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Returning to Practice as an OT

(8 Posts)
MandJane Fri 29-Jul-11 08:49:26

I qualified as an OT 1999 and never practiced as I was a full time mum. My youngest is now 6 and I want to return to work. The problem I have is hubby works away from home andI have no family near me so would have to find child care particulalry for school holidays. I am hoping to get part time work after I have done a return to practice correspondance course. Do any mums here work without support of a husband or famiy? How hard is it? I feel nervous about doing this alone :-(

littlemrsb Fri 29-Jul-11 12:01:10

I am an OT and work 3 long days but the commute is 1 hr either way. Finding the travelling hard and the now my middle child is starting school in september really want to be there after school for them. Went for job yesterday 15min from home and did not get it. Have been very disappointed this morning but I think I may have to ask my current employer to reduce my hours a bit as childcare cost high and I realised when on may leave last year how much they need you after school. I love my job though so really don't want to give up work especially as competition for OT jobs really high! My suggestion would be to try and get post close to home if at all possible. I am lucky that my husband does morning drop offs and I do evening. I think if you work for NHS they do have to try and be flexible and allow you to work your hours in way that fits in with your life. e.g. 5 short days in term time and 3 or 4 longer days in holidays, so less holiday clubs to book and pay for! If there is a before school club then you could work early shift and still collect after school. I would make sure they have hot school meal and then you don't need to cook in the evening and can spend time with them. I would perhaps join up to do some bank work even if it's as a technical instructor as very few places can afford locums now and you can test it all out before taking up permanent position! Although it's hard work I think the balance of working part time is on the whole very positive. Good luck!

BranchingOut Mon 01-Aug-11 18:48:39

I know nothing about being an OT, but I do know that out of my postnatal friends, the one who had the least trouble arranging part-time hours was the one working for the NHS.

She just had to fill in a form and tick the days she wanted to work - the rest of us were there submitting flexible working requests, appeals, getting legal advice.....

niisku Tue 02-Aug-11 21:50:58

I'm an OT, currently on maternity leave until mid September. I work as a band 5 OT for the NHS in London and my experience is that all band 5 jobs (at least in London) are full time. I have two children, aged 2,5 and 8 months and my manager has basically told me that if I'm returning to work, it's full time or resign. I wouldn't even be able to do flexible hours ie. work the full 37,5 hours over 4 1/2 days. So I've been basically been put in a situation that I'm forced to hand in my notice. I haven't got full time childcare for both of my children and my salary isn't enough to pay for full time childcare for 2 children but I wanted to return part time to maintain my HPC registration and continue my professional development.
I don't know how flexible other Trusts are when it comes to band 5 OTs and doing part time but my experience of the NHS isn't great. My Trust advertises itself as one that offers flexibility and support in balancing family and work life. Well not in my case they don't. My baby has severe allergies (milk protein and egg) and I'm still breastfeeding him as he refuses his special formula. I have to be on a completely dairy and egg free diet as he's so sensitive that he reacts to the proteins in my breastmilk and leaving him to work full time just isn't an option. But that's another story...

Anyway, sorry about the rant. Hope you'll have a better experience and manage to find a supportive Trust willing to offer you flexible working.

SpottyFrock Tue 02-Aug-11 21:59:17

Niisku, I think all employers are legally obliged to consider flexible working conditions including p/t hours for every woman returning from mat leave who requests it. If your trust are not willing to offer this they must put in writing why your job precludes this. And they can't just say the job cannot be done p/t. They need to justify why this is the case. I think you should seek legal advice on this before you give up your job.

ladylush Tue 02-Aug-11 22:09:19

I agree with spottyfrock. I work as a Band 6 CPN in an integrated team which has OTs as well as other healthcare professionals. Most of the OTs are part-time - working either 3 full days or school hours only. Some trusts even offer term time working only. Do you belong to a union? If so, I'd seek some advice from them.

OP - You could also consider term-time arrangments or school hours? My husband doesn't help with the school drop off or pick up because of his working hours but I'm lucky cos I live near work and can do the school run prior to going to work. I have childcare for the pick up but it's a family member. I work 3 days a week.

niisku Mon 08-Aug-11 20:13:04

Thanks for the support ladies. I know my employer needs to consider flexible working and that's what they say they have done but the answer is no. As long as they have a valid reason such as not meeting the needs of the service/patients or additional costs etc they can refuse my request. I work in an acute setting where I often get a referral on Monday and need to facilitate the patient's safe discharge from hospital by Friday and if I'm not at work, a colleague will have to take over my caseload otherwise we'll delay discharge so my manager can easily justify his decision. I'm also on a band 5 rotation which is a "teaching post".
But I decided I wasn't just going to resign and give up all my rights. So I've now requested the decision in writing as my manager hadn't given me anything in writing- he was careful not to even reply to my e-mail but instead he phoned me and explained his decision over the phone so I have nothing in black and white if I want to appeal against the decision. I even asked him how I go about making a formal application for flexible working but he made it quite clear that it wouldn't chance anything... anyway, I've now spoken with a union rep and she's going to help me to request a career break. It remains to be seen what my manager says to that. I know he's expecting to find a letter of resignation waiting for him on his return from his annual leave...

carpetlover Mon 08-Aug-11 20:53:32

Hi, they can't just say that you cannot have it because a heavier workload would fall on your colleagues. If your job needs f/t hours then they should consider a job share. That way you could liase on a wed lunchtime (or whenever) to make the handover smooth.

What I'm trying to say is that if your post is a 40h job. They can't just say no to you dropping to 20 because everyone else would need to pick up the other 20. It would be more than reasonable for them to employ a second person in that case. Your teaching commitment however, is a different matter and it maybe that that is the downfall in your request.

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