Return after maternity leave - were you treated differently?(5 Posts)
Hello fellow academics,
I only took 6 months maternity leave with DC1 & returned more or less (slightly reduced hours) to the same role & think it's fair to say I've been treated the same in terms of work allocations, expectations etc. Later this year I will take maternity leave & considering a) taking longer and b) requesting to return on a 0.5 basis. I do however have concerns that this might have an impact on what my work and responsibilities might look like upon return I.e. Not being treated as a 'complete' or less valuable member of the team? (& yes I am well aware that a 0.5 contract will prob end up more like 0.7 or similar, that's another consideration).
Any experiences yourself or of colleagues who perhaps have been sidelined or just lumbered with whatever's left over once the important jobs have been allocated in workload deliberations? Or how to manage/avoid this?
Context is senior lecturer at post 92, humanities/ social sciences, prob on a teaching or lower managerial career path rather than research trajectory, just in case that's of relevance.
Grateful for any views or thoughts!
My experience of returning from mat leave after DC 1 was 'great, you're back, how's the baby? Now here's a massive pile of teaching, admin and a new role (head of programme) to keep you busy'. So in some sense good that they didn't think 'less of me', but bad in that there was no consideration to my new family commitments.
Oh, should also say, because of them overloading me so much I too thought about going down to 0.6 or 0.8 but my HoD told/ asked me not to do it. Something to do with the fact that even though I'd get paid less the department wouldn't get equivalent in funding to pay, e.g, associates to cover teaching. Basically it would have screwed his budget and his teaching allocations (thanks mate).
I think if you can carry on FT then it's probably best though, as if you drop down there's no guarantee they'll up you again after however long. Also, I found that for the first 6 months or so I was back (before they overloaded me) I was able to organise my time so I could still spend a day at home with DC1. I got very little done, other than my basic teaching and admin though in those 6 months.
I'm interested in your word "overloaded" - do you have a work load model? Are you given more work than other colleagues on similar contracts? If so, then you might be overloaded, but then so is everyone else ...
Does your work load model really balance work between academics?
In my experience work load models often miss out a lot e.g. graduate students don't appear in the model, and so the model doesn't distinguish between somebody with 6 PhD students and tons of Masters thesis students and somebody with none.
There are also some teaching duties and jobs which are "hard" compared to their workload rating but it is not obvious how to fix this. For example, everybody agrees that developing new teaching material from scratch is much harder than teaching pre-existing material but most people seem unwilling to put the actual number of hours it takes to write new material into the workload - there's just a token amount of extra hours put in.
In my department it is highly political what appears in the workload model and how it is rated. With our current model I would say that I am indeed over-loaded compared to other academics who on paper have similar loads. With a change in politics in my department it might well swing back into my favour.
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