Forced into ‘dead end jobs’ so that I can be there for my children

When I was on maternity leave from my role at a bank, I tried to put in a flexible working request with my employer. Full time employees usually worked 1 week of 8-4 shifts, 1 week of 12-8.30 and another of a few mixed shifts and 1 Saturday. You wouldn’t find out your shift until the week before when on a mixed shift.

I followed my work place procedure and gave plenty of notice for my flexible working request, which was to work 8-4 shifts and the other two slightly later, including the Saturday shift you would need to do once a month. I requested set hours, not different shifts each week, as I needed to arrange childcare. I had to chase many times to find out if my application had been successful and was told verbally to change my hours to being available to work until 8.30pm. I had previously explained I didn’t have childcare available at that time and that my partner worked night shifts, so requested to work hours that child care facilities were open. After my verbal conversation, I arranged for family members to help with the baby until 8.30pm so I could please the bosses and show I was willing to work evenings too, I requested 1 8-4 shift 1 12.30-8.30 and 1 10-6 shift a week on set days. Over 3 months later on my babies first birthday I had to call to chase my work place HR to see if I was returning to work, as I had heard nothing from them and they had gone over their three month time period that they were supposed to give answer my request, within. Eventually I received a letter declining my request, so I was forced to hand my notice in as even with me changing my flexibility to suit what they had verbally requested I still was unsuccessful. I’ve not worked for bank since or in a large corporate environment and feel I’ve neglected my own career path in fear that I can’t be the mother who can pick her children up from school. I have always worked luckily but in what some would call ‘dead end jobs’ so I can be there for my children and drop off and pick ups.


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