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How does going back to work - work?

(3 Posts)
GeenyWeeny Wed 30-Oct-19 13:55:37

Hello all

I am new here. I also do not have a child yet with my husband. We have always decided to do it later. I am 32, 33 next April and he is 40 next year.
Next year we plan to start trying. Which is exciting!

My main concern is what to do when I go back to work. We both have elderly parents, so family support is probably not going to be something we can rely on. He is a site manager so very busy and reasonably well paid. I too earn ok money as a project co-ordinator. I am aware you can have up to a year off, depending on when you go off for maternity leave and I have heard of the vouchers you can get for nursery once the child is a certain age. But what happens in the interim period? I don't expect to go back to work full time, but I think it'll be 3/4 days a week. Now I may have the options of working at home, but again, I assume the child will still need to be cared elsewhere. If I have to travel, my commute is an hour.

It's stressing me out more than actually the thought of having a child. It's probably not the main thing to worry about, but because I have alway "felt in control" with my parenting choice, I would like to forward plan?

I expect everything I earn will go straight to childcare until these vouchers kick in? Negating the point of work? But I want to work.

Also - further on, what do people do about school holidays? Will all our holidays we both have been used for school holidays, meaning we don't get many actual holiday days together?!

I hope I don't sound selfish, but I think when you've been together for a long time without children, the change is so daunting...

I suppose I need a pep talk from you lovely people to get me going wink wink

Thanks - GeenyWeeny

OP’s posts: |
Hugsandpastries Wed 30-Oct-19 22:30:54

In the interim yep you pay a lot of money for nursery or childminder. But that’s temporary. The first term after your child turns three, you get 30 free hours childcare for them (with some restrictions, see gov.uk website). Once they’re at school, you can pay for holiday club/after school club which is usually a lot cheaper than nursery is for younger kids.

I work p/t - what I find hardest is covering illness. Am having to use annual leave to cover all the times my little one is ill - this can be as much as a couple of days a month, some months more. So I end up not taking holiday because I never know when I’ll need the days.

FinnMcMissile Wed 30-Oct-19 22:54:15

You'll need some kind of childcare organised for the days you work - nursery, childminder or nanny. Where I live, childminders are generally £5.50 per hour, while nursery is anywhere from £60 to upwards of £70 per day for under 2s (gets cheaper as they get older, but not much). For example, my 2 year old goes to nursery 2 days a week (7.30-6pm opening hours) and we pay £500 per month. In real terms, we pay less than that as we use childcare vouchers - this scheme is now closed for new entrants, but you can do the tax-free childcare savings instead which should save you ~20% on fees. Whether you will earn much after childcare is paid for just depends on your salary. If my DD was to go to nursery for all the 4 days that I work, I would still earn over £1000 per month, plus overall pension contributions of ~£750 per month so it is definitely worth it for me. The 30 free hours is good, but just keep in mind that not everywhere offers it.

In terms of your commute, it depends whether your childcare is open the hours you work. Also, many people change their working pattern, for example one parent being responsible for drop off and one for pick up. Another option is to work one or two longer days at home, and just have short days in the office.

Once at school, you'll probably need some kind of childcare. My impression from my DS's school is that most parents are using wrap around care, but not every day. In our case, DH does all the drop offs as he works from home, and we use a childminder two days per week for after school, and grandparents for 2 days. If we didn't have grandparents helping out, then I would probably adjust my hours even further to accommodate one or two more pickups, eg. spreading 4 days across 5, or leaving work early and catch up in the evenings.

School holidays I haven't found too bad as I do get quite a lot of annual leave (6 weeks) and also bought an extra week. Grandparents cover most of the rest. If you work part time, you automatically cover a lot of the holidays anyway, so worth keeping in mind. Also, I think you are entitled to unpaid parental leave too. DH and I take some weeks together (eg Christmas and ~2 weeks of holidays) and the rest of it separate.

Hope that helps, good luck!

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