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NOW CLOSED UK MNers: Please complete a short survey for MNHQ about returning to work after having children. £50 Amazon voucher to be won

(51 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 01-Nov-13 14:31:14

We'd like to know about MNers' experiences of returning to work after having children.

This survey is open to all UK Mumsnet users who:

~ are female
~ have at least one child AND
~ who worked in paid employment prior to having children AND
~ who returned to paid work (or who planned to return to paid work but were made redundant/ lost their job through no fault of their own) after having a child.

If you fit the bill, please complete the survey here.

Everyone who completes the survey and adds their details to the end will be entered into a prize draw for a £50 Amazon voucher.

Thanks and good luck,


StealthPolarBear Fri 01-Nov-13 14:36:04

Complicated slightly as some of the questions I was answering for my current employer and some for the one I was at when I had my mat leave. Doesn't really matter in my case as the employers are pretty much the same but I thought it could be confusing.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 01-Nov-13 14:38:27

Done. Very depressing sad

fanoftheinvisibleman Fri 01-Nov-13 16:02:40

Done. I am public sector and the onr bonus of public sector work was that I was pretty much able to dictate how and when I went back. So if my answers don't make sense when I say that managers were very supportive but I feel that having children holds you back I am referring more to a career as a part time worker.

nobutreally Fri 01-Nov-13 16:14:36

I'm guessing I don't really fit the quotas as - like many women I suspect - I chose not to return to my pre-kids workplace, but instead went self employed. Partly because I didn't think the employer would be genuinely family-friendly, partly because I knew my employer would constantly have 'what if she wants another baby/she isn't really commited any more' whenever they looked at me (small company, I had been a shareholding director prior to my pregnancy)

ForFawkesSakeNoGuyForSolo Fri 01-Nov-13 16:30:44

I don't think public sector is the same across the board fanof

Rosell Fri 01-Nov-13 16:33:39

I wish there'd been a section for general comments. In my experience (2x mat leaves from a large corporate employer), things depended entirely on the approach of the line manager. I had one amazingly positive experience where I was very strongly supported throughout, followed by an awful one that ended with me leaving the company. For me the conclusion is that all the policies and good intention in the world mean nothing if they're not evenly applied and, perhaps more importantly, monitored.

bsc Fri 01-Nov-13 16:41:22

public sector here too- outwardly v supportive, and had flexible working, days off (from my leave allowance) at v short notice etc, but was sidelined on return, and even removed from senior leadership team on return! shock

fanoftheinvisibleman Fri 01-Nov-13 16:42:17

I'm sure it's not but I can only go on my own experience and I was lucky. I was just trying to explain my answers as I feel like being part time was the biggest hold back. I am lucky that work/life balance was a big deal for all staff members where I am, children or not. Things are however getting less flexible these days in line with severe cuts so not so sure I'd like to be returning now.

HorryIsUpduffed Fri 01-Nov-13 16:49:28

I agree that it's part-time working that really screws you over on return to work.

I was told that the job I ought to have been returning to couldn't be done part-time, and that utterly stalled my career development/progress at that firm ...

... but they gave it to two other full time people as an effective job share confused alongside other duties. So basically it was a big fat lie and I resigned within a year.

MrsCakesPremonition Fri 01-Nov-13 17:35:24

My company made flexible working available to all members of staff (regardless of whether they were parents of young children) - this meant that there was much less discrimination because everyone knew that they could ask for the same if they wanted it.

LoganMummy Fri 01-Nov-13 19:04:22

I worked for a very small company and was the first employee to become pregnant. My boss had no clue, despite me giving him all the info he needed (links to employer info etc). He tried to start my maternity pay when I was 15 weeks and off sick for one day. What really annoyed was that when I was pregnant I was the only employee (out of four) not to be given a pay rise or promotion.

aga69 Fri 01-Nov-13 20:18:18


Zombieminx Fri 01-Nov-13 21:07:16


Very depressing.

The thing that really bugs me is how hard it is to move jobs if you only want to work part time angry sad

Fishandjam Fri 01-Nov-13 21:12:55

Done - and I agree with all the comments on part-time working.

