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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 08-Nov-13 14:48:53

Well done c00k1e!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 08-Nov-13 12:37:53

Thanks for all the responses: c00k1e wins the £50 Amazon voucher

Ilovemyrabbits Wed 06-Nov-13 21:20:48


Thurlow Tue 05-Nov-13 14:03:01

Done. I could also have done with a separate comments section. My line manager and my department have been great, but my firm (largeish corporate) has been pants. Everything I get away with re leaving early or starting late is completely off the record.

The main problem for me, like most posters I imagine, is that changing to a new job scares me as you then have the whole issue of one day suddenly announcing you have childre and have to leave early for an emegency. At the moment, in my long-term job, I don't care - I've been here forever, I've been so flexible, they owe me this. But in a new job it would be so different.

OK, posted earlier, but not in much detail. When I had my children I was working for an American multinational - they had all the right policies etc, but basically did the minimum they could get away with legally. My responses on the survey are about that company. The occupational health nurse was a lifesaver when I found my workload too heavy going during pregnancy. I went back full time after first child and was determined to go p/t after the second, but I had to fight tooth and nail for it and accept that my career progression was stalled. In a way I didn't mind as I didn't want to climb the management ladder anyway, and it gave me a legitimate excuse, but I really felt I was doing no favours to myself or working women in general by letting this happen, and I was definitely getting given all the crap work. Anyway, eventually I was offered voluntary redundancy which I took, and was fortunate enough to find work at a similar but much smaller, local company and it is oh, so different. No real career prospects, because like Pistillate people tend to stay and we have a flat structure (1x boss, and several employees). However they are incredibly flexible (to all staff, not just parents), the benefits are great, I have never once been made to feel less valued because of working part time and the work is interesting and enjoyable. I am studying part time to stretch my brain and improve the content of my CV in lieu of progress in the workplace and am all round much happier.

I don't think changes in legislation would makes these differences, it is all down to the mindset of the management.

Pistillate Mon 04-Nov-13 17:31:59

There are some really good comments on here. I said no to more legislation, because I don't know what more legislation would do. I think there should be a change to existing legislation and parents should have equal rights to a block of parental leave, so they could both take 6 months off together if they wanted, or could take turns for the first year. This would mean all parents can have experience of being sidelined whilst on parental leave.... See if that changes things! Also it would support parents in sharing care. Maternity leave means that mums at home do all the baby care and probably most of the household management too. Then what happens when they go back to work? Suddenly dads start doing 50%? hmmmm.

For me the biggest thing my employers could do would be change their insurance policy so that in an emergency I can bring my kids into work. I realise this involves careful management, and I wouldn't have been interested in this before now, but they are now old enough to be quite capable of sitting at a desk and doing little bits of admin, or school work or reading or games without stopping me from working.

Like others, I find the being part time is the main barrier to advancement. That and the fact that I work in a small team where people sit in their jobs for 25 years.

muchadoaboutsomething Mon 04-Nov-13 17:18:38

Strange glue, not competing because you are part time sounds like a breach of the part time workers regulations to me.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Nov-13 17:08:53

thanks to everyone who has done the survey: do feel free to add comments on this thread: they will get read by the team who are dealing with this survey.

StrangeGlue Mon 04-Nov-13 13:30:44

It'd have been good to have a comments section.

A frustration of mine was when I went on mat leave I was discounted at the end of year review and put through on an automatic 'average' despite the fact id been doing the grade above job for three months with no extra pay and was told I'd at least be put forward for the bonus moderation. Out of sight out of mind.

I've also now been told I can't compete because I'm not full time.


WallyBantersJunkBox Mon 04-Nov-13 11:44:14

Done. And I agree with posters below - the mechanics of time off for appts, leaflets, leave dates etc was all fine.

I had to go back part time after 6 months and I missed out here massively. I then went on to 4 days a week at another company and was ruled out of a lot of possible promotions, even though I would come in for various training days and away days on my Friday off, and work at home too.

Also,even though I don't discuss my family life in work (unlike a lot if male colleagues, incidentally) people are always trying to do the thinking for me..."Oh Wally won't want to do that travel, she has a family etc" when in fact I have been more flexible than many single male counterparts on these arrangements I still seem to get tarred with a brush. I have never complained once about travel, and work far longer hours than most.

If I didn't have my DC i'd be a senior VP now without doubt. Shame really as I'm perfectly capable of being both.

My employer was brilliant when I was pregnant and on ML, but like others I feel my career had largely stalled due to part time working.

You miss out on a lot - I could be flexible regarding important events/training/meetings etc, but going part time stripped my job back to the very essentials, meaning for me that I missed out on networking opportunities as attending an external forum for example was just not important enough for the day job. I was pretty invisible in my sector for a few years which hampered my career development I think.

