Background and objectives: With the introduction of a new occupational classification at the end of 2011, employment characteristics are reported by employees to social insurance agencies in Germany in more detail than in previous years. In addition to other changes, the new classification allows a distinction between full- and part-time work to be made. This provided a reason to consider the health-related aspects of part-time work on the basis of data from a statutory health insurance scheme.
Materials and methods: Our analysis is based on the data of 3.8 million employees insured with the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), a statutory health insurance scheme, in 2012. In addition to daily information on employment situations, details of periods and diagnoses of sick leave and the drugs prescribed were available.
Results: Although approximately 50 % of women of middle to higher working age worked part-time in 2012, the corresponding percentage of men employed in part-time work was less than 10 %. Overall, part-time employees were on sick leave for fewer days than full-time employees, but among men, sick leave due to mental disorders was longer for part-time employees than for full-time employees, whereas women working part time were affected to a lesser extent by corresponding periods of absence than those working full time.
Discussion: The results provide indications for the assertion that men in gender-specifically atypical employment situations are more frequently affected by mental disorders. Further evidence supports this assertion. With the long-term availability of these new employment characteristics, longitudinal analyses could help to clarify this cause-effect relationship.
Keywords: Employment; Mental disorders; Men’s health; Part-time work; Sick leave.