My story is slightly different from the others I have read here.
I planned to come back to work 9 months after mat leave and use my annual leave to allow me to do a phased return. I had requested to come back 3 days per week for 4 months and following that – back to work 4 days permanently. Now, I understand that my employer is within its rights to deny my request however, there was no valid reason for this. I met up with my bosses. Here are just some of the things that were said (very patronisingly)
– There’s no such thing as a work life balance
– You either choose to be a Manager and work hard or if you’d prefer to work less, you should think of a less important role. I was told I needed to make my mind up. (As if I was being given a choice to be a good Manager or a good mummy – I couldn’t possibly do both) I made it quite clear at this point what and who my priority was. My baby!!
– You don’t find managers working 3 days a week – it just doesn’t work (as if I’d been asking for a permanent contractual change to 3 days a week – I was asking for a temporary change to 3 days) And to top it all off there was and is a more senior manager in our company (different department) working 3 days per week after returning from mat leave PERMANENTLY)
I was shocked that this came from my boss, a mother herself but with very different priorities and views. In the end I was forced to use my annual leave up in one go (meaning I returned to work after 11 months off) which suited them as my maternity cover would still be there. After that I returned 4 days a week (full time hours) on a permanent basis.