Fishandjam Fri 01-Nov-13 21:21:00

Damn, posted too soon: I work in the legal profession (in house, 3 days a week) and my employer is very family friendly. Good quality part time jobs (in fact ANY part time jobs) in the legal profession are rarer than rocking horse shit, and I know I'm lucky to have the role I do. But I still feel I'm becoming deskilled and that all the interesting/complex projects go to full time colleagues. For eg, I'm more PQE than one colleague, and with more "senior" past experience, but she's a Senior Legal Counsel while I'm only a Legal Counsel. Our grading is the same but it still makes a difference.

At present I'm really just keeping my hand in pending the kids going to school, but it's a bit depressing that that's my only choice if I want to be taken seriously.

NotCitrus Fri 01-Nov-13 21:27:25

Flexible working for all, parents or not, is key to removing resentment - and once a critical mass of staff are.doing it, management are forced to get to grips with it.

A rest room (ie with a camp bed) was vital for me when pregnant, and then on return I was gutted to find they'd got rid of it. Storage for spare clothes at work would be nice, for.those days when child gets gunge on your suit on the way to work.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 01-Nov-13 21:47:36

Done. Since returning from maternity I became the boss and put right the crap that happened to me.

jellyfl00d Fri 01-Nov-13 22:49:31

Survey done! I am public sector worker and I actually got promoted at 7 months pregnant and I reduced my hours on return from mat leave. I think I was very fortunate, as it seems it's not that way for lots of women. On the whole a supportive employer.

conflictedgeek Fri 01-Nov-13 22:52:38

Done. Thing is, my lot (private sector, small company) couldn't possibly have been more lovely while I was pregnant.

But when I returned, while they are lovely, they also seem to have mummy tracked me. So I feel a bit trapped, tbh - hard to switch jobs when part-time.

Davinaaddict Sat 02-Nov-13 00:14:31


DanglingChillis Sat 02-Nov-13 01:37:49

Done. I've been incredibly lucky work wise, my boss when pregnant with DD1 hardly spoke to me when I was pregnant and didn't even acknowledge I was about to have a baby on my last day before going on maternity leave. I returned to work pregnant and he immediately moved me to another department. He thought he was sidelining me, it's actually been the best thing that has happened to me. I now have a lovely boss in a growing department who has been fantastically supportive of my career and given me lots of opportunities, e.g. I'm just back after my third child and just been given a big project that will increase my experience in an area I don't know much about. He has been lovely about my pregnancies, even when three out of seven of his senior staff got pregnant at the same time he dealt with it with good natured humour (at least to our faces, there were crisis meetings about how the company would cope!).

MoreTeaPenguin Sat 02-Nov-13 10:25:48

I completely agree, it's going part time that completely stalled my career progression. Despite having a lovely supportive employer I'm now paddling like mad to try not to go backwards. The workplace is just not set up for part time and it takes SO much effort to find out what's going on, and what important conversations I've missed!

janey68 Sat 02-Nov-13 11:53:31

YY to the comments about requests for flexible working being open to all. Having children shouldn't trump every other perfectly legitimate reason for wanting to work part time. If someone can afford to work less than the standard week and its a job which is viable part time then fine. Having said that, it's also equally important that companies are allowed to use legitimate business reasons to decline requests.

Personally I found the key to my career progression was to work full time for 10 years, building up my career. Then returned 3 days a week and returned to full time work as soon as my youngest was in reception class. This worked out well for me, though I appreciate there is an element of luck in hours becoming available at a good time. I also too short maternity leaves (which was standard back then) but I also think this worked to my advantage in never feeling out of the loop. If I were having babies now I think I'd have a dilemma as I can see a year off work is tempting, but not sure it's best career wise

The most useful advice I'd give is spend a good few years career building prior to kids if possible because its always easiest to negotiate flex working etc from a position of being established. I am also very glad I never stopped working at all as I think this makes it very hard to get back into the market, though again, I appreciate its tough if you don't earn enough to cover childcare.

MegBusset Sat 02-Nov-13 12:00:54

Done, though there was no option to explain that my post-DC job is a different one to pre-DC (I was made redundant on mat leave and it was a non-family-friendly industry anyway).

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