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(32 Posts)
Almondbiscotti Thu 07-Jan-16 22:50:59

How many years pqe were you before going on mat leave? Don't want to go too soon as fear that I won't have a job to go back too...! Thanks X

zaza86 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:04:38

I'm having this dilemma too, but we've made the decision to TTC around May. This would mean, if we were lucky and conceived quickly, the earliest I'd be going on Mat leave would be at 2.5 yrs pqe. The best advice I received was to go early - clients don't rely on you personally/you're not in the first stages of being considered for partner etc etc. I have seen people wait until partnership, but that would put me at at least 36/37 at minimum - I don't want to jeopardise my personal life and desire for a family for something that may never happen. I've also seen people wait until around 5/6 yrs pqe, and for the ones interested in partnership, this hasn't been so beneficial from the perspective that people start looking at hours more closely etc. Personally, I wouldn't want to go any earlier than 2 yrs pqe, but there's never really a good time to go. I just think having one sooner rather than later and letting my family grow alongside my career (even if it takes longer to progress) will give me the best chance of succeeding (if I decide that's still what I want after children). Sorry for the rambling post! How old are you out of interest?

zaza86 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:06:03

Also I think this will depend on whether you're in the city or not - as a city lawyer it's something I've had to think about long and hard!

shelbTa Fri 08-Jan-16 17:36:40


Reading with interest! Aside from actual pqe years, how long do you think you have to be with a firm in general (bearing in mind typical cultures) before you can go off on mat leave with credibility?


harrietm87 Fri 08-Jan-16 17:38:26

Hello! I had a thread on this about 6 months ago - zaza I think you replied??

I'm a 1.5pqe solicitor in the city and starting to ttc this month. If I get pregnant straight away the baby will be born when I'm 2pqe. I've just turned 29.

Like zaza, I think it's actually better to have children when you're more junior as you won't be missed as much as later on. I also wanted to have two years pqe behind me because most firms consider that a good base of experience (and a lot of people choose to move firms at this level). I've also built a good reputation in my team and feel confident this will survive mat leave.

Age is important too though - if I'd been older I probably would have done it sooner.

zaza86 Fri 08-Jan-16 18:54:47

Hi Harriet - what have you decided to do? We're quite similar in pqe and age.

Bugmuncher Fri 08-Jan-16 22:53:48

I think most firms will have their maternity policy on their intranet but I think a lot require 2 years of continuing employment. Not sure if that includes being a trainee but presumably it does. Inhouse roles probably have different policies x

leoniethelioness Fri 08-Jan-16 23:17:56

My firm requires 3 years' continuous employment before enhanced maternity leave! shock

I'm TTC and I'll be at least 1 year PQE when a baby is born (most likely closer to two). I feel it's very soon in my career but I thought I'd regret not starting sooner if it took a while to TTC and I've been at my firm for 2.5 years - and with my team for a good chunk of that. My intention is not to take very long for mat leave as I don't want to lose momentum with work, which I really enjoy. DH is very supportive and I'm hoping to be able to take a little lull on the chin and hit my stride in my late 30s. I'm 27. It seems like most at my firm wait until mid to late 30s to TTC. I don't think that would work for me with my family and career aspirations.

Reading responses with interest!

leoniethelioness Fri 08-Jan-16 23:21:21

Just to say that I worried a lot about this when deciding with DH to TTC and still do. It's been less scary now that we've decided to go for it but the potential impact on my career does worry me nonetheless.

harrietm87 Fri 08-Jan-16 23:46:37

Hi leonie and shelb from ttc#1 thread!

zaza I'm starting to ttc this month. If I get pregnant now i will go on mat leave when I'm just 2 years qualified.

Tbh I'm most worried about how I will cope working the hours I'm currently doing once I go back to work after mat leave, but will cross that bridge later!

shelbTa Sat 09-Jan-16 09:39:08

Hi Harriet I thought it was you! hi leonie! Would you mind if I pm'd one of you on this? It's hard to talk in an open forum without exposing yourself.


