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Want to go p/t but hubby worried about financial implications

(13 Posts)
TrixieLox Tue 04-Mar-14 22:04:53

There's been lots in the news today about nursery fees and many of the reports have been accompanied by footage from nurseries.

Watching that footage has hit me right in the stomach: in 3 months, my one year old girl will have to go to nursery when I return to work full time (though her grandparents will look after her 2 days a week). I'm feeling a cold stark terror about the fact we won't see each other properly for 5 days out of 7. I haven't felt this fearful until now.

I mentioned the possibility of going p/t to hubby just now, even just having 1 day off a week. But he's so worried about finances. We could afford for me to go part-time but it'll be tight. I get a little bit of money from writing novels but it's not much at all. He said he feels a financial responsibility to our family and my cutting my hours could make us a lot less financially secure.

Did any of you find yourselves in a similar position?

ianleeder Tue 04-Mar-14 22:12:19

Yes. I went from 4 days a week when I had my 1st child and now 3 days a week with my 2nd child. I don't enjoy my job and I really want to quit as I don't feel motivated at work. My husband says no as we can't sustain our current lifestyle if I give up work.

gilliangoof Tue 04-Mar-14 22:14:51

I was in the same position. I could not think about my DS in nursery without feeling the fear. In the end I did not return to work from maternity leave. We worked out a new budget which looked impossibly tight with the loss of about 70% of our income. Now we've been on that budget for 4 years and it is fine. As long as you have enough to pay the essential bills and buy food you'll be surprised where you can make savings and the number of ways you can enjoy yourselves without spending much when you have bucketfuls of time. We are all much happier than if the DCs were in nursery all day and I were in the office. I'd say really think about what will work best for YOUR family and then do it. Don't worry about what things other people think are important.

dashoflime Tue 04-Mar-14 22:20:38

TrixieLox How bad is it. Have you sat down and done a budget?

Does your husband realise how strongly you feel?

How part time are you thinking? FWIW I work 4 days and feel thats its the best of both worlds. I spend almost equal time with Ds and at work and am only losing one days money. Would something like this work for you?

Its really lovely that your parents are helping out. Your Dd will benefit from a relationship with them, throughout her life.

thonah Tue 04-Mar-14 22:32:41

Have you done the sums? If you do work. 4 days you loose 20% of your gross pay but less than 20% of your take home pay as you'll pay less tax. As the previous poster said 4 days is a really good compromise. I've done it for most of the last 10 years and quite a few of my colleagues don't even realise I work part time!

Beamur Tue 04-Mar-14 22:37:56

I reduced my hours when I had a baby, we've managed ok and it does enable (for us) a better home/work balance. It's hard work to have a baby and 2 full time working parents, it is doable though (many many people do!) and having helpful GP nearby too is great.

BackforGood Tue 04-Mar-14 22:45:25

I was going to say the same as thonah
You bring home a LOT more than 80% of your take home pay, because of the way the tax personal allowance works. You need to get some actual figures - maybe from HR or from your union ? Or I bet there's a MNer out there with a link to a calculator.
Of course, the problem with working 4 days (depending on what you actually do for a job) is that it is usually still seen as "your" job and therefore you don't end up with a 20% reduction in workload - for that reason I'd say have a look at what you would bring home (and of course, save on Nursery fees) if you worked 3 days rather than 5. Now that's a good work / life balance.

missmagnum Tue 04-Mar-14 22:48:26

I went to 4 days a week. Yes its a struggle and we don't get to go on holiday but we manage and my day off with ds, now 3 is very special and he loves it. It makes the work life balance a little better for us. He goes to family two days a week and nursery for two days.

Does either of your work offer childcare vouchers? we find that a great help.

PansOnFire Tue 04-Mar-14 23:27:20

4 days has been a great compromise for us; I'm a teacher and the nature of my work makes part time very unfair on my students (very specialised area, most teaching posts work well as part time). Working 4 days gives me enough time with my students to feel in the loop but I get an extra day with my DS. I don't feel like I've lost much pay, there is a small reduction but not enough to make a huge difference. Bearing in mind we're still paying two mortgages and the extra bills that come with a second property (negative equity, can't sell) etc we're managing and DH isn't on a huge amount more than I am.

