Institutional Response to Challenges Faced by Workers in Balancing Work and Family Responsibilities in a Zimbabwean University

  •  Ruth Mubanga    
  •  Tatenda Nyanhete    


The aim of the paper was to establish the University’s responsiveness to challenges workers faced in trying to balance work and family responsibilities. A sample of fifty (50) non-teaching members of staff was selected from a population of 487. Interviews, questionnaires and review of secondary sources were used to gather data. The research established that the institution was attending to some of the major welfare issues such as health through medical aid and the drug facility, car loans and housing loans and selling of farm produce on credit at subsidised rates. However, there was need to consider empowerment in terms of knowledge to both junior staff and their supervisors to reduce issues of unnecessary overtime that adversely affected family time. Employees had a number of coping strategies they employed to balance work and family life and this included feigning illness so that they could use sick leave days to attend to family issues and this increased absenteeism. The institution was in the process of establishing a child care centre which had been in the pipeline for over a year. It was recommended that the organization was to speed up the establishment of a child care centre as it was pertinent to employees and also formalise flexible work arrangements for the benefit of all employees. Workers’ representatives were also to play a role in helping workers integrate work and family life by educating them on the implications of their actions which in most cases led to unnecessary overtime and thus affecting their family life.

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