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requesting more than 1 year mat leave?

(26 Posts)
reastie Sat 30-Jul-11 21:45:04

I work as a teacher for a private school and am currently on mat leave until Dec, my year of mat leave allowance ends in January.

I have been thinking deeply about returning to work and how it will fit in with being a mum (I work the hours of 2 or so days teaching a week). I don't want to loose my job as I love the school I work at, but, anyone here who is a teacher knows the job isn't a 9 - 5. To do my job well there will be alot of outside paid work hours, which I'm happy to do, I just don't know if I'm going to be able to a) cope leaving dd (esp given I will be leaving her with a mil I don't wholey trust) and b)do my job well c)cope without stressing about the 2 previously mentioned issues so much I make myself ill.

The best and perfect way I can think to remedy this is to request with work if it is possible to take longer than a year mat leave - ideally an extra year meaning dd will be at the age of getting free nursery hours when I return to work. Once she is of school age my job should work really well with dd. I have no idea if work will be shocked if I approach them about this. Of course it depends on if my supply is willing to work longer and if the school are happy for me to take an extended unpaid leave. Maybe I should mention here that although I am a relatively well performing and respected teacher at the school, I did have months signed off ill during my pg due to a very difficult pg which they were very good about, but I'm not sure how much more they might want to put up with me being difficult hmm . I would actually be happy to pop in every couple of weeks and teach a lesson with no pay though (or assist the supply) as I want to keep the job and want to keep my toes dipped in (if that's the right phrase).

If they were to say no I would have to go back to seriously considering returning to work but if I don't go back to my job I think in the long term I will regret it.

So, is this unusual? Is it something they will ignore or think seriously about? Am I being naive to think this could even happen? Is there a good angle to come at this to my manager/headteacher? I realise that legally they can say bog off no but wondering what the likelihood is of bringing this up or not and what to do with it. Any input really welcome.

trixymalixy Sat 30-Jul-11 21:48:24

A work colleague of mine took an extra 6 months unpaid parental leave after her mat leave. I think she had extra justification in that she had a medical reason which meant she could have no more children.

reastie Sat 30-Jul-11 21:58:04

so it has been done trixy hmm

chocoroo Sat 30-Jul-11 23:25:52

<waves to reastie >

Several people at my work have taken extended parental leave, which tends to mean if anyone requests it now they are given it. However, I don't know of anyone who has returned to their original job so to speak, they've all been redeployed in similar roles but their job ceased to be "theirs" when they failed to return after their statutory mat leave.

Do you know of anyone else in your place of employment who has taken extended leave? It would be an easier argument to have if there was precedent.

hairylights Sun 31-Jul-11 10:58:23

It would be parental leave which you are entitled to request.

Something worries me about your post. WHY would you leave your child with someone you don't completely trust?

ChristinedePizan Sun 31-Jul-11 11:02:07

Umm ... you don't get free nursery until the term after your child turns three so you are looking at at least three years off.

If you only work two days a week, I'd go back to work tbh. And not leave your DD with anyone who you don't entirely trust!

stressheaderic Sun 31-Jul-11 11:10:57

Could you look into a childminder/day nursery for your DD? I'm a part time teacher and my 18m DD goes to nursery 2 days a week and loves it.

You are only halfway through your mat leave - you may feel differently when the winter months arrive and you're a bit fed up with the grind of running round after an almost-toddler.

MrsKitty Sun 31-Jul-11 11:24:38

You are entitled to request up to 13 weeks unpaid parental leave before your child's 5th Birthday. The policy at my work states that you can take up to 4 weeks per year - I don't know if that is just my work, or if that is standard policy. Perhaps your school would allow you to take all of it? You will also have accrued annual leave for the year that you have been off, and bank holidays, so you might be able to tag that onto the end of your Maternity leave, which would probably give you another couple of months.

I agree with previous posters about leaving your DD with the MIL, if you don't entirely trust that she will look after her in a way that you're happy with then you really should consider a nursery or childminder instead - I speak from experience, it is just not worth the stress, hassle and arguments that it will cause. (My FIL 'looked after' DS for 1 day a week when I went back to work full-time but we quickly decided to pay for an extra day at nursery instead). Yes, nursery/CM is an expensive option, but you could see if your school offers Childcare Vouchers as part of your pay as this saves a substantial amount of money over a year (they are tax free). If MIL is keen to be involved, perhaps she could help with your DD whilst you are at home doing the 'out of hours' work you need to do (planning/reports/marking etc can be done at home, can't it?)

It's not easy going back to work after Maternity Leave but you get used to it!

Hope you get things sorted smile.

EveryonesJealousOfWeasleys Sun 31-Jul-11 11:45:05

Agree with hairylights in that my immediate response to reading your OP was more along the lines of "find someone you do trust to look after DD" - then you might feel more comfortable about going back to work.

reastie Sun 31-Jul-11 12:53:34

here's a post re: my mil worry which might help a little. That's one of the reasons why I want to defer going back to work. At least if I go back when dd is 2 she will be old enough to gain more from nursery maybe a morning a week and this would limit time alone with mil hmm

<waves to choc> no one at work has done this before to my knowledge - it's only a v small school with not a huge amount of female staff of child bearing age wink

EveryonesJealousOfWeasleys Sun 31-Jul-11 19:32:23

What's to stop you using alternative childcare now rather than when she's 2? You could put DD in nursery on the day your mum isn't having her, and tell MIL this is because you want her to have the socialisation that nursery gives.

flowery Sun 31-Jul-11 19:53:12

Deferring your return isn't going to solve your problem. Your problem is you don't want your MIL to take care of your dd, and that's not going away unless and until you deal with it head on. Waiting a year won't make any difference. If you want to use the ''dd will benefit from nursery" argument you could easily do that now if you wanted to.