That being said, I have friends who's LOs are in full time nursery and they love it. I've noticed they are far more independent and social that my DS and friend's DC who don't work. It's not always the case, but nurseries can be excellent places. It's often harder for mum than the DC. I know I'll be using a nursery when I increase my hours in a few years.

I hope you manage to reach a compromise that suits your family.

Eletheomel Wed 05-Mar-14 09:19:00

I always intended to go back part-time, but was thinking maybe 27.5 hours a week. I got my work to tell me what my take home salary would be if I earned 22.5 hours, 25 hours and 27.5 hours, and when we both looked at it, DH suggested why not 22.5 hours as there really wasn't much in it, and it meant I'd be able to work mornings and pick DS1 up at 1pm (so having more of an afternoon with him). So, I gladly told them I'd work 22.5 and I'm so glad I did.

Does your lifestyle change? Heck yeah, but for us, when DS1 came along, there were no more nights out (we were too knackered) we went out for lunches rather than dinners anyway and so a lot of your outgoings as a 'no kids' couple vanish. I was very lucky, as we could pay our mortgage, food, car etc even with my part-time, and the only 'hit' we took was that we had much less 'spare' cash (so little money to save, in fact the first 7 months I was back at work, we overspent every month (took us a while to adapt to my lower wage) and had to cut back on 'luxuries' but we were willign to do it, as DH knew I was happier spending more time with DS1, and to be honest he preferred DS1 to be with me too (rather than our childminder - even though she is wonderful and will be getting the company of DS2 when I go back to work :-)

Do the sums and make a presentation to your DH, you might be suprised at what you can afford.

TrixieLox Wed 05-Mar-14 11:28:54

Thanks ladies, this has really helped. I emailed HR this morning and they replied straight away. I'd be taking home more than I thought. So my income from novel-writing, though small, will actually cover the difference for the next 2 years. So it is viable. It's just my OH is sooooo paranoid about finances. But the fact is, we'd still be able to save a little money too. I really need to sit down and chat this through with him.

How much notice do you usually need to give to an employer if wanting to go part-time? And I imagine it affects leave allowance, so annual leave will be worked out based on days I work? So currently, I get 33 days leave a year (I know, amazing, I work for a university) but will get about 27 if I go to 4 days a week.

As for tax personal allowance, I don't know about this, will need to look into it.

Either way, as I write this down, it's looking more and more viable.

Oh, and to go to 3 days a week right now is too much financially. But 4 days a week means I can take a Wedn off and spend the day with my little girl, with nursery Tues and Thurs, grandparents Mon and Fri. It's broken up nicely then for her (off for me as obviously a long weekend would be best but not doing this for me).

Eletheomel Wed 05-Mar-14 11:46:38

I think that sounds great trixie, having a wednesday off totally breaks up the week and means you're never more than 2 days from having a full day with your little girl.

I can't remember the official notice period you have to give, but I contacted my employers about 2-3 months before my return to work date, asking them about the salary difference, then emailed them in writing with my flexible working request. They then responded accepting my terms.

I work the same hours every day so I still get 31 days annual leave (as each day is the same hours). People at our work who do different hours on different days (e.g. wednesday and friday afternoons off) get their annual leave as hours rather than days (as they take less hours for a friday off than a Monday eg).

And remember, even if you get 27 days, you will always have that wednesday off, so you only need 4 days a week to get a weeks holiday.

BackforGood Wed 05-Mar-14 17:14:38

The notice period will be individual to your job I think.
Yes, you do get pro rata holiday, but remember you only need to use 3 days of your annual leave, to take a week off, so it doesn't really leave you with any less holiday cover, if that makes sense? (as you wouldn't be working 2 of the days anyway).

Check how it works with bank holidays though.
For me, it makes most sense to have Monday as a non working day, as there are 8 BHs, 4 of which are always on a Monday (1 is a Fri and 3 move days). You will only get 0.6 of the hours, but will need to take a full day off, so will be dipping in to your AL to make up the rest of the hours on each day, whereas if you don't work on a Monday, it feels like you are getting extra. Different employers treat BHs differently though, so it's another question to ask HR, and possibly the University closes for a week or more for some of them anyway.

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