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?