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Thread: Opinions please - how to approach boss re: full time to part time work after baby?

  1. #1

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    Default Opinions please - how to approach boss re: full time to part time work after baby?

    My manager just had her baby in December, is on 12 months leave but rang the other day and we were discussing the fact that she was thinking about returning early (financial reasons for her of course, like most people) which lead me to start thinking more seriously about what I am going to do and the length of maternity leave I am going to take.

    I work full time in the fitness industry. I have already decided on the date that I will be finishing work - I will be finishing when I am 32 weeks mainly because its the end of the financial year then; didnt see the point of starting another year and the fact that the nature of my job at that stage there wont be alot I can do anyway.

    I am really undecided on whether to take the full 12 months off or just take 6 months. I have decided I want to be off work until the baby is at least 6 months old that way it is a good age for my parents to look after as they have already offered to mind the baby should I return to work then so there is no problem with the child's care whilst I am at work.

    The only problem I have is that I do not have any intention on going back to work full time. Ideally, if it can be done, I only want to work 2-3 days per week. How would I go about discussing this with my manager? Should I make him aware that I only want to come back part-time before I leave or should I just NOT mention it at all to cover my own back?

    I am thinking that I would need to wait for a part time position to come up - which may not even happen. I would seriously doubt they would 'create' a PT position just so I could go back... I guess thats something I need to ask... shall I dare ask though or just leave it? I suppose if I couldnt get a PT position back in the gym I could look at other departments but yeah that would be a last resort!
    I love the gym environment too much!

    Your thoughts/opinions/scenarios would be greatly appreciated. I have no idea on how I am going to go about this yet


  2. #2

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    It would prolly be better to sound out your manager's thoughts if she's in the "same boat" so to speak before you go to your boss. One option may be to find another person who'd like to "job share" with you, and give your boss a "solution" not a problem.

    Instead of saying that you just want to return part-time, do a little research and give a solution like ... "I notice that its really busy at x, y & z times - I'd like to return to work full-time as soon as practible, but that won't be for a while as my body recovers. How about I just return during these busy hours, and after 3 months possibly return to full-time if you find that's not working for the business?" It's more likely to be approved that way and shows you have business insight etc.

    Good luck!

  3. #3

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    Hi Sascha,

    It is a tricky one.. Before I went on maternity leave, the assistant manager of my company made it clear that it would be full time or nothing for me.. I respected that, however due to some changes at DH work, I have had to go to work part time, DD is just 4 months now. I didn't even approach my work to ask if I could come back part time, just advised that I was going to apply for some pt/cas work in another industry and that I would like to use them as a reference.. Less than 3 hrs later, I was offered my job back part time. A case of they realised that I was willing to look elsewhere and I might enjoy it and not come back..

    Before having DD, I was in 2 minds as to whether after a year if I would return full time. Since having DD and working P/T now, my decision has been made, just need to inform work.. I however have the advantage that I am not fussed whether they allow me to stay on or not. I will easily find something else if they let me go, as I am not fussed what I do, as long as I can spend time with my family.. I don't want to come home to bath, feed and put DD to bed (that is what I am doing on the days I work at moment), it isn't fair on either of us. My famikly comes 1st, work just helps to give us some luxeries..

    With your boss in a similar position (i.e on maternity leave), you may have a sympathetic view and they may work with you. I too would love to keep working where I am, but I understand their position. They will either accept it or they won't..

    However I wouldn't mention that you have no intention of returning full time.. You don't know what is around the corner. 6 months ago, the figures said I didn't even need to return part time. If you feel that you need to be upfront, tell them that you are undecided. No one can really expect you to make a decision on how you will feel post baby especially if this is your first. We all have our visions, and for some they are very close to what happens, for others they are dreams.. If they really want to keep you, they will come up with something for you, if not they are probably not going to be flexible with your needs as a working Mum which will cause undue stress..

    Good luck, and let us know your decision.. Will let you know when I have plucked up the courage to tell my work my decision.

  4. #4

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    Hi Sasha, I am about to return to work from maternity leave, and I;m returning part time. I made sure my boss knew of my intention to return part time, before I went on maternity leave, and then I went and told all of my colleagues that I was coming back part time (even though it wasnt confirmed yet).

    I personally think its fairer to just ask. The worst they can do is say no.

    I'll tell you my story. I spoke with my boss at around 12 weeks pregnant to tell him about my pregnancy. HE actually said "oh thats great! are you coming back after maternity leave?" I said yes. He said "well we should be able to work out part time work for you here. Its not hard to do".

