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Many women get no maternity leave pay at all, while very few get full pay

06 August 2019 - 15:34 By TimesLIVE
In SA, mothers are entitled by law to up to four months’ maternity leave, but employers are not obliged to pay them a salary during that time.
In SA, mothers are entitled by law to up to four months’ maternity leave, but employers are not obliged to pay them a salary during that time.

Fewer than two out of 10 women receive full pay from their employers when they go on maternity leave.

This is one of the findings of CareerJunction’s latest gender survey, with a sample size of 1,600 men and women.

"More than a third of South African women feel that that their gender and parental responsibilities are holding them back from advancing in their careers," the job search and recruitment portal said on Tuesday.

A majority of women get between 1-3 (38%) and 3-6 (36%) months of maternity leave.

Only 18% receive full pay during this period, however, and 28% receive less than 50% of their pay.

"A shocking 39% receive no compensation at all," CareerJunction said.

Caring for children also falls primarily on women, and does affect employers, the survey found.

More than 40% of female survey participants with children said they relied on their three days’ annual family responsibility leave to attend to sick children. Eighteen percent take annual leave - or simply call in sick.

"Only 7% said their partner steps in to help, while only 8% are able to work from home."

Unlike the Giraffe recruitment survey, which also came out on Tuesday and found that women in SA earn on average 25% less than men, the CareerJunction survey found no significant income gaps - for people working in their field of study.

A surprise finding in its survey, said CareerJunction, was that 45% of men and 41% of women are currently not working in their field of study due to the fact they are unable to find work in those areas. 

Biggest career motivators for men and women are work-life balance and career advancement.

"However, while men favour job fulfillment over money, the opposite is seen for women," said CareerJunction.

"Women’s prioritising of money over job fulfillment is most likely linked to the fact that 31% of women respondents are single parents compared to 19% of men, and 84% of women respondents with children listed themselves as the main caretakers of their children."

Overall, the survey found there are more men in management and senior management positions (39%) than women (31%).

Certain sectors also remain male-dominant. "Like the engineering and construction sectors, for example, where the ratio of men to women is 16% versus 6% as well as the manufacturing and logistics sector with 10% (male) versus 4% (female)."

The admin, office & support sector as well as the financial sector remain female-dominant, where the ratio of women to men is 25% versus 11% as well as 17% and 11%.