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Returned off mat leave to more junior role... can I leave before mat leave no 2 starts?

(8 Posts)
firsttimejoj Sun 27-Nov-16 07:45:01

Hi all,

I have just returned from mat leave and am in a bit of a messy situation and need some advice on what my options are. I've listed my situation first and put my three questions at the bottom. I'm hoping that you mumsnetters can help!

My situation:

I have returned off mat leave already 4.5 months pregnant, so will leave again in 4 months. Because of this, my mat leave has been kept on so that she can cover my next mat role. I’m struggling because my mat leave cover is retaining the more high profile elements of the post and I’ve been left with admin/repetitive/support tasks. Before my return, I did ask my managers that I be given a distinct project so that my mat leave cover could remain in post without disrupting the team but this was refused, I was told I had to come back into post.

My difficulty is this, I want these 4 months to count so that when I leave again for mat leave no 2, that I’ll have delivered rewarding projects to show for my time back in the office, at the moment I don't see this happening. Very importantly, my mat leave cover has refocused the role away from my strengths and towards her own, so now the role is heavily focused in areas that I am neither interested in or good at. I feel that this change is to the detriment of the team’s outputs, but my management don’t seem to notice or care.

My situation has been made worse by me returning to a new management structure, with two new managers who don’t seem to notice that I’m now in a support role to my mat leave cover, that the role is now weighted more heavily toward the mat leave’s skillset rather than my own, or know about my previous track record of delivering high quality work (I was 100% job matched in a restructure before I left).

I’ve tried flagging the strategic importance of the tasks that are going undone, but they don’t seem to understand the significance which suggests that their skillset are weighted towards my mat-leave cover rather than my own. I believe my new managers will realise the importance of these tasks after I’ve left once large strategic pieces need delivering but can’t because of these tasks not being completed.

I feel utterly lost about my situation and am spending most of my time at work on the brink of tears.

My questions:

I want to know what my options are... would anyone know?

1.Could I leave and retain my mat leave allowance which starts in 4 months? My contract allows me to take 2 months unpaid leave, which coupled with my remaining annual leave allowance would take me upto my maternity leave. Would I be entitled to propose that I use my AL allowance and 2 months annual leave and then retain my maternity leave allowance? Or would I have to resign?

2.Is this a case of bad management? Should they be taking a more active role in divvying up work and recognising what a difficult situation I am in? Before I returned, I did flag that this would be a difficult situation and that I was happy to return and work on a distinct project, leaving my mat leave cover in post so as to ensure continuity.

3.If I am to stay on, do you have any advice on how best to approach this?

Thank you so much for getting this far in my post.

In hopeful thanks. X

PotteringAlong Sun 27-Nov-16 07:56:01

Honestly? It's 16 weeks. I would get through it and worry about it when you come back after your maternity leave.

Whatthefreakinwhatnow Sun 27-Nov-16 08:00:08

Gosh yes, just grin and bear it for the sake of 4 months!

I returned after mat leave/accrued annual leave 6 months pregnant, and couldn't do my own work due to safety issues meaning my cover remained in post- yes this pissed me off and I was bored senseless but it is what it is. I'm due any day and will sort it when I am back at work in January.

FusionChefGeoff Sun 27-Nov-16 08:00:55

I would grin and bear it then worry about it in 18 months time just before you start thinking about coming back. I'd use normal leave to finish as early as you can, but don't do the unpaid leave thing.

Just keep doing good work, see if there's anything else you can get involved in if you've got spare capacity. Possibly mention a paired down version of your concerns in a 1:1 but don't make too much of a deal about it.

The thing is, you have no idea what the environment / structure / role will look like when you come back after mat leave 2 so no point worrying / planning for it now - cross that bridge when you come to it, as they say.

queencrunch Sun 27-Nov-16 08:03:23

Just get through the 16 weeks. With appointments, scans etc it will go quick. Use up your annual leave. Then once baby two arrives see how work is then.

regularbutpanickingabit Sun 27-Nov-16 08:04:35

Ok, I can see why you want to have significant impact but the reality is that coming back from maternity leave for only 4 months with no guarantee (to the business) that you won't be off sick earlier than that does put the company in to a risk-averse situation. They have done what they need to do to ensure you are in your role (not demoted) as legally required but also have to ensure the business runs smoothly.

I imagine working out a specific project for you is not straightforward and therefore not high on their priority list - especially if there isn't an obvious skill set in the current set up to deliver your project once you leave, if it hasn't been completed in that very restricted period.

However, if your experience suggests there will be business failings unless core tasks are performed and you can perform them in your timeframe) then this is definitely the route to take.

Have you just spoken to management about your concerns or put it in writing? I would write a robust business for what you suggest is required. Be clear about the tasks, the impact on the business for doing/not doing them, how this supports the (great) work already taking place, timeframes involved and why you are best-placed to take on these tasks and why.

Good luck!

regularbutpanickingabit Sun 27-Nov-16 08:05:44

Robust business case

user1471950254 Sun 27-Nov-16 08:20:27

Good advice from Regular, 4 months is not long tonne back and there is always the possibility of you being unwell & starting mat leave earlier. As a manager I see this ALMOST always happen!

I would have a 1;1 as Regular describes and discuss core tasks not being undertaken and the impact. Perhaps during your time you could upskill your cover to do these if you can convince the business of the importance? Failing that you've raised concerns & then spend your remaining time being positive and supportive of the changes. If the #### then hits the fan you'll be with your lovely new baby by that point!

Just ensure you have great attitude etc to the changes during this time that's more memorable probably to your new managers than your output

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