So first off, I'm probably pretty lucky compared to some women here when it comes to my job. I am able to work from home some days and the company where I work has a strong flexible working ethic.
But (there's always a but), I'm facing some challenges when it comes to planning for late third trimester.
In short I want to stop travelling into work from week 36 onwards. The main reason for this is I have a very long commute (2.5 to 3 hours each way by road) and I don't think it will be safe - or comfortable - to travel into work that late in pregnancy. I'm also classed as high-risk due to existing health issues (and now I have PGP - woo!)
My plan is (was) to stop travelling the fortnight before I take mat leave, so working full time from home in weeks 36 and 37, then taking holiday weeks 38 and 39, then maternity leave from week 40 onwards.
The issue I have is my boss (one tier above my line manager) doesn't like the working from home part of this plan. I only found this out from my line manager yesterday, so haven't had a chance to speak to her directly.
Her reasoning is reasonable - to hand over smoothly my role to the team. But I just don't think it's safe.
I could pull all kinds of strings and rank to enforce my POV - letters from doc/obstetrics, going to HR - but I'd rather deal with this diplomatically if possible.
I'm in two minds about catching up with her on Thursday (this is my last week in the office before Christmas) or leaving it till January and maybe even after my 25 week check up, but that might be cutting it fine (I'm due beginning of May).
Any advice on when I should speak to her, what I should say, whether or not my safety concerns are valid? Or anything else, because I'm kind of at a loss as to what to do.
I don't think they are obliged to allow you to work from home. If you do the handover that should be the last stage before ml starts. Perhaps you should consider starting ml 2 weeks sooner or usue your al to reduce the number of days you have to travel to the office each week. If you are deemed unfit to work as usual at this late stage your employer can force it to be ml anyway.
Re taking mat leave earlier, I did think of that (effectively using another 2 weeks hols) but I'm not sure she'd be onboard with that either 😕 - the problem is, as things stand, they can't afford mat cover (my work is weird how different departments get budget) so my work is being divided between the team in theory and I think she's a bit anxious about that.
I'm erring on the side of grabbing her on Thursday to find out what her side of the story really is. I love my job and my team so I want to make it as smooth as possible transition, but I also need to put me (and baby) first.
I really thought this was going to be pretty straightforward!
Wow you're really planning early lol! You need to create an handover plan. It sounds like your boss isn't convinced you'll half over correctly if you're at home I think, so do a plan, get the calendar out and think about holidays as there'll no doubt be a end of term or half term break or people on holiday so factor these in. Divide your work on hownyoull be splitting it between staff members then get individual handover Plans in place. Tell them what you'll plan to do at home those last two weeks, it may just be that you're doing something you don't need to be going in for, just explain that to her
Tbh, by the time you get to 36 weeks you may be more than ready to go anyway. I don't think they have an obligation to agree to working from home, and you're unable to cope with the travel then that would be a good time to start mat leave.
They don't get to decide when you start mat leave though, but they can trigger it after 36 weeks if you're unable to work.
How's your PGP? Both times I've intended to work until 35 weeks, and both times I ended up leaving a couple of weeks earlier because I couldn't cope with my hour-long commute - sitting for that long was torture.
You raise an interesting point, flumpybear - aside from my boss's boss, nobody else in my team has children and in the past 11 years nobody else, currently employed or previously, has had a child - or no woman anyway (I'm in a very male-dominated sector). So yeah, this is novel for all of us and I think that's part of the problem!
PGP is variable, tbh. I spent most of Saturday crying about it - both in pain and because it's a bit psychologically distressing (you hear about all these women breezing through trimesters two and three, but it's something I'm denied). But as of Monday it has been ok - popped a paracetamol towards the end of the afternoon, but that was it. I managed to keep a pillow between my legs all Sunday night and that seemed to really help (normally I seem to chuck it out during the night).
I've had one session of physio, got some exercises and I'm doing them as much as possible (not always possible if I get home late). Hoping to keep it from getting worse or at least stave that off for as long as possible!
It came on really early (before 12 weeks), but I've had problems with one of my hip joints for many years anyway, so not that surprised this has happened.
They need to think about this more carefully. Pregnancy, particularly late pregnancy is unpredictable and if you go into labour early, that's it, your maternity leave starts then. I wouldn't have wanted to be travelling on a coach for hours each day at 35+ weeks but I don't think they're obliged to make adjustments for travel to and from work. I would see how you go but remind them that you may have to go on ML earlier.
I've decided to bite the bullet and try to catch her this week. There's a chance there has been some miscommunication and even if not it's an opportunity to put my points across sooner rather than later.
So it turns out, my line manager is just a really bad communicator. Spoke to boss and she said that she's not going to try and make me travel for 5 or 6 hours each day at 8 months + pregnant, but she's been told by HR it's too early to make any plans or promises yet (got to hit that magic 20 week mark).
So feeling reassured that nobody is actually proposing anything stupid or dangerous, but at least it's made me think a bit more concretely about what I want in the run up to mat leave, including dates etc!