Labour Market and Unpaid Childcare Trajectories by Gender During the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Africa: Lessons for Policy

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Mosomi, Jacqueline
Thornton, Amy
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African Economic Research Consortium
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in South Africa in March 2020, the government has continued to put in place regulations to curb the spread of the virus. Some of the measures introduced included confining the population as much as possible to their homes, popularly referred to as the ‘hard’ lockdown which was implemented on 27 March 2020. During the hard lockdown, only essential economic services could be provided and only workers who could work from home continued working. The measures taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, such as the closure of Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres and schools presented working parents with a time allocation challenge. This is because individuals have had to balance office work, childcare, and housework. This policy brief presents the main findings from a study that analysed the labour market and unpaid childcare trajectories by gender. The study also highlights some lessons for policy.