title of the contribution: Development of Working Time Regulation: A Comparative Analysis of Four Countries

Lotti Ryberg Welander

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


This work is a study in sociology of law about working time regulation in France, Sweden, Denmark and the United Kingdom during the industrialised era. The purpose is to study changes, developments and the role of law in the working time regulation process. Way back there is an element of repressive law, following the law tradition from the feudal society. The repressive law punishes the extreme and abusive employer; which means an legal effort to protect children and in most countries female workers. Autonomous and positive labour law was developed mainly after World War I when regulated standard working hours were carried out, by collective bargaining in the UK and Denmark and by legislation in Sweden and France. Despite the different choices of regulation, in no country the state remained passive but acted to settle the industrial relations at the labour market. Forming the contractual structure meant political demonstrations and strength to impose substantive conditions into the single contract. During the next decades the standard working hours were shortened in the legal and industrial relations context formed after WWI. Still there seems to have been an element of industrial conflict when shorter working hours were carried out. On the edge to a post-industrial and informationalistic society during the last years there are three tendencies in the law process: First of all there is a general and mainly legal possibility for the employee to have a leave from the contractual duty of work, among other due to parenthood. The right to leave is mainly legally regulated and most likely introduced since the idea of the male industrial worker with quite limited external duties, an idea suitable for the originally non-personal contract, became even more fictional. Secondly, there is a tendency towards having the industrial actors directly involved in the single contract between an employer and anemployee. This aim for decentralisation is confirmed by the EU Working Time Directive. The flexibilisation means a convergence in a move from substantive to procedural rules, but opens up for a divergence in the employees? real working time. Thirdly there is a development of atypical employment, a kind of purposive and sometimes highly specialised labour market contract. While the parties in the different kinds of employment contracts are forced into the contractual structure by EU-legislation, the growing number of self-employed are still outside all kind of protective working time regulation. This latter fact rises an hypothesis that a main importance of the working time structure of status in the labour market contract is a matter of justifying and making the contractual subordination of the employee bearable for the originally free and capable party of the ideal legal contract.
Translated title of the contributionDevelopment of Working Time Regulation: A Comparative Analysis of Four Countries
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Sociology of Law
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2000 Sept 29
ISBN (Print)91-7267-011-8
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2000-09-29
Time: 10:15
Place: University of Lund, Carolinasalen
External reviewer(s)
Name: Dahlberg-Larsen, Jorgen
Title: [unknown]
Affiliation: University of Aarhus, Denmark

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Law and Society

Free keywords

  • normal working hours
  • Working time
  • contract
  • status
  • subordination
  • prerogatives
  • reflexive law
  • conflict of value
  • conflict of interest
  • Sociology
  • industrial relations
  • Labour law


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