Deciding to return to work
For many women, the question of whether or not to return to work after having a child is a difficult one. You may decide that you want to go back for financial reasons, or it may be because you want the adult stimulation and social contact work can offer. Here are some hints and tips to aid your transition...
In most circumstances, if you are employed when you become pregnant you will be entitled to at least 18 weeks ordinary paid maternity leave with the right to return to your job. The hours you work, or the amount of time you have worked should not affect your maternity rights. Additionally if you have been with your current employer for more than a year by the time your baby is due, you will also be entitled to additional paid maternity leave of up to 29 weeks after the birth of your baby.
When to return...
You do not necessarily have to give your employer notice before you return to work after ordinary maternity leave, and you should be able to simply return to the job you left. If you have taken additional maternity leave, you need to write to your employer 21 days prior to your planned return, giving notice of the date that you intend to go back.
Can I have my old job back?
When you go back, your employer must let you return to the same job that you were doing before. If this is not reasonably possible, your employers must offer you a reasonable alternative with the same status, terms and conditions, and the same type of work that you had before.
Do I have to go back full time?
If you need to change your working routine after becoming a parent, you must discuss your situation and needs with your employer. Your employer is duty bound to seriously consider your request. In fact UK law states your employers must demonstrate good reason for declining your request, and provide an explanation in writing.
What are my options regarding childcare when I return to work?
Choosing who will care for your child when you return to work is a major decision. Some employers offer a crèche so that you can take your baby to work with you but, unfortunately, these are still few and far between. The majority of working women have to arrange their own childcare.
More Information: Childcare - Making a Choice
More Information: Legal and Disciplinary Matters - Pregnancy
More Information: Parenting - Parenting Babies
More Information: Parenting - Dealing with the Stress of Parenthood
More Information: Coping with the Work-Home Balance
Web site: Parentline Plus
Web site: National Family & Parenting Institute
Update your skills. If it has been a while since you last worked, you may benefit from finding out which skills are currently in demand in your line of work. Network with people in the business and find out what is needed these days. Then either teach yourself, or go on a course. Do this before you start job hunting, so you can include these skills on your CV.
Get in touch with your former boss and colleagues. The easiest way to get back to work is to return to the last place you left. If you were well respected and left on good terms, you may be offered a position. If there are no positions, ask them for suggested points of contact or agencies they use.
Tell Everyone!!! Let your former colleagues, friends and family know! These are the people who are interested in you and will want to help you. Write letters telling them that you are thinking of going back to work, and say you would appreciate any suggestions, leads or contacts. Give them copies of your CV to pass on… You'll be surprised at how successful this can be.
Consider temping or freelancing. There are many different agencies that place candidates of all levels in many different fields. To get started look for agencies listed on the Recruitment and Employment Confederation website.
Aim High. Going back can be tough and you may not be guaranteed your previous salary, in fact don't be too surprised if you have to take a pay cut initially. Employers prefer people with recent experience, therefore it is often more important to get a job rather than secure a high salary. Take the job - and the opportunity to impress! Within time you will be vying for promotion.