When my maternity leave came to an end, I went back to work full time. Within that first week back at work I knew that I wasn’t ready to be back in full time employment, and I began to consider the options available to me.
Within those first few weeks I had put myself forward for flexible working, I wanted to reduce my 5 day week down to a 3 day week. I felt that by the time I had finished work I had missed out on an entire day with my little boy. I felt that he was growing up and I was missing out on those crucial milestones. I was missing breakfast with him as he was still in bed, I was getting home in the evening and seeing him for a short time before he again went to bed. It didn’t seem right that I should be at work more than I was at home caring for Leo.
I put the ball in motion and my first point of call was HR, from there I was advised as to what I would need to do in order to request a change to my contract. I was nervous at the thought of making such a big change but I knew that in order for me to find that right balance between work and play, this was something that I needed to do.
I knew that the company had to seriously consider my request, and that unless there was a vital reason that would affect the way the business functioned, I would most likely be granted my flexible working hours. The decision ultimately had to come from the Operations Director, and I was called into a meeting to discuss my request. He took a few weeks to make his decision and I was then given the good news. My request had been accepted.
Since 2003 parents have been allowed to request flexible working from their employers on the basis that certain conditions are met. In 2007 this was then extended to anyone with caring duties (as defined by the Department for Business, innovation and Skills), and now as of the 30th of June, this right will be available to all employees.
While employers are under no obligation to grant each and every request they may receive, it is reassuring to know that the option is there for people who may need it. As in my personal experience, the company will take time to consider the request and see how this change may impact the business. Sometimes the changes being requested would have a negative impact on the company, and of course this is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
You can find out more information on the new flexible working at Peninsula.
2 years later I am still with the same company, and working my 3 day week. I was so pleased with the work to play ratio that I now have and feel like I get the best of both worlds.
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