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MAT leave woes

(11 Posts)
Peyia Thu 19-May-16 15:37:52

I manage a small team and currently preparing to go on MAT leave, hoping for some advice/support!

A member of my team has been interviewed and selected as my cover (9 months).

I initially recommended her (months ago) to my line manger (I was thinking of continuity of service etc.) I then realised how this might not be the best option. During my last one to one and before the interview took place I raised my concerns with my manager and explained that it would be difficult to manage her once I return. As she would affectively have to 'step down'. She is eager to progress (which I understand!) so a lot of work that is for me but accidently referred to her, hardly ever makes its way to me. I have asked her to refer to me on several occasions, so you get the idea of the challenges I have just establishing my position whilst there! She also likes to 'take over' on tasks and gives another team member work that she shouldn't - I've worked really hard to stop this as I want my team to feel like a team, not a hierarchy of roles. My experience is that you have better working relationships and overall we all get on. It was pretty rigid when j first started so I'm sure I've helped in this regard.

I'm nervous my job will be their stepping stone or that dynamics will never be the same, thus making it difficult for me to pick up my job. Also, how will this impact on other staff in the organisation refrain from going to her when I return. You know what it's like in large organisation, people tend to float work to who they 'know'.

My line manager pretty much dismissed my concerns, although said the director had already pointed out what I had just said and didn't support my team member going for the job. Based on my argument, and that it would be best to appoint someone external. The job was only advertised internally and of course my team member got it.

I feel really apprehensive. I understand the law (I think!), so they are perfectly in their rights to find whatever cover they deem suitable but I now feel really apprehensive. The relationship between me and my team member will change. It's already a challenge and they do not always give me the respect/support I need but I've found a way to manage this so that there is no tension in the office.

Has anyone had any experience of this, how did it work out for you?

Should I just start looking at other roles whilst on MAT leave and stuff my face with cake as cake makes everything better?? cake

Artistic Thu 19-May-16 15:57:01

Your worries are valid, but there are so many different ways in which this might get resolved. You might return part time in a different role, that person may quit or be given a different (but equal) role, or your office might expand their work to require more people doing what you do. You can't worry about these potential situations that may/may not arise after a year. Just deal with it when you get to it. In knowledge based roles, these things do happen even when someone goes on a 2-week holiday so really it's totally out of your control no matter who was appointed. Just think of your return as a new beginning for yourself - something that will workaround you baby, rather than worry about your career at this point.

Peyia Thu 19-May-16 16:12:25

Thanks Artistic, I know you're right. I just feel vulnerable.

I do not have a choice to return PT unfortunately. This is my 2nd child and I experienced the unfairness of MAT leave after returning after first. Don't get me wrong, I had a job on the same money - great! But it was not the job I left, the contract hadn't changed of course.

You're right though, I'll have to cross the bridge once I'm there. I guess I'm looking for others to share their experience, whether it is negative or positive and how they handled it.

Artistic Fri 20-May-16 12:01:11

I was in your shoes and both times returned to a new 'job' under the same employment. But I went part time and didn't really care about who fit which role so long as I got paid and could work flexibly. You can guess - I've not seen a promotion since DD1 sad

NapQueen Fri 20-May-16 12:12:01

I think you maybe need to look at the positive - you have a capable, professional and dedicated stand in. You can be assured your job will be well tended to in your absence.

At the end of the day you and the job and the position may change in the course of your mat leave. Try not to fret on it.

NapQueen Fri 20-May-16 12:12:57

And your team will be very happy to see you return!

Beansprout30 Fri 20-May-16 20:14:52

I'm feeling exactly the same peyia, I already feel like my colleague who only started 6 months ago is trying to take over and her friend has also joined the team recently to help cover while I'm off, I feel like they are going to take on all the work and I'm wondering how I will fit back in when I come back.

I've also had a few comments about me coming back part time even though I've said I plan to return full time, I'm feeling really anxious about it.

I did have a casual chat with my boss this afternoon and he mentioned me moving to another team when I return doing a slightly different role - which id actually quite like to do! I think we just need to stop thinking it over and as a pp said, deal with it when the time comes.

Trulyamnearanear Fri 20-May-16 20:32:03

I've recently been in the position that your cover person will be in. I did 13 months of cover for a team manager and then went back to team member when she returned.
I admit I liked the power and miss being in the know now I'm no longer a manager, but I always knew it was her role at the end of the day.
I'm not trying to grab it, but a few things she's done well to not let me include.... organise 1-2-1s with the team members to set objectives straight away. Implemented new meeting styles. Started developing a new work process.

If I did want to undermine her/steal her job it would be harder because of these grin

Peyia Sat 21-May-16 20:24:47

Thanks for your replies!

Whilst I'm still nervous about the unknown my team member will do a great job, and thas the main thing.

When I return I hope to be treated fairly, that's all smile

Beansprout how did the meeting go?

flumpybear Sun 22-May-16 06:19:00

It's just something you'll have to manage tbh - when you go back set the rules straight, you're in charge but perhaps in a 'nice' way after she's passed the last X months of work back to you !

How long are you off for!? They may even nice you to a different team anyway if it's over six months!?

HeadDreamer Sun 22-May-16 06:44:47

From my understanding, you are entitled to have your old job back only if you take 6mo leave. Any longer they can offer you an alternative equivalent job.

I did return to a different team, not a lead, but same pay. 9 months down my cover resigned and I'm back to my old position. I'm full time btw.

I'm the same as artistic. It might resolve in a different way than you envision. We have a very long working life and if we look back, I'm sure all these are just temporary blips.

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