Me624 Sat 09-Jan-16 10:43:30

I'm 7 months pregnant with DC1 and I'm 4.5 PQE. I feel it's a good time to go off with plenty of experience behind me and a solid reputation in my team. The only thing that I think would have made it easier is if I'd waited until I'd been promoted to senior associate, which actually would probably have been this year if I wasn't going off. Mat leave will set me back in that respect but it was the right time for me and DH - he is older than me and didn't want to be too ancient a first time father.

harrietm87 Sat 09-Jan-16 11:04:21

How old are you me624? (If you don't mind me asking?)

I did the gdl and had a gap year so qualified at 27 rather than 24/25 which is partly why I want to start now. At my firm most seem to wait till early thirties but I was worried I'd have problems conceiving.

shelb def pm me! I can't work out how todo it on the app otherwise I'd message you.

Me624 Sat 09-Jan-16 11:21:51

harriet I'm 29. If DH was the same age as me I'd have happily waited a few more years until early 30s but he is 38 and did not want to be over 40 already with our first. Which was fine with me, plenty of time to work on the career when I get back. (Although I am v concerned about how the hours will fit with a family. My firm seems to have a pretty poor returner rate after mat leave and I don't think they'll be that flexible. At the moment I am just thinking I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

leoniethelioness Sat 09-Jan-16 11:39:34

shelb Happy to chat so drop me a message! I'm conscious about piecemeal identification of who I am (not that anyone would really be interested...) so I get it!

leoniethelioness Sat 09-Jan-16 11:41:55

My firm seems pretty good with returning mums and a fair few of them work PT. Having kept an eye on what they do, I think working 4 days and having Wednesday off is the best PT pattern. Nothing really happens on a Wednesday!

leoniethelioness Sat 09-Jan-16 11:43:15

I did read that a good PT pattern is to have twice as many AL days and then agree with the firm to take these at mutually convenient times. Probably not great if you're paying for childcare though!

harrietm87 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:00:37

That's interesting leonie. No one in my team works PT and I haven't even considered asking for that. A few work from home on Fridays though which probably works well as its usually a quieter day.

Luckystar1 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:02:44

I was 5 pqe but I did everything straight away so I'm only 29. I've resigned now as I just cannot compute leaving DS for 14 plus hours a day.

zaza86 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:12:10

I am hoping to try for a four day work week (which will likely mean 5 days crammed into 4), which has been granted to two people at my firm (US firm so surprising!). If my DH can then work one day from home (similar job but slightly more flexible in terms of wfh), this would mean DC would be in childcare 3 days a week which feels a little better. All very hypothetical at the moment, but trying to think as much through as possible!

harrietm87 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:40:22

luckystar are you going to do something else or be a sahm?

I'm also worried about how I'll feel leaving my hypothetical future baby. Unfortunately I'm the main earner so will definitely have to go back to work.

Me624 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:41:31

I will see how I feel when it's time to go back but at the moment I'm thinking I will go back full time. I know a few mums in other teams who work 4 days but it just seems like a poor deal to me, you work 5 days in 4, take a 20% pay cut, and basically still have to be available to deal with calls and emails on your "day off" or switch it to another day if something urgent comes up. I'd rather get the DC settled in a routine with a good childminder or nursery every day.

What I do plan to negotiate is an earlier finish 2 days per week. DH will pick up from childcare 2 days, I will do 2 days and (hopefully - haven't discussed it with her yet!) my mum will do one day. I feel it will be better perceived by clients and colleagues to be in every day but leaving slightly early a couple of days a week, than to have a whole day off.

Luckystar1 Sat 09-Jan-16 15:03:27

No I'm going to be a sahm for a while but I'm currently pregnant with DC2 so it has worked out well.

eurochick Sat 09-Jan-16 15:42:19

12 pqe. Went on mat leave as an associate, came back as a partner!

Luckystar1 Sat 09-Jan-16 15:45:54

Wow Euro! That is amazing!! And very rare. Well done!

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