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Back at work after 10 months ML, Pregnant again and boss does not give me any work... Help

(15 Posts)
tostaky Mon 26-Oct-09 10:00:55

the title says it all. We planned it that way because we want a small age gap and i dont want to be in nappies forever and also i didnt want to jeopardise my career with too many career breaks... But now im back at work for 5 months and my boss is giving me the cold shoulders. I work in a project environment and i am not given any projects. Im doing bits and bobs for whoever needs assistance and mainly im helping people from my team but working with a different skill group than mine. like today I do not have any work at all. not today, not tomorrow, not for anuy time in the future... I have told my boss but he shruggs it off. i also see little point in doing my performance review. My motivation is being greatly affected, i find it hard to go to work in the morning but i make a point of coming in time, dressed up and smiling.
I have another 3.5 months to go incl xmas... any advice please? Im desperate.

LoveBeingAMummy Mon 26-Oct-09 10:02:47

You need to sit down with your boss and discuss it with him, surely there are things they could give you? Maybe have some egs ready.

Biobytes Mon 26-Oct-09 10:08:16

Don't expect to be landed with the same responsibilities you had before ML if you are going again for a long time. It is not fair on you or the team.

However, they could provide you with responsibilities you can complete before you leave again. If they don't, try to talk to HR department.

flowerybeanbag Mon 26-Oct-09 15:42:51

The trouble is, if you were off for 10 months, back for only 5 and then potentially off for another year, it obviously makes more sense for your employer to keep whatever maternity cover arrangements were in place rather than disrupt everything twice. This is particularly true if you work on projects - no point giving you significant projects to manage or whatever if you're disappearing off again very shortly.

Having said that of course you ought to have some work to do. You need to request a proper meeting with your boss, and ideally go in with some ideas about what you could do for the next 3.5 months. If there's really no actual work, is there some project you could do looking at reviewing systems or procedures used in the department, or something like that. There are always 'nice to have' things that ideally would be done to make life easier for everyone but no one ever has the time so they never get done. Try and think of something that would work.

tostaky Tue 27-Oct-09 09:00:46

Thanks for your replies.
I did look at internal vacancies to see if there was one of those jobs looking at procedures etc going that I could do for the short term but there's nothing going on at the moment. And with the recession, budgets are being cut for those "nice-to-have" things... but somehow i need to find a way to fill in my timesheet...
I guess it is going to be three months of hell as I cannot really say "I want to do this or that" bc it all depends on the work we get and I cant really be picky... unlike before...
Hard not to phone in sick but then again i wouldnt be able to be off sick for 3.5 months!

flowerybeanbag Tue 27-Oct-09 11:32:41

I wasn't meaning applying for different jobs altogether, or proposing things you could do that would require additional resources or budget. But you spending some time reviewing the effectiveness, relevance and efficiency of systems and procedures used in your department and then producing a report into your findings, for example, shouldn't cost anything more than your own time, which they are paying for anyway.

Obviously I don't know the specifics about your job, but if you're literally sitting there doing nothing, it would be better if you can think creatively and come to your boss with a solution or two.

tostaky Wed 28-Oct-09 09:24:19

The thing is I have to fill in a timesheet with a job code at the end of the week. So every minute of my time is accounted for (and then we charge clients accordingly).
Even if i was meant to say archive all the folders of one big project i used to work one, I would still need a jobcode for it.
Yesterday, at my own initiative, I reviewed a spreadsheet that could be used as "best practice" for the rest of the team, but it is as if i had done it on my own time as I do not have a code for it.
My boss told me to use the "non-productive time" code for yesterday.

Could all this back-fire to me and could my company use this situation to make me a possible candidate for redundancy, arguing that I am not performing. I have a friend that got made redundant during her second maternity leave for exactly the same thing but at another similar company.
And how could I prevent this happening?
I am saving preciously all the emails I am sending to my boss, boss of my boss, all UK team, asking for work but most of the time, I am asking for work i do so verbally.
Or like yesterday when my boss told me to use the "non-productive time" code, this has been agreed verbally between him and me.
Is it important or am I just beginning to feel a bit paranoid?

flowerybeanbag Wed 28-Oct-09 09:31:11

Well you're doing all the right things, and I think you are probably beginning to feel a little bit paranoid, but it;s worth thinking about anyway.

How was your mat leave actually covered? Did they recruit someone on a temp contract and are just keeping them on in between for continuity/saving recruitment costs? Or was it something else?

