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Young baby and no furlough after maternity leave - any advise please?

(88 Posts)
CowgirlBride Thu 11-Jun-20 09:22:54

I am currently on maternity leave and will have to return to work when my SMP ends at 39 weeks. I am employed by a council and have asked HR if there is the possibility of me being furloughed. They have told me that no employees within the council have been furloughed so this is not an option.
New guidance has just come out to say that employees that are on leave such as mat leave can still be furloughed after the deadline of 10th June but with the clause only if their employer currently has employees that have already been furloughed. And obviously this doesn’t apply.
I am completely devastated as I had looked at the furlough criteria and just assumed they would go “young baby, no childcare, off you pop on furlough”. I realise now that this was incredibly naive of me, but I can’t do anything about that now.
Childcare placements are still few and far between and even if that were an option I have serious concerns about doing that at this point (DS never been looked after by anyone other than me and DH let alone left in a setting, nor had any socialisation with other children in lockdown, so may not cope. Also DH cares for disabled adults who will absolutely die if he carries CV to them)
I feel I’ve been left with no other option than to say I’ll return to work and try and work from home. It’s either that or unpaid leave - which isn’t really an option at all.
DS will only be 8 months old and is currently all about mummy (not helped by lockdown) and I can’t even go to the loo or make a cuppa without him grizzling that I’m not with him. (Sometimes he even does it when I’m in the room with him if I’m not giving him 100% attention, as I’m sure other mum’s can sympathise)
My job will basically be making phone calls and doing admin, and apparently there are online team meetings. DH works full time but there may be times when he is here to support depending on how his shifts fall but I’m imagining it will mostly be me on my own trying to get by. I’m just picturing me trying to make phone calls or do online meetings whilst DS cries his eyes out in the background. He’s not really big enough to be left to entertain himself - he is starting to play independently but it doesn’t last very long before he wants me again. And obviously I can’t say to him “sorry mummy is on the phone right now” (like you might perhaps be able to do with an older child.)
I also worry that if I’m working that means that I won’t even be able to do things like take DS for a walk during working hours and he’s just gonna be stuck in which seems so unfair on him. (Sorry if that sounds ridiculous but I feel like that’s the only bit of normality/socialisation I can give him. It’s not great but it’s the best I can do at the moment)
Has anyone else been put in this position with their employer with a young baby who could offer some support/pearls of wisdom? I already mourning the loss of my maternity leave as we have just been stuck at home and I feel like I have let DS down. I keep crying cos feel that I will now be “neglecting” him in order to try do my work!

OP’s posts: |
CowgirlBride Thu 11-Jun-20 09:24:23

Sorry this turned out so long!!

OP’s posts: |
BessMarvin Thu 11-Jun-20 09:31:06

My dd is 8mo at the moment and there's no way I could work. I can't even keep on top of the washing. She is particularly needy though. Plus this is separation anxiety time.

What was your intention when you went back to work if cv wasn't going on?

Sorry I don't have any answers, just responding to your post.

BessMarvin Thu 11-Jun-20 09:32:12

Rereading I'm not sure how old he is at the moment?

FrogOfFrogHall Thu 11-Jun-20 09:34:53

Nurseries are re-opening now and it sounds like both you and your partner are key workers. Is the issue that nurseries can't do settling sessions because of not being allowed to have parents on the premises or are there non open near you?

dancingonmycervix Thu 11-Jun-20 09:35:03

What would you have done if there was no corona? Would you have used a nursery? They are reopening in my area. Can you take some annual leave? I suspect a lot will reopen in the coming weeks.

BuffaloCauliflower Thu 11-Jun-20 09:36:10

What was your original plan for childcare pre-this? Have you looked at childminders? Several of my childminder friends are back up and running, they’re small settings so less coming and going than nurseries and you can do settling in sessions. Working with the baby there isn’t going to work and your work could rightly have a big problem with you trying.

BuffaloCauliflower Thu 11-Jun-20 09:37:07

A good childminder will be doing things like taking him for a walk

CowgirlBride Thu 11-Jun-20 09:37:52

Our intention was to arrange with DH employer that he does his hours on 2 long days and on a Saturday (he was only part time before as he had another job in entertainment but obviously that's gone so he's had to go full time) I'd then work on the other three days and then we'd see where we'd need childcare from there.
Now I'm feeling like I'd have to also work full time as this situation had impacted on our finances negatively and just hope they didn't expect me to do my full hours. I know other colleagues that are juggling childcare are not necessarily doing all their hours cos of their kids.

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Mirrorxx Thu 11-Jun-20 09:39:25

I’m confused. So you were planning on working part time but now you want them to pay for you full time but do part time hours?

Concerned7777 Thu 11-Jun-20 09:39:46

What was your plan for child care going to be without covid? When are you due to return?
Most babies have probably not been left with anyone but Mum and Dad at this age it's more normal than you think and trust me when I say your baby will be absolutely fine with a child minder or nursery worker its us Mums that feel guilty again thats normal every Mum has felt this.

welshweasel Thu 11-Jun-20 09:39:50

You can’t work from home with an 8 month old and no childcare. It’s just not a viable option. So you either take unpaid leave or use a nursery/childminder like the rest of us that have had to work throughout this pandemic. Your baby will be fine in childcare, it may take a little while to get used to but ultimately it won’t cause any harm. He will have a much better time at nursery, being constantly played with, doing messy play, going outdoors etc than he will being stuck at home whilst you try and work.

