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Back to work after two weeks - is this the way forward for maternity leave?

(7 Posts)
ElenMumsnetBloggers (MNHQ) Thu 15-Nov-12 15:11:02

Nick Clegg announced planned changes to maternity leave this week. Under the new proposals, mothers can still take 52 weeks of maternity leave, but after the first two weeks they can divvy up the leave with their partners, either by taking it in turns or by taking time off together.

Sounds sensible? Yes, but there are some concerns. "My fear is that this proposal will create expectations [about going back to work two weeks after giving birth]; if it becomes seen as a feasible proposition, then women will increasingly feel unable to stand against it." says HeadinBooks.

And Glosswitch put her fears rather more forcefully in the New Statesman: "That's what all this feels like to me. Back to work, mummies. None of this stay-at-home slacking, not when there's no money around. Sod real equality of opportunity. Sod extending paternity leave [...] Equality, if it means anything, means the important people herding everyone else back into low-paid jobs while telling them they're realising their dreams."

What do you think are the proposed maternity leave changes A Good Thing? Or - in a wobbly economic climate - will an early return to work soon become the norm, with anxious mothers fearful of looking like slackers if they take their full entitlement? Do let us know if you post and we'll tweet.

Awakeagain Thu 15-Nov-12 20:45:00

I'd have loved dh to be able to have more than 2 weeks off with me, even if it wasn't all in one go!

LittleCatZ Thu 15-Nov-12 23:01:14

I have mixed reliefs on this as I was a long term breast feeder and found it tough to keep it up (pumping) when I decided to go back to work. This is not supportive of breast feeding (or at least not on it's own, more would need to be done to push employers to offer facilities to mums who want to pump - I got them but they weren't ideal plus I had the excruciating experience of asking and stressing about all the time it took).

However, in this economy it could be very helpful to be able to pass leave to Dad if he is lower paid. I would also have loved to have DH home for longer in the early days and as I was back at work well before 52 weeks, we'd have had entitlement to spare for this.

LittleCatZ Thu 15-Nov-12 23:02:06

mixed feelings even, not sure how I typed reliefs!

mistysrsly Fri 16-Nov-12 11:08:39

I'm not sure I fully understand.. Does it mean that say 30 weeks into maternity leave, the Dad can just decide to have a week at home? If so, I'm all for it. I had a few days when I really struggled due to lack of sleep or illness and would have loved it if my OH could have been there to help.
I think it does add extra pressure on Mums to return to work sooner though so not in full agreement. 52 weeks is adequate. I think people forget Mums don't have to take the full year, they can go back when they want

2under2blog Tue 20-Nov-12 11:39:02

I imagine it'll be extremely difficult to manage by employers but think it's a great idea for those it suits.

Through toddler groups, I've met a lot of dads who prefer staying at home with their kids so it's nice that they get a little consideration, just as women who prefer work will enjoy the freedom and flexibility this brings.

I wonder what (if any) impact it'll have on the govt maternity allowance? It's been my saving grace, being in short term employment/self employed during both of my pregnancies.

proddy Wed 21-Nov-12 15:13:17

HI I had two weeks off with my third child, and a few days each week working from home. The reason was mainly because I work for myself and I could not afford to do otherwise. Overall if you set your mind to this, and know that this is a positive outcome for your family e.g. being able to pay the bills, keep the children in thier home, then you will be OK.

My third child is closer to me that the other two, as while he was very small he had is daddy working from home two days and five days with mummy each week. He felt loved and secure and had a positive response to other adults who supported us.

I think two weeks is ok, other may want more, but I was lucky to bond immedately with my son and to have a health baby and delivery. Be positive, you have a life time of joy as your child grows up, and the early weeks can be very hard, so share the joy of early parenthood with the dad, and other family members

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