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Feel pretty down, what should I do?

(7 Posts)
Tweet2tweet Tue 28-May-13 16:41:39

I recently had a baby, 7 weeks ago. Anyway, 3 weeks ago I received a message from my boss asking for some feedback on some things I was working on before I started mat leave. I got ack to her as some of the things have a direct impact on my return. I thought it was a one off so made an exception.

Anyway, now other staff are getting in touch and I feel quite upset. There's a suggestion that my mat cover is trying to get rooted into my role and I feel that if I don't help they may start to reassess my role.

I am very tired and don't feel up to working but don't want it to be held against me. I plan to take full mat leave, might consider some keeping in touch days in a few months, but not now. What should I do?

Virgil Tue 28-May-13 18:04:08

Do you have an HR department?

If so I would contact them and see whether they can explain to your team for you that you are on maternity leave and are not working. In the event that they want you to work and you are happy to then you can do KIT days but they can't require you to work.

I'd speak to HR on the phone and then follow up with an email along the lines of:

"Dear [HR person]

Thank you for our telephone conversation earlier today. As discussed I am currently on maternity leave having had my baby 7 weeks ago. I am expecting to remain on maternity leave until [DATE] although I will update you further in this regard at a later stage. Whilst I do appreciate that there are some matters where it may appear easier for my colleagues to contact me and ask questions I would really appreciate it if you would explain to them that I am not working during my maternity leave. I have made an exception and responded to [INSERT NAME OF BOSS]'s email/letter/phone call on [DATE], just three weeks after the birth of my baby, in order to be helpful but I really cannot carry out any further work at the present time. Neither do I wish to be worrying about whether people are trying to get hold of me whilst I am spending time caring for my child. I would be grateful if you would communicate this to my colleagues who I'm sure will understand my position.

I will be in touch later on in my maternity leave if I wish to take any KIT days however I can confirm this would be towards the end of my maternity leave period.

Kind regards

Tweet2tweet "

WipsGlitter Tue 28-May-13 18:06:01

Great letter. Don't worry about the mat cover, she might get kept on in a different role but your role is safe.

Tweet2tweet Tue 28-May-13 20:12:21

Wow Virgil, that's a great letter. Thank you so much, I will use that.
Thanks for reassurance wipsglitter. I was told if off longer than 6 months I have the right to return to role at same grading nut not necessarily the same role.

flowery Tue 28-May-13 20:23:01

I like Virgil's letter but I would only use that once you have had that same conversation with and letter to your line manager, who should be your first port of call. If that doesn't work, by all means go to HR, but I can imagine a line manager getting pretty peeved if one of their team goes directly to HR with something like that first.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Wed 29-May-13 07:08:03


Sorry your mat leave/time with your baby is being 'soured' by work. I am guessing you are very conscientious & good at what you do, so they are naturally just coming to you.

As flowery suggests go to your line manager. It is their responsibility to a) manage your cover/workload and b) manage the rest of the team to not contact you.

Just be clear that you were happy to help with their queries initially, but you would like to be left alone now to focus on the baby. A proper break will ensure you are back ready for work when the time comes!

In the meantime if colleagues coming asking for help, I'd start to "train" them not to expect an immediate response. They will soon find out it is easier/quicker to find the solution themselves ask somebody still at work than bother you. You are not under any obligation to help them.

As for your helpful colleagues that are suggesting how wonderful your cover is....It could be that they think you are interested in knowing how they are getting on or it could be something less charitable. Whatever their reasoning or the reality there is little you can do about it at home. So try to ignore what they are saying.

Many covers want to be covers and aren't actually angling to take over the role.

Going on mat leave is one of the weirdest thing I ever did. You are still 'engaged' with the organisation, but you aren't there. There is somebody else 'being you' and you are at home dealing with a new baby which is whole new world and not all of it is nice/happy etc.

So easy for me to say (as this is your job/life!), but take your mat leave, enjoy time with your baby and return to work as planned. Work will still be there. You could rush back only to find that actually it is all ok and that they could have managed without you.

I write all of this as somebody similar to you. I had the calls, the comments about my cover etc. In the end I realised that work would carry on and switched my focus to the baby. The 6/9/12 months will fly by. You have years to work...

Good luck.

Prawntoast Wed 29-May-13 07:20:44

Hi tweet, with regards to your role, if you take additional maternity leave you won't be guaranteed your old job role back. Your employer can offer you another role on the same pay and grade if its not practical to offer you the original post. I don't work in HR but have had a fair few maternity leave returners under my management over the years. In my experience the majority of returners do return to their original roles. Hope you enjoy your leave and that your colleagues get off your back!

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