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Too cheeky to try to negotiate better pay for my return from maternity leave?

(4 Posts)
BungleandZippy Tue 28-Jul-15 15:11:24

A bit of background:

I've been in this post for five years and have been successful at it. While I've been on maternity leave (since early this year), a lot of my team have left. I know morale has been low and colleagues have struggled to hit (unrealistic) targets. It has been like this on and off the whole time I've been there though.

Today I found out that my lovely line manager and also my immediate colleague, the only other person who does the same job as me, will be leaving shortly too. Meanwhile, I'm about to submit my flexible working application, requesting half-time hours on my return from maternity leave.

Half-time hours will be tight for us financially, but due to limited childcare options locally and with wanting one of us home with baby as much as possible, this is about as much as we can manage and feel comfortable with while baby is under three. My employer is a family-flexible employer and I'm fairly confident they’ll offer me these hours (I've changed my hours for their needs, and they for mine, several times in the past).

It sounds a bit mercenary of me maybe, but on hearing today that my immediate colleague will be leaving, I've been wondering if I could negotiate better pay for my return. My role is highly specialised, and my employer wasn't able to recruit cover for my maternity leave - they've been muddling along with a temp fresh out of uni, and soon it will be just her (she's petrified). DP reckons I'm in a strong negotiating position as they may really need me to come back (and earlier than I might like), and where money will be tight working half-time for a few years, they just might pay me more if they want to keep hold of me and don't want me to jump ship like everyone else is.

Part of me thinks maybe I should be looking elsewhere too if it's so bad at work that lots of people are leaving. However, my role is kind of niche and removed from some of the challenges of other roles in the team, and my employer is local, operates flexitime, and offers flexible working – which are invaluable for me while baby is little (I have another DC too, whose school hours/commute I need to work around). Given where I live (a bit rural), I think I'd struggle to find anything else so family-friendly, and family-friendly is what I need at this point in time.

Should I go back at all or look for a more feel-good workplace? If I do go back, is it too cheeky to ask for a pay increase? And if it's not too cheeky, how do I go about it – what do I say, and do I say something along with my flexible working request? Thanks for any thoughts.

TheClacksAreDown Tue 28-Jul-15 15:22:48

You need to disassociate the FW request with any request for a pay rise. You could raise at the same time but you certainly can't be saying "money is tight due to the FW I'm asking for, can I have a pay rise". What you can do is look at what the market rate for your role, noting scarcity value and show why you are now paid below the market rate.

BungleandZippy Tue 28-Jul-15 15:32:39

Thanks, TheClacksAreDown. You're absolutely right I can't link the FW request and pay increase request in communication with work (although they're related in my head!). I'm paid pretty well in terms of market rate for my role, but despite offering this when recruiting for my colleague a few years ago, and for my maternity cover, we have really struggled to recruit to this specialism, in the geographical area we're in. So scarcity value is high. Whether or not that alone could warrant a pay increase to the ceiling/a bit beyond the going rate for my role, I don't know. Thanks for posting anyway.

Bubblesinthesummer Tue 28-Jul-15 15:38:28

I'm paid pretty well in terms of market rate for my role

TBH if this is the case then by all means ask, but I wouldn't hold out much hope.

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