I also missed out on a good proportion of informal serendipitous 'corridor conversations' with colleagues which are so useful and often progress work much quicker than formal meetings.

ItLooksLikeRainDear Sun 03-Nov-13 22:36:52


Ughughugh Sun 03-Nov-13 22:14:35

Done. I became a SAHM after my first 2 pregnancies because of the way I was treated at work for being pregnant.
Shame because I was a far better worker than most of my colleagues. I was the only woman in that workplace and really had to prove myself to try to be taken seriously, which sadly I wasn't.

Wonderstuff Sun 03-Nov-13 21:31:43

Two things really, I agree with others about pt working, my DH is currently 4 days as well as me, and it's been far more difficult for him, his employers were shocked when he asked, and have only allowed it on a temporary basis, they are very worried about him setting a president.

I also think that it isn't just employers that stall a post children career, I didn't apply for promotion for a few years, I wanted to our career on hold, actually work have recently promoted me pt, partly because DH and other family members have been able to share emergency child care, so I'm as reliable, mostly because I have specialist training in a shortage area.

principalitygirl Sun 03-Nov-13 20:51:59

in my experience women need better legislative protection against discrimination during pregnancy while still at work. women on maternity leave have much better protection against discrimination than pregnant women who have yet to start their maternity leave. it's pretty hard to find a job once you're pregnant so if you lose yours due to a crappy employer - household name who didn't practice what they preach - then you're pretty stuck until you've had your baby.

muchadoaboutsomething Sun 03-Nov-13 17:51:04

I did this, but felt it a little simplistic. In my case it's not children per se which affects my career and career choices. It's the fact my chi,d has cerebral palsy. I actually have felt supported but believe the 8 months off I took when I had ds has taken about 3 years to replace. Also My colleagues didn't look after my business as I would have done, so it took a while to build it back up again. Again I don't think that's maternity leave it's the extra demands of disability, and difficulties with juggling the numerous but horribly irregular medical appointments with trying to commit back to my career.

GreenShadow Sun 03-Nov-13 16:29:22

Also public sector and also found they were generally very good. But then when the department is so large, it is relatively easy to do. I quite appreciate the difficulties involved for very small employers.

ForFawkesSakeNoGuyForSolo Sun 03-Nov-13 11:06:00

My now previous work place made it very difficult for anyone to get a work life balance arrangement put in place when I had my Ds. I actually got it due to my ill health along with being a lone parent, but when I returned after Dd (considerable gap), it was being used much more easily for more than just parenting, but work were phasing it out! so was nigh on impossible for anyone to get.

Done, but had to answer as though I was still working at the company I worked at before, between and after my MLs, although I left several years ago now and the company I work for now couldn't be more different (in a good way).

SuiGeneris Sat 02-Nov-13 22:25:05

Done but felt you should have offered more options. E.g. Asking whether one was selected for redundancy during mat leave or shortly after and whether it was felt that pregnancy had been a contributing factor. It is something that would be difficult to prove, but I and others have been through exactly that- sometimes more than once...

Meglet Sat 02-Nov-13 20:46:05


Suddengeekgirl Sat 02-Nov-13 18:58:30


Agree with PP - very depressing remembering how much I loved my job and felt supported. Management changed while I was on maternity leave (and repeatedly after that) and I felt more and more sidelined and like I was an inconvenience! sad

Phineyj Sat 02-Nov-13 18:41:38

I have returned to work 'part time' which essentially means full time but my teaching hours (and therefore pay) are reduced. My employer has been thoroughly decent, although this may be related to the fact I saw an employment lawyer while pregnant and did exactly what he recommended. However, they have promoted me which is good as I understand some schools won't have part time workers in leadership positions - which seems unreasonable to me if the job can be done effectively. I must say I have heard and seen a lot of horror stories over the years and did my level best to take all the steps I could to avoid becoming one of them.

I agree flexible working should be a universal thing that could be requested by all, not just parents.

Happiestinwellybobs Sat 02-Nov-13 15:56:24

I didn't feel able to complete the questionnaire as an adoptive parent, but I would add that my experience was very positive. I honestly felt that I had the support of every employee during the run up to DD coming home, and since my return to work too.

breatheslowly Sat 02-Nov-13 15:49:44

I was able to go back PT. The thing that I think will hold my career back is being not able to move between companies easily, which is one of the standard ways to progress in my profession. Jobs are rarely advertised as PT. I have been lucky enough to have moved once, by applying for a FT job but requesting to do it PT. But I doubt that I will be able to do it again and I don't want to risk moving to a FT job with the hope of reducing to PT again. Not to mention that employers may well not like the idea of employing someone with an "incomplete family" as we have 1 DC and might want more.

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