I worked for the same company (with a small break) for a total of 9 years. Within that time I had taken 2 maternity leave posts. The business was predominantly staffed by women in their late 20s / early 30s and there was always at least 1 person on maternity leave.
I was granted part time work on my return after pregnancy one – I fell pregnant almost immediately and went back on ML 6 months later.
On return from my second ML (they CLEARLY thought I wasn’t coming back!) I was told that I could stagger my return to work over the coming year and that if i started back at 3 days for the first 6 months it would be re-evaluated and moved to 4, maybe 5 (if suitable for me and the employer at that time).
6 weeks before the 6 months was up, my line manager (who I had hired 5 years earlier to work under me…she chose not to have kids so had progressed up the ladder!) told me I had to come back to work full time or leave. No negotiations, flexible working was not on the table and i had while she was on holiday to make my decision.
I told them that If I came back full time that childcare would cost more than my pay – I would basically be losing money..! My Mother was unable to have the kids as she was caring for my brother who has cancer and my husband has his own business..so he isn’t entitled to nursery vouchers or similar.
They said they would have a think – next thing a letter confirming my resignation in the post!
I was the first woman out of 6 NOT to be offered full time or flexible working.