Putting off going back to work is a big decision, especially financially, and if the reason for doing so is avoiding a confrontation with your MIL that's a bit daft imo.

Secondtimelucky Mon 01-Aug-11 15:31:51

Being brutally honest, I don't see any way they'll agree this (unless they are needing to make redundancies and this would allow them to put that off in the hope of an upturn in numbers before you go back). A year is a long time, and I don't really see it will be better when your DD is 2. As others have said, it sounds like a childcare issue to me. Find someone you do trust to look after your DD and get your DH/DP on side with what you both agree.

Also, you don't say whether you have other children, but since many women are back at work 12-24 months before having a no.2, if it's your first they'd think there would be a good chance you'd not return before another mat leave.

LIZS Mon 01-Aug-11 15:42:36

I requested a career break (something not all employers offer and even then can be selective accorodngot seniority) from my retail role and it gave me an option to return with accrued leave entitlement and, for while, pension rights intact, although there was no guarantee of returning to the same job and only at all if a job of same level was available at the time. In the end we moved abroad before the leave was up so it was academic. I suspect that your employer, as a school, won't be able to keep your job open for continuity issues and it might set a precedent although you can but ask. Could you perhaps go on their supply list until such time as you feel better able to leave your child for something more permanent.

reastie Mon 01-Aug-11 16:08:03

secondtime I need someone to be brutally honest - thank you, it helps me put things into perspective. I think I'm so confused about returning to work and my concerns are twofold - not just mil issues but also that I'm worried I won't be able to do my job well due to lack of time to prepare etc. My main concern is prob the mil prob though.

lizs supply wouldn't really work at my current school as I teach a very specific subject and they don't tend to employ general supply teachers, just get current staff to cover.

BranchingOut Mon 01-Aug-11 19:01:36

Mmm, interesting thread.

I am a teacher and do think there is a fair chance that they might be willing to extend your maternity leave, but probably only up until September. That way the classes that your supply teacher is covering have consistency until the end of the school year. Ask for cover up until next December and I think you will stand little chance.

However, I do encourage you to hang onto that part-time job if at all possible. I have been looking for a part-time teaching post and have found it extremely competitive. A lot of women in teaching, after all.... The chances of getting another part-time post, in your area, in your subject, in circumstances that will work for you are very slim.

You can only ask, so maybe approach your head informally and see what they say?

reastie Mon 01-Aug-11 21:16:20

branching that's exactly why I don't want to lose my job - it took me a year to find a job in my area in my subject specialism, part time or full time. The end of academic year thing is interesting idea though - I like that and would mean I start at the beginning of an academic year which sort of feels easier as I get a new GCSE group to make a start how I want to do it IYKWIM. I will have more time with dd and mil to get an idea of how happy (or unhappy) I will be with that situation and adjust childcare appropriately. Also, I would not be bfing at all by then, as that hmm me too - how will I have time to bf dd in mornings/evenings when I'm out the door at 7:15 am.

Secondtimelucky Tue 02-Aug-11 08:56:18

Just on the breastfeeding, by one they are pretty flexible. Only working two days a week you could probably, if you wanted, just feed in the morning on those days you didn't work and give something else on the other days. One of my friends did that for about a year.

BranchingOut Tue 02-Aug-11 14:08:52

If you do request extra time, let us know how you get on.

Also, many nurseries do adjust the cost after two, as the ratio requirements change slightly. Then the 15 hours kicks in the term following their third birthday.

reastie Tue 02-Aug-11 14:26:38

thanks, all really useful input. I've been in contact with work and my timetabled hours are now over 3 days not 2 (2 near full days and 1 1/2 day) which will mean more mil helping with dd confused

secondtime that's v useful re: bfing. Tbh I don't know if I'll have time in the morning for bfing so it may have to be a night feed I do every day, we shall see how it goes.

EveryonesJealousOfWeasleys Tue 02-Aug-11 22:26:21

Seriously, find a local childminder here and tell your MIL you want your DD to be in the company of other children. My friend teaches and has a CM who fits in around her timetabled hours, it works really well for her. Stop pandering to your MIL and do what is best for you and your child (sorry, dinner out with friend and wine = blunt post) smile

RobynLou Tue 02-Aug-11 22:35:11

re the bfing, I really wouldn't worry about it - by a year they're v flexible, as is your supply. at 18m DD1 went away to my parents for the weekend, didn't feed while there (obviously!) Ididn't pump or anything, we just carried on as normal when she got back.

StealthPolarBear Tue 02-Aug-11 22:53:15

"how will I have time to bf dd in mornings/evenings when I'm out the door at 7:15 am."

The bfing is likely to be fine - I feed DD morning and night (and during the night angry but can manage fine on the days I need to be out at 7

reastie Wed 03-Aug-11 06:44:34

Thanks. I'll go back to work for a few days when dd is 9 months and then back to work proper when she is 10 months - hopefully the bfing thing will still be OK at 9/10 months?? <hopeful>

Secondtimelucky Wed 03-Aug-11 11:57:10

My DD was 11 months when I went back, but she had cut down to morning and evening feeds by 10 months (with only a very gentle nudge to do so - offering a drink or a snack a few minutes before she habitually asked for mid morning and mid afternoon feeds. No refusing of feeds at all). I reckon she could easily have coped just doing evenings, plus mornings on the days I was there.

Does that help?

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