Talk to me about maternity leave...

I am the only person in my role, the only person at my level. I have a strong working relationship with my team. I took a demotion in title and left my previous job 3 months ago to take this role. To work nearer to home and have a better work/life balance. With a view to my boss going part-time and eventually coming out of the business completely and my stepping up in to his role over 1-2 years.

The business is in a difficult time and has become more stable since I've been here, which is great.

I have never been in this position (baby + career) and am really nervous about taking time out. I had a regular job and no direct reports when I was off to have my son. This is very different. My career is hugely important to me. Or has been. Really is a big part of my life. I already worry about maternity cover. Having someone else do my job. Breaking up the team and losing momentum. We have a gameplan and in a one-to-one today I was talking about budgets and quarterly forecasts and realising I probably won't be around for the first re-forecast of next year and it really made me stop in my tracks.

(In case it's relevant, just to clarify, financially we can't manage if I give up work or reduce my hours by more than one day a week so I would be looking to return to work fairly quickly. My husband MAY be able to drop a day a week - we could manage that okay and it would really help at home.)

I'm really interested to know how others have found maternity leave, how long they were off for, expected/unexpected issues. Anything at all really would be appreciated! I think I would struggle emotionally with being 'replaced' and being out of the loop when I've worked hard to get things the way they are :)


  • Well, as i am due in february this is something i am thinknig about to, at the moment there i am a team of two, i  started my team and was meant to be made (head of) but thats gone out the window since getting pregnant

    we are currently advertising for another person to join my team as i need to train them up before i leave, but my issues are as follow's

    when i return from Mat leave i dont think there will be room for me as at the moment we are managing ok with a team of two! i also want to come back 3 or 4 days a week but not sure if that will be possible in my role!

    also by the time i get back the person who is here working with me will have more of a right to a promotion, so leaves me in a pickle! i really cannot afford to give up work as we just could not afford it!

    also my company give 20 weeks half pay but only on the basis that once you return you have to stay at the company for a year or have to pay it all back, and i dont know how that leaves me as i dont think my job will be open

    not really sure what i am going to do!

  • I work for the nhs. I'm a band 6 community Dietitian. It was really straightforward for me to go on mat leave. Met with my team leader and manager when I got my mat1b form and gave all my dates for leaving etc.

    8weeks before I was due back I had to give my expected return date and made my request to go from full time to 3days a week. It was accepted and I returned to my previkus role but with some bits obvsiouly taken from my role.

    This time might be different as I want to lose another day. But we'll cross that bridge next year.

    Hopefully someone else who works similar to you can help more.

  • I took 11 weeks off on maternity with my first and just 9 weeks off with my second. I work for a large international company and are based from home, I had and still have my mom come every day to help look after the boys. It worked out great for me as it meant I was still working at home but had the benefit of being with my boys too. Is there opportunity for you to work from home with the odd day in the office?

  • I'm an operations manager for an insurance company.  When I went on maternity leave last time I had one report and we were looking to get another the following year.  My assistant, although young, was very good and stepped up to the mark really well.  I was nervous about going back as she'd done the job longer without me than she had with me.  However, as it worked out she left to go traveling a month after I returned so we never had to deal that issue.  During the year I was off we did recruit someone else, I did KIT days to do the interviews.  I returned 3 days a week and on the whole it's worked out really well.

    This time my assistant isn't up to taking over, and it is a bigger job now, so we've had to employ someone else.  I was amazed how quickly we found someone who was prepared to do it on a fixed term contract (15 months, I intend to take the full year off again).  She's good though, and obviously wants it to be a full time position so I am very nervous about what will happen when I go back.  If she's been doing my job full time for so long and does a good job they aren't going to want to see her go - my boss and CEO have told me as much, although they dressed it up in a 'where could we use her' way rather than me being pushed out - but there's not much I can do about it.  My career is important to me, and I didn't realise quite how much until I went back after maternity leave, but at the same time I only plan on having 2 children so this is my last chance to have a year off.  I'll have to deal with the consequences when I go back.  My firm have a mixed reputation on dealing with this kind of thing so it could get interesting.

    How long are you planning on taking off?  If 6 months or less they technically HAVE to offer you the same role, however, as you know, it's more about your career progression and opportunities than what you necessarily return to.  I think at <6m it's less time for a replacement to get their feet under the table though.  

  • I can't decide between 9 months and a year. My company will top up the 3 months 50%  pay I would get,  back to full pay if I go back within 9 months, which is a great incentive. If I go back after 12 I'd get 3 months smp and 3 months zero pay (first 3 full pay, next 3 50%). Makes quite a difference.

  • Time off? I think we may be able to stretch to 2-3 months, not really sure. We hope to try for another after so I'd rather keep it brief now and keep the job thing ticking over as well as possible and take more time (if we can afford it) next time around. I'm so lucky to earn a good wage, but what the downside of that means is even a week's money is a serious consideration as far as the finances are concerned. When I worked part-time in a supermarket I didn't care about the money  :D

  • yoyo

    I took 11 weeks off on maternity with my first and just 9 weeks off with my second. I work for a large international company and are based from home, I had and still have my mom come every day to help look after the boys. It worked out great for me as it meant I was still working at home but had the benefit of being with my boys too. Is there opportunity for you to work from home with the odd day in the office?

    I think that's great if you can do it, nice one! But I can't see it working for me. I changed my job so I only work 10 minutes from home so if I can't be at work it must be because I'm looking after the baby at the same time as working, so if I'm doing that I'm not working, IYSWIM.

    At a previous place quite a lot of us worked 1 or 2 days a week at home so it wouldn't have stood out so much. I'm the only woman at my level in the company so it wouldn't go down well at all really.

  • Daisy, yours sounds really straightforward and worked out well :)

  • BG - I get what you mean about not knowing how it will pan out with your stand-in. I would find that so uncomfortable. I am so attached to my career, it's a part of what defines me. I bombed at school and did all my training myself in my own time and am proud of where I've got to and if I'm honest I struggle with the fact that I've fought so hard and that having a baby could really damage things for me. It shouldn't have to be a choice, but it kind of is.

  • It did. My department is all young females so they deal with mat leave all the time. There are some few perks to working for the nhs x

  • If you're only taking 3-4 months off I don't think you'll struggle career wise, as I said it's not long enough for someone else to jump in to your grave.

    My friend did similar, went back at 3 months (think she was off for 4 months in total but baby was 2 weeks late) as she agreed to when she got a promotion whilst pg, her H works from him running him own company and did the childcare for the 4 days a week she works (albeit one of them is a Saturday) and it's worked out really well for them, she got into the swing of it really quickly and, like you, she's only 10 minutes away so popped back at lunchtimes.

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