Forty-six per cent of working mums who have gone part time after having children say they are doing more or less the same job in reduced hours, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll.
Nearly half of mums who have reduced their hours after having children say they are doing more or less the same job in part-time hours, according to a workingmums.co.uk poll.
The poll shows 46% feel they are shoehorning their job into reduced hours after going part time. Just 19% who have cut their hours since having kids say their employer also reduced their tasks. Thirteen per cent said they had to make their job fit their reduced hours. Eleven per cent had to leave their original job to get reduced hours and 10% of respondents had not reduced their hours.
One woman who reduced her hours, but more or less did the same job said: “This was the case for two years then my employer reorganised and only offered full-time roles in the new structure, making me redundant.”
Another said: “I managed to get a three-day a week job share after my first child and then was made redundant immediately after returning from having my second child.”
However, another woman said she reduced her hours, but her employer brought someone else in full time to help.
In her book Women’s Work Zoe Young says that women are often left to take the responsibility for making work and family function and that the effort involved in doing so is not recognised or valued by employers or society. Young says that flexible working is seen as essentially a private issue requiring individual solutions. Young argues, however, that “the hidden work” behind flexible working should be made visible. She writes: “Women’s quiet, diligent endeavours to implement their [flexible work] arrangements with minimal inconvenience to others at work makes their considerable effort disappear. This further preserves the fixed and unaccommodating ‘nature of the job’ rather than transforming it and the ways it is possible to perform it.”
Further, she says that, although flexible working allows women to have some control over their hours, but they are often left to manage it on their own. Young points out the skills needed to make flexible working work – to craft a job. They include job insight and considerable management competence. This women learn through trial and error on the job and sacrificing things such as personal development, training, social activities, networking and food and rest breaks. Working this intensively, says Young, can over time ‘drain jobs of their meaning’ and women of enthusiasm and energy for their jobs.
Many she spoke to who worked part time were working over their hours and presenting the facade of full-time availability, meaning their overall pay per hour was significantly reduced.
She says: “Finding themselves managing full-time or near-to-full-time workloads in part-time hours and restricted schedules left those who also carry the domestic, emotional and caring load at home feeling that they are ‘leaning-in’ so far that they are falling over.”