Job sharing: a new way to balance a career and kids?

A friend and I were chatting recently, about the tough choices (or lack thereof) that moms are given. To put your children through decent education, you most often need to be a double-income family – but what are the implications of not being at home for the crucial formative years in your child’s life? “What about job-sharing?” she asked.

I turned to my bff (the web) for research, and learned that in the US and Australia in particular, job sharing is common. Two people with similar skills share a full time job – and the salary that goes with it – so that they can still work at a level for which their skills are suited, adding valuable experience to their CV, and earning a decent income, while being available to invest important time in their children.

The sharing is done in a number of ways – either one works mornings and the other afternoons, or they take all the tasks for the position and split them, so that everyone else knows who is responsible for what. Another common way of working it is for each of the parties to work three days a week, so that there is one day where they are both around, to make continuity easy for everyone else that they are working with.

It seems though, that most of these situations arise where women working together create the job-share, once they have the buy-in of their existing employer – it’s not the kind of vacancy you would see advertised.

I would so be keen for this kind of progressive thinking in the South African workplace – but the question is: are any South African companies up for it? Are they willing to adapt the rules to keep and nurture their best employees – those who have another full time job as mom and homemaker?

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Kerry Haggard

Kerry Haggard

Kerry Haggard, mother to the two most beautiful boys that ever there were. She’s willing to do pretty much anything for the two little Haggards, but every now and then she does draw the line – and hopes that they will understand why one day. You can follow her on Twitter: @KerryHaggard

6 Responses

  1. Kerry, what a brilliant idea. I have never heard of this before and would really love to join or be a part off this sort off interaction. My eldest is going to big school next year so this is what i really need. Please send me more information on this or can you please direct me on how to get this up and rolling.

  2. I have never heard of job share before, but it would be wonderful to have this kind of work as it alleviates a lot of pressure off a mother who works full day, picks up the children from school and then heads off home to start preparing dinner and spend valuable time with the family before everyone heads off to bed. Unfortunately for some, like myself I would not make ends meet if I had to divide my salary in half for the sake of spending more time with my child and then we lose out on living a comfortable life, but i guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles or we can’t have our cake and eat it too (ok enough with the cliches…)

  3. Never heard of job share before but I am sure there are thousands of moms that would like something like this. I would give anything to be home with my children and not only see them from 5pm until they sleep at 8pm. Great idea

  4. when I worked in the UK job sharing was very very common amongst working mom’s, the jobs are even advertised as a job share if such a position is available. It is really something we should have more of here in South Africa

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