    Had he not suggested it, I would have said something along the lines of "I really like my job, and I'd love to come back after my baby is born. I''m hoping to have about 9 months off before returning part time. Whats the possibility of part time work?" Try to get something in writing if they agree to part time work for you. That way you have something to back yourself up if they change their mind.

    I wouldnt say "i dont plan on coming back full time". Try to word it differently, so it sounds like you might come back full time but would prefer part time. You have the RIGHT to ASK for part time work, and your employer must CONSIDER any reasonable request from you, but they CAN say no if it just wont work out well for the compnay (eg, they will lose lots of money/customers having you on only p/t)

    Good luck!

  5. #5

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    I totally agree with Kazbah. It's much easier to get what you want IF you do the thinking for them and find a solution yourself. Otherwise, it's just another problem for your workplace to solve.

    As for when to tell them - well I guess it doesn't make that much difference does it unless they're a really dodgy workplace and would try making your position redundant if you only wanted to come back part-time.

    You could do a bit of fence-sitting and say you honestly don't know when you will want to come back - sometime after six months and there's a chance you would prefer to come back part-time rather than full-time. And if you came back part-time, maybe it could work if you did x, y and z (ie. the solution you come up with).

    I think a lot of these things you have to play by ear. Personally, if you have a good workplace then I would try to maintain a really good, honest relationship and be as truthful as possible. If they're a bit dodgy then you need to do whatever you can to get what you want and that may mean being a bit less honest and forthcoming about your plans.

  6. #6

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    Thankyou everyone for your replies. The company I work for is definitely not dodgy ..... lets just say it would never go broke hehe

    I have decided that I am definitely going to stay off work until the baby is at least 6 months old (we can afford to comfortably do that) but as heather said situations change and I realise I do need to be flexible so am going to keep my options open. Worse case scenario I am unable to drop to part-time I will just have to look for something else - there are another couple of gyms here that I know need casual weekend staff but I would really like to stay where I am but yeah if it's not possible then there's not alot I can do, family will definitely come first before anything else!

    I have already mentioned to my manager that I intend to finish on the 19th June and he has made a 'mental' note but said 'we'll talk about it closer to the time'. Being in a full time position is there a written 'agreement' as such that I have to sign.... I wouldnt have a clue how it works. I would prefer to get this over and done with sooner rather than later if I can so I know where I stand.

  7. #7

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    Well girls yesterday I asked about how I go about organising my maternity leave and it is really quite straight forward. Went to HR and the chick told me I just need to give them a letter from my doc or OB stating that I am pregnant and the date I am due to have the baby then all I need to do is give notice of the date I wish to leave work and also sign a stat decluration stating how weeks I will be off work for to care for bubs. I guess this stuff would probably be pretty standard across all work scenarios?

    And I found out some good news - the company pays us 6 weeks PAID leave. It may not seem like much but I hadnt even thought that I would be entitled to anything! Wasn't expecting it so it is certainly going to help. Along with the fact that I can get them to pay me the annual leave that is owing to me too so I am very happy!

    I start one week of annual leave this coming thursday so when I go back I am going to get all those forms organised just so it is out of the way. Am not too worried about the situation now, I know that if I cant go back part-time there is another couple of gyms I can try that are closer to home so would work out better

  8. #8

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    Sasha, yeah I think mine was pretty simple to apply for too. I just got a letter from my midwife confirming my pregnancy & due date, and then wrote a letter myself to say I want to take maternity leave starting on XXX date and returning to work on XXX date. Sent both letters to HR and thats all.

    I had to give 10 weeks notive of the fact that I wanted to take leave, but didnt need to give them the exact dates until 4 weeks before I started leave.

    How cool that you get 6 weeks paid! I didnt get anything like that, so I asked to have my annual leave paid to me.

    Is your DH taking any time off? I think dads are usually entitled to paternity leave (1 week when bub is born) but he might need to apply for it.

  9. #9

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    Karina - yeah my DH is taking a couple of weeks off. I am due the 14th August so he has put in for two weeks leave starting the 10th August. He gets one week paid and one week unpaid as the 'parental' leave apparently. I am sure his work will be leniant with the dates if I do go into labour early.

    Same thing I have to give 10 weeks notice as well hence why I am getting the ball rolling now (my very last day I will be exactly 32 weeks). I am taking one week annual leave starting this coming Thursday (20th - my scan date...yippeee!) will organise the letter through my OB who I see on the 28th and while I am off I will go and get the stat dec witnessed by a JP and then everything will be sorted, yay!

    Not worrying too much about the whole full time to part time thing now, will deal with that this time next year. If it is meant to be, it will all work out!

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