Returning to Work for Parents

Having a baby or starting a family can make all sorts of changes to a family's life. However, for mothers and fathers, returning to work after paternity leave is far, far more common than it was a couple of decades ago. Apart from needing the financial support a job provides, many parents find that they need the social interaction of adults on a daily basis. There is of course the matter of career progression and many parents return to work after paternity leave to continue with their chosen career.

Of course, a selection of parents still opt to tak a career break or not to return to a job outside the home until their brood is reared.

Know your rights

Under the Maternity Protection Act, on their return to work after maternity leave, women are supposed to be treated as if they had been in work over those 26 or 42 weeks.

Both parents are also entitled to 14 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child up to 8 years old. If you have more than 1 child this is usually limited to 14 weeks being taken over 12 months. Normally the 14 weeks is broken down into 1 or 2 blocks of time, but some employers allow staff to break it down into days or even hours.

Flexible workplaces

Flexible working options are very dependent on your career area but over the last decade employers have become less rigid.

Flexible working is worth enquiring about, as especially in a difficult economic environment it might just suit your employer to offer flexible options that result in a lower payroll.

Common flexible working options include: starting late or finishing early in order to do the school run, working 3 or 4 rather than 5 days a week, job sharing and 'term time' extended leave from work to coincide with school holidays.

If your current employer is not flexible it could be worthwhile looking for another job that has more flexibility or a company that has family-friendly policies.

Click here to find out about being aware of your transferable skills and brushing up on skills to help you find a new role. Read more about finding new ways of working here.

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