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Returning from maternity - part time

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by gadgetgirl123, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    I currently work 0.8 and this year had one day a week off.

    In September, i will still be doing 0.8, but agreed to compromise and said I would do two afternoons off instead of one full day, as they were struggling due to a staff shortage in my subject. They took the p*ss by putting my blanking codes firstly in the middle of the day, then after some strong words at random mornings and afternoons. i am not overly impressed, but that is another matter and nothing I can do.

    I am now expecting a baby (due early January) after several miscarriages, and not sure what to do about maternity. I was initially going to take a full year (starting maternity on first day of Christmas holidays) then go back the following January, assuming they have to offer me my current 0.8.

    On reflection, I think I am going to find this exhausting (as expecting twins and already have a child!) so would much prefer to do three days a week (0.6). Is there any way I can go about requesting this for my January return, or will I have to just battle on at 0.8 then request 0.6 the following september?

    Any help is most appreciated.


    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    First of all, congratulations! I have 3 girls, including a set of twins so I appreciate your situation.

    I would say to keep an open mind about when you're going to finish work and go on maternity leave. Carrying twins is harder work than a singleton pregnancy - keep your options open and see how you are feeling nearer the time. Bear in mind that there's a higher chance of the babies arriving early - I stopped work with 11 weeks to go and they arrived 6 weeks early!

    Similarly you may want to rethink your work committments later on - I would take as long as you can off work. Going back with 3 little ones will be hard. I would guess the powers that be at school will not want to discuss arrangements for the next year right now, but you could drop some gentle hints about your intentions.

    Wishing you a happy pregnancy - look after yourself!
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You should probably assume that the twins are likely to turn up before 2015 is over; you can probably locate the stats on twin births, but I don't think that many go full term.

    You can request the reduction in hours for when you return, although it may be more likely to be granted if you ask before timetables are written for the September.

    You might want to look at childcare costs. A friend of mine who had twins did the calculation of per-hour childcare costs for three under 3s, and it came in at more than she had ever earned. If your older child is in school, it might not be quite so bad, though - I think it's the third set of nursery fees that can tip the balance.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    ... which is exactly why I didn't go back! That and the thought of trying to get 3 under 3s and myself ready in the morning in time for work! It wasn't easy financially but I don't regret doing it.

    Keep your options open as much as possible and good luck!
  5. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the replies. They have been really helpful :)

    I will be nearly 35 weeks pregnant when term finishes for Christmas, and I have now been told my several people that I am being over-optimistic in thinking I can work until then. I laughed when I read a pregnancy book that said I should consider giving up work at 30 weeks!! I am beginning to see why now...

    My son starts school this year, so child care costs when returning will be for two, plus breakfast and afterschool clubs for my son. This is only my 3rd year of teaching (I spent 10 years in another career), so my salary is not huge. After travel costs and child care, there won't be much left over, but I do enjoy my job and would love to return 3 days a week so I can have a career and be a mum.

    Having been screwed over on my timetable this year, I am not overly trusting of the school any more, atlhough I understand why they did it, as 70% of my classes are GCSE due to a shortage in my subject.

    My HOD is not overly enthralled about this pregnancy, as finding someone to take over from me is going to be tricky. I am hoping that agreeing to go back in September (or last day of term in July!) instead of taking a full year off will mean that they will allow me to do 3 days a week, but I can also imagine the HOD being petty over it, and insisting I come back 0.8, which I guess I will have to do to keep my maternity pay??

    So much to consider!

    Rosiegirl, which double pushchair did you get? I have discovered that most seem to have a second seat suitable for a toddler, or they are SO expensive even second hand! We are having to change both cars, as neither are suitable, so are on a tight budget!

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    Bear in mind this was a long time ago - we got a MacLaren dubble buggy. We already had a Silver Cross pram/pushchair from No1 - when they were tiny I put both of them in the pram together or even carried one in a sling. Poor No1 was only just gone two when they were born and barely got a ride in a pushchair after that!

    I've just looked at buggies online - they are expensive! The nearest to ours is this -


    It's narrower than some but that meant that it fitted through most doorways and it lasted them well into toddlerhood. It also folded up easily. The biggest problem with it was in the rain as it didn't fold with the raincover on - that might have been improved now.

    Feel free to ask anything else on here or in a message. There's also the pregnancy and baby and toddler forums too - there's probably people with more reent experience than me on there, but I'm happy to help!

  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Have you seen these, as an alternative to larger cars?


    Re having a career and being a mum - if there's a shortage in your subject, you shouldn't worry about taking a couple of years out, then returning once the twins are a bit older. Unless you're a very elderly mother, you'll still get another 20 years of teaching in!
  8. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    or even possibly doing some tutoring to keep your oar in (I worked part-time as a TEFL teacher when my son was 1-2, but did some private tutoring in Latin as well - I have now returned to full-time teaching in Latin (he is about to turn 4).

    You might also be able to go back to work a little earlier if you do decide to take a break when the twins are born to ages 2; from 2016, the government will pay 30 hours of childcare costs for 3 and 4 year olds (I am not sure whether one must work full-time, sorry); which at least could help during term time. My now 3 year old gets 15 hours free a week during term-time - our toddler is with a childminder who has one or two other children, but is flexible enough if I need to stay late, etc.

    best wishes and good luck with the pregnancy - you might want to try a website called babyandbump.com where there are loads of forums for pregnancy, etc., and for twins, etc. I am still friends with many of the ladies I met on there.

    best wishes
  9. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice!!

    Frustum - I have sent the link to the car seat thingy to my husband to see what he thinks. Unfortunately it is not compatible with my car, as I only have two seats in the back of my car, and it is too small for a double pram!

    I did some return to work calculations, and discovered that anything over 2.5 days a week makes me worse off financially! The money from the extra days over 2.5 after I have paid tax, NI, pension and student loan, would be less than the cost of child care including after school clubs. E.g. If i worked 4 days a week as I currently do, I would earn about £25 less than if I worked 3 days!!

    If I went back 3 days, after chilcare and basic commuting costs, I will take home around £250 a month!!

    I do love my job though (and I think the kids like my teaching, even though they often hate the subject!!) and really missed working when I was last on maternity. It is just getting the right work life balance so I can do both, plus i then get the school holidays to do fun stuff with the kids!!

    Are they changing the free hours for 3+ year olds to 30 hours??? I didn't know that! Yay!
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    A friend who is a single mum worked out, after the budget, that her marginal rate of taxation/loss of benefits was 73% - ie for each £1 she earns above her main (part-time) job, she only actually gets 27p gain, by the time they've reduced her tax credits. She doesn't even have childcare costs for her teenager. I think she's dropping her second job.
  11. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    yep, when I working part-time after childcare and transport, I prehaps had about 200-300 euros a month left over, but in my case, my husband was on a good salary, plus, I needed to work as although I love my son, having a break was essential. In fact, as a TEFL teacher, I only got 4 weeks off the entire year, so now, as a regular teacher again, I have school holidays and that is fabulous (I do work longer hours and weekends, but am hoping that my preparation this summer for next month (!) will mean less weekend stress)....

    best wishes (and do try the babyandbump.com site - a group of us 'first time over 35 mums' have created a FB private group and it has been invaluable for sanity!)


    click on 'community' to find the message boards
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    At £250 take-home a month, fair enough if you will enjoy it, but do bear in mind that you can probably make that much by doing 3 hours home-tuition a week!

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