I had my son in 2009. Company had been bought out during my pregnancy, and I’d just changed to a new boss in the larger company. They gave me my entitlements, but just before I went on maternity leave I discovered that my new boss was pregnant, and she consequently went on maternity leave while I was off. So I had to negotiate my return to work with her deputy, who wasn’t interested in helping me back in.
Before my pregnancy I’d started working from home some of the time, and this increased during my pregnancy, and my hours became more flexible. My boss was very happy with this. I was still committed to my job, and was busily working from home at 4 pm on my due date, when I got my first contraction.
Then in 2010 when I liaised with my boss’s deputy about returning to work, I travelled half way across the country, with my baby, to meet her and discuss it (because she worked in a different office). But it became clear at the meeting that she was not going to allow me to continue the flexible working arrangements that I had been operating successfully prior to my leave. I’d been banking on this as the way I could get back into my work, so I then felt it was impossible to go back. I negotiated with the company through a legal adviser, and the company offered me some compensation if I did not take them to tribunal. I accepted the compensation (about three months pay), because I didn’t want the stress if the tribunal at that time. But three months pay doesn’t last long, and I had no way of finding another job that would allow me the flexible working that I’d been doing.
I have been unemployed since. I’ve also had a second child in 2012, so was unable to get any maternity benefits for my second pregnancy.