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The University of Southampton
Parents and Carers NetworkInspiring stories

Frances's story


I job share with my ex-maternity cover, working 3 days and my job share works 2 days a week.

Before I went on maternity leave (for my second child), I was working 4 days a week. Whilst I was very grateful to have a part-time position, I never felt 4 days was truly part-time but didn’t see a way around it. Towards the end of my maternity leave, I discussed my desire to go to 3 days with my husband and we thought about lots of different options but I knew I wanted to stay in my job and I couldn’t negotiate 3 days. He suggested approaching my maternity cover to see if she wanted to job share. I immediately dismissed this idea as my maternity cover didn’t have children so I assumed she wouldn’t be interested. Plus I didn’t know if my manager would consider it. But, after some persuasion, I took my husband’s advice, contacted her and was delighted when she was interested.

Over the next couple of months, we discussed how it would work in great detail and we decided to present a case to our manager. We produced a ‘task allocation’ document which showed all the tasks, the amount of time they required each week and who would lead on each one. We also prepared a ‘proposal’ which outlined our key skills and interests and the benefits to the department and university. We agreed the number of days we wanted to work and which days of the week would suit us. But ultimately we were prepared to be flexible. We were delighted that our manager agreed and the job became full-time (with a 3/2 split).

The job share is going extremely well and we are both very happy and work well together. We are also so grateful to our manager for his support and flexibility. Fortunately it was quite a straight forward process for me but I did learn some things along the way which I thought may be helpful to share.

• Don't make assumptions about what others want in a job, based on their age or stage in life. They may surprise you!

• If you don’t ask, you don’t get

• It pays to talk

• Think objectively about your proposal and whether it is beneficial for the department

• Communicate honestly and openly with your job share to ensure you are both on the same ‘song sheet’

• Do your homework and think of all the possible issues/problems/concerns from a work and personal perspective

• Prepare a good case before approaching your manager so they have all the facts to make a decision

• Find solutions to possible problems, this will ease the pressure off your manager

• Be prepared to be flexible

• A job share may create more administration/HR for your manager but happy and motivated employees are definitely worth it. I’m so much happier in my job and think my manager is amazing!


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