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Going back to work, confused re: changing offices, flexible hours and childcare, come and tell me what to do!

(10 Posts)
JackBauer Tue 18-Aug-09 12:38:13

I am on a career break which is not due to end for another 2 years but, even though I will only end up with a small amount after paying childcare, I think we need that amount.
I worked in an office that is an hour commute away on a good day. I do not want to go back to that office as it will mean anothe 2 hours a day childcare I won't be earnin for but my employer has another office half a mile from my house.

I have 2 dd's. one in morning nursery 2.5 hours a day and the other needs full time childcare, DH works awkward shifts that can change at the last minbute so cannot be depended on.

So first, can I ask to be moved to the office nearer my house, and refuse to go back yet unless they do as I don't have to?

Also, shoudl I start looking for childcare now and request hours around the childminder hours I can get, or should I agree hours and then find care?

<head explodes>

JackBauer Tue 18-Aug-09 19:15:37


twinklytoes Tue 18-Aug-09 23:00:20

flowerybeanbag or ribenaberry might be your best port of call for advice. you;ll find them in the employment section!

my initial thoughts are that they are only committed to give you a job at the same grade and responsibility that you left and not necessarily the same job back, so there may be scope to negiotate the closer office.

with childminders you need to give yourself a minimum of six months to find the right one (but be prepared to have a retainer or deposit requested if you book and sign contracts way before you need them). Will the DD in nursery be in school by the time you need care? if not then you would be paying fulltime for both dds even though the oldest is still in nursery for those hours. if they will be at school by then, look at the schools wrap around care offers. this might be a better option for you and maybe slightly cheaper. for now, I would suggest that you "hunt" out where the local childminders hang out (toddler grps, soft play etc) and join these groups and get to know the childminders and see them in action. If your eldest will be in school then you need to identify the childminders that pick up from that school, assuming you want your children with the same childminder.

JackBauer Wed 19-Aug-09 21:28:12

Ach, 6 months? I have about 2 max, depending on civil service HR, so actually, that could be more like 6...

DD1 is in a nursery attached to a school but won't be full time for another year so I will need someone to pick her up, even though I would (hopefully) be able to drop her off.

I am glad you said that about the jobs as that is what I was thinking, they were always saying I am not guaranteed my job back, and to be frank, I don't want it!

twinklytoes Wed 19-Aug-09 23:18:12

sorry you've confused me - your OP says your going back to work in 2yrs not 2mths, hence saying 6mths for looking for childcare.

if you've only got 2mths then find your local childrens information service page and start emailing every childminder that collects from your school and anyone who doesn't specify a school pick up. also phone them as not all cms are on the list and ask for an updated list to be posted. also head to your nearest childrens centre and find out what they offer in childcare and also they will (likely) have a list of local childminders.

btw cm's might not be your cheapest option as it seems normal practice to be charged by the cm for the "free" hours at nursery as they can't fill the space. usually occurs if there is an expectation that the cm will be on-call for a nursery emergency and if you need cover for inset days and school holidays.

JackBauer Thu 20-Aug-09 09:25:09

Oops. No, I meant my career break officially ends in 2 yrs but we need me to go back to work asap. Sorry!

Info from CIS arrived this morning so will start ringing. It's just a pain as work haven't got back to me so I can only be really vague as to hours etc.

LadyBee Thu 20-Aug-09 17:31:32

I found when ringing childminders, it helps to have a scenario worked out that is your idea, but just stress that this is still subject to work formally agreeing it. That way the CM gets a fairly clear idea about what you want and at least can see whether that will work in with them. If you then have to re-negotiate or change, at least you've got a starting point and don't sound vague and disorganised on the phone (even if you feel like it in real life grin).

LadyBee Thu 20-Aug-09 17:32:05

ideal not idea in the first sentence.

JackBauer Thu 20-Aug-09 19:27:55

Thanks Ladybee, that actually does help! I think I need to find childcare and try and persuade work to go round it as much as I can.

Is it normal to be bricking it about calling a CMer?!

LadyBee Thu 20-Aug-09 23:35:38

weirdly, yes! (or at least in my experience smile) I think it helps if you can think of yourself not as a future employer (you're not, they're self-employed) or that they're doing you a favour. You're a client who is calling to find out if the service they offer meets your needs.
So be clear what your needs are and then ask all the questions you need to find that out.

Here are some starting points

- your budget (their costs?)
- your travel plans (their location?)
- your hours (their current availability?)
- your hopes in terms numbers of other children at the setting (their other mindees?)

Once you find a few that meet the basic criteria you have work out whether the relationship is going to work and for that, I really think you need to meet them and go with instinct (and the safety checks).

BTW, with work I think you might find if you go to them with maybe a couple of options, either of which works reasonably well for you, your more likely to get a result that works out. For example, you could offer:

1. Full time hours at the closer location, and 1/2 hour lunches so you can leave early in order to pick up by 6.


2. 3 days a week at further location, 2 days at home and a reduction in hours to ensure you aren't trapped in traffic/rush.

Maybe you could phrase this in terms of 'exploring options for your return to work, and want to know how the following requests for flexible working might be received' - Applications for flexible working include requests to change location as well as days/hours etc. By phrasing it like that, if you get a negative response you could then say that you've decided to continue your career break without it sounding like a refusal.

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