Are there several people doing the same job as you? It sounds as though there probably are? If they were to decide at some point either now or during your next maternity leave that actually they need one less of that type of role, the fact that you happened to be on mat leave at the time certainly couldn't be used as any kind of reason to make you redundant rather than someone else, particularly if your mat cover was still in place.

tostaky Wed 28-Oct-09 09:55:58

I am not saying they could use the fact that I am on mat leave, but they could use my poor performance during the 5 months I spent working in-between my two mat leaves. I would feel this would be unfair because I am not given the opportunity to actually "perfom". I have to complete my performance review by the end of november and my boss told me to come up with targets. But how can I do that when all i do is bits & bobs for everybody. My targets last year were very clear: make more profit, keep client happy, develop my skills. I achieve them all. Now all i do is help X preparing a presentation, then do some web-based search for Y on xyz topic, then help Z finish a report on time, all on different projects. And sometimes I just do nothing at all like yesterday.

There is a good dozen of people doing the same type of work and at the same level. We are all consultants working for clients and before going on mat leave I trained someone else to take over my responsabilities for a big project.

Thanks for your help flowerybean :-)

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 28-Oct-09 10:18:46

Could you try asking a few colleagues about doing a project, or helping reduce their workload, and then proposing this as a viable option to your boss?

In other words, rather than asking for work, identify it yourself, ensure that it isn't just 'keep busy' work, and write it up as a proposal, possibly with your colleagues backing?

Alternatively, are there any external clients who could use you on a secondment basis? Or is this not done?

flowerybeanbag Wed 28-Oct-09 11:08:34

Obviously performance is often used in terms of selection criteria for redundancy, but from what you've said, it doesn't sound as though you haven't been performing well at what you have been doing. You've only been doing bits and bobs, helping people, research, presentations and reports, but presumably there's no question of you not performing those tasks well?

You can still have targets and objectives for that type of work, in terms of quality of work, and impact your assistance has had for other projects, even if none of them are your own projects. I'd suggest you come up with some objectives suitable for the work you are being given and against which your performance could easily be proved as excellent.

tostaky Wed 28-Oct-09 12:18:38

ilovemydog - thats what i am doing at the moment. asking colleagues to give me some of their work if they are too busy and thats part of the reason i have only small pieces of work to do and not proper project work.
No secondments opportunities atm im afraid..

flowerybean true. and i assume i would receive a formal warning if my performance was not up to scratch?
It is also difficult to estimate the impact of my current work because it is only small bits and sometimes it is for say, a niche market in the US i have no knowledge of or some work done by another business group in the UEA and i am doing a tiny fraction of it...
i think i will "market" myself as a temporary champion for something specific i have in mind and that requires very short bursts of work 9so no long term commitment)and try to get as much work as poss around this. I have also found a very cheap one day internal training for this too. Though it is not super interesting work, at least I will develop my skills, have responsibilities and hopefully be busy.
Lets just hope my boss agree on this.

Thank you smile

MrsDenning Sun 01-Nov-09 11:43:55

It is unlawful to treat you differently because you have had a baby or because you are pregnant.
After your first maternity leave you were entitled to return to your former role, did this happen? If not this is a breach of your right to return to your job and sex discrimination. It is not relevant that it will be inconvenient for your employer that you are going on a second period of maternity leave in five months time.

I suggest you address this asap with your employer with a view to ensuring that you are put back into your old role without any further delay. You want to be doing your old job when you go on maternity leave the next time, as this will preserve your right to return to this job. Try to be as concilliatory as possible.

Have you had any advice on this, might be worth speaking to Working Families 0800 013 0313 or a local cab.

flowerybeanbag Sun 01-Nov-09 12:46:16

MrsDenning after 10 month ML the OP did not have the automatic right to return to her former role if this was not practical for her employer, that only applies up to 6 months.

In any case she also gives no indication that she hasn't returned to her former role, everything she says suggests she has, and that is not the problem, the problem is that she is not busy enough. My personal view is that a positive, proactive course of action is the best option with 3.5 months to go.

MrsDenning Mon 02-Nov-09 00:53:45

The SDA trumps ERA on this flowery, sorry.

In practice a woman has the right to return to her job, whether that be after six or twelve months of maternity leave.

OP I think you should get some face to face advice you need to speak to an employment solicitor.

I agree you need to go softly but this does need to be sorted before you go onto maternity leave.

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