FelicityPike Thu 11-Jun-20 09:40:54

Sadly you either use childcare or one of you quits their job.

CowgirlBride Thu 11-Jun-20 09:42:21

@BuffaloCauliflower how do they settling in sessions work? I thought parents weren't allowed inside?
I just feel that having been just with us (mostly me) for nearly 3 months and not even been to any groups with other children he's gonna need such a robust transition package and I just can't picture how that would work with all the social distancing measures in place.

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Scruffbob Thu 11-Jun-20 09:43:08

In your position I'd contact Pregnant then Screwed. They have a helpline and can advise you properly.

I'm due to return with a 13 month old and I'm nervous, it's simply unsafe for him not to be constantly supervised. I'll be WFH and I'm planning to send him to grandparents because despite the risk I feel it's a smaller risk compared to him coming to harm whilst I'm juggling a laptop and conference calls. Ive also minimised my hours to the bare bones.

What were your plans before c19? Can your DHs employer offer any suggestions if the concern is that it may be his service users that are at risk? There must be other employees whose children are in childcare settings. You probably know this but your employer will probably expect you to source childcare now some settings are opening.

Lumene Thu 11-Jun-20 09:51:37

It’s tough OP.

12 months old is very different from 8 months old. You may feel very different about childcare by then.

Make sure you take full mat leave if you want to including holidays accrued.

Furlough is only for while on mat leave anyway so this wouldn’t have helped anyway.

You can’t expect your employer to pay you full time for part-time hours because you are worried about finances - they will have financial issues too.

bobbieflekman Thu 11-Jun-20 09:52:23

Also, furlough is was never an option for public sector workers so not sure why you would assume you would be furloughed, sorry, it's very difficult for you

NerrSnerr Thu 11-Jun-20 09:52:34

You can't work from home with an 8 month old. You won't get much work done, they'll be into everything and need constant attention. I have a 3 year old and still couldn't work from home with him around.

Your choices are, change hours so you work opposite each other, one of you stops working or use a nursery of childminder.

BuffaloCauliflower Thu 11-Jun-20 09:53:40

Settling in could be shorter sessions, could be in the garden with you where visitors are allowed. Speak to some childminders and see what they suggest, none want an upset child being just left.

DennisTMenace Thu 11-Jun-20 09:54:58

It is what lots of us are doing. Will your work allow flexi hours? So you work before your DH goes to work, during naps and in the evening? Then muddle on through the rest of the time.

It is not ideal and my sanity has been stretched to breaking point. There have been meetings where I turn video off to breastfeed, suddenly have to change a nappy, get demands from the older one that we need to find pirate treasure noooowwwwww. I am not doing work or looking after kids as well as I would like and screen time has rocketed. But it is keeping me in a job, which is necessary for things like food and mortgage.

jomaIone Thu 11-Jun-20 09:56:54

Even if you had been to baby groups, your 8 month old won't have any social skills yet. He's just too young. The babies aren't going to be interacting as such, except looking at each other in the Nursery. All babies will be the same whether they have been to baby groups or not.

WhatALump Thu 11-Jun-20 09:59:20

If you’ll be working from home could you employ a mothers help to look after the baby in your house?

Concerned7777 Thu 11-Jun-20 10:01:14

Not quite sure why you thought you would be eligible for furlough anyway..... child care has always been available to key workers which you both are you are choosing not to use that child care, it's not that there isnt any available too you

Kittywampus Thu 11-Jun-20 10:01:33

The council probably can't furlough you if your salary is paid from public funds.

Have you looked at local childminders? They may be better for a small baby than nursery and less children would mean less of a risk of covid. I understand what you are saying about your partner working with vulnerable people but unfortunately there are many people who work in similar jobs with children at school.

If you can't get a nursery or childminder then put yourself on the waiting list. Do you or dh have any annual leave you can take to cover the gap?

Otherwise your choices are to take unpaid leave or attempt to work from home with the baby for a short time. If your dh is working from home then you share the childcare. You will have to make phone calls when the baby naps or when your dh is home. Other admin will have to be done in the evenings. For meetings you can turn your microphone and/or camera off so you can look after the baby with one ear on the meeting.

You won't be able to work to your normal standard, but if you have a good track record in your job and a sympathetic boss then you can cope for the short term. Your boss may be more sympathetic if she knows that you are on waiting lists for a nursery place. You won't be the only person in the team going through this. I have a work colleague with toddler twins and no childcare shock

Obviously none of this is ideal for you or the baby. However I would think that toddlers and older children are more affected by being unable to go outdoors and watching TV all day while the parents work.

Best of luck.

BessMarvin Thu 11-Jun-20 10:02:11

My 8mo will start nursery when a year old (we booked a place when I was pregnant as we knew we'd need it) and I've been worried about how she'll settle in without having been anywhere but home with me. It is natural to worry.

My older one's settling in sessions in normal times just involved leaving him for longer and longer periods so probably won't be that different now anyway.

My second maternity leave experience is definitely a lot different to my first. It is sad.

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