Career Choices for Parents Coming Out of Paternity Leave
Let’s be honest, having children is a big deal for Mum and Dad.
Your life ran along simple, organised lines with a schedule, a career and plenty of sleep. In the space of a few months, this tiny bundle turns your world upside down. You flounder for a time, learning how to feed and change him or her, and learn to survive on minimal sleep.
Somewhere in this heady mix is your career. Paternity leave can be the time you need to re-evaluate your carer plan, and make changes.
What is Paternity Leave?
In the UK, women can take up to 12 months’ maternity leave when they have a baby or adopt. Dads can take two weeks’ paternity leave or there is also the possibility of Shared Paternal Leave or SPL.
This is where the first 12 months of having a baby or adopting a child is shared between Mum and Dad. This gives both parents time to bond with their baby before leaping back into work.
How you take this time, or if you take it at all, is entirely dependent on you. Most employers support SPL and maternity leave support is mandatory. This doesn’t mean it is not without its problems.
Some parents can feel isolated when not at work. Other parents don’t get the chance to disconnect from work because their colleagues assume they are still working, just from home.
The Career Options
But paternity leave is a chance to take stock of what you have done so far and the direction you would like your future career to take, after all you have a family to consider now.
So, what are the options?
Once paternity leave is over, you can step right back into your role as you left it weeks or months earlier.
Your rights are protected and that means returning to the same post, and not be side-lined to another. You can also accrue your holidays as you would if you had been physically working in the office and you can also take advantage of any pay rise during this time too.
For many new parents, returning to the comfort of their previous position is welcome after so many changes in their personal life.
Some parents request changes to their hours, making it easier to accommodate their new family. It may be that both parents decide to reduce their hours, by either opting for part time or job sharing their position.
However, it is important to note that an employer is not under any legal obligation to reduce your hours or agree to job share. You may need to negotiate with your employer, pointing out the benefits of the situation to the business, to them and to you.
Flexi Working Patterns
All employees have a legal right to ask their employer about a flexi-working pattern, not just carers or parents with children.
However, now that you have a family, you may find that the 9 to 5 is simply not fitting with the school run, after school care, nursery or childcare arrangements.
An employer needs to consider your request for flexi-working hours in a ‘reasonable manner’ and if they refuse, they need to give a solid business reasons as to why they cannot accommodate it. If you feel the decision is unfair, you can ask a tribunal to look at your case.
A change of direction
Paternity leave can be the chance you need to realign your work compass. This could mean one of two things:
- A complete change of direction
- Upskilling so that you can move ahead in your current role
A completely new career path is an exciting prospect for many. Invigorated with the arrival of your new bundle of joy, you may have come to realise that a new career direction is needed.
Or, in your current role, in order to reach out and