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Flexible working - can I apply before going on maternity leave?

(3 Posts)
CookieMonster1 Wed 22-Jul-09 21:22:17


I want to make an application for working compressed hours when I return from maternity leave. I am 30 weeks pregnant at the moment with 6 weeks to go before starting my maternity leave.

I would really like to get the process started before I go on leave so I can have the statutory meeting to discuss while I am still at work rather than when on maternity leave.

What's putting me off is that all the stuff I have seen about making applications seems to relate to post-birth.

Does anyone know if you can apply while still pregnant or have any experience of whether this is a good idea or not.

RibenaBerry Thu 23-Jul-09 09:13:10

Strictly speaking, you have to have a child (or other qualifying caring responsibilities) to qualify. That's why everything you read talks about post-birth. However, if you have a helpful employer, there's nothing to stop you getting an infomal dialogue going now.

Do bear in mind, however, that your feelings may change a lot when you have the baby. If you make one informal request, get it all set up and arranged, and then want to change again once the baby is here, you will have the right to make a formal application - but your employer won't be best pleased with you! I'd keep any disucssions now quite tentative and stress that your views may change. Just a thought...

flowerybeanbag Thu 23-Jul-09 09:21:02

What Ribena said. Unless you already have children you don't have the right to make a request yet.

You could start an informal dialogue but your employer may well refuse to enter into discussions or hear a proper request yet anyway. Your maternity leave could be a year long and it's not realistic to be able to assess the business impact of a request a year in advance. So much can change in that time, including the actual job you come back to if you take longer than 6 months off.

I wish I had some figures really but a huge proportion of women change their mind about their plans once baby has arrived. Lots of women decide to take longer off than they originally planned, and even more decide when they have a baby there and are actively looking at logistics and childcare as well as their own feelings, that actually they want different hours as well.

For that reason I would strongly advise against starting anything now. Also worth bearing in mind is if you have children already and can make a formal request now, if your employer agrees to hear it this early you will then not have the right to make another request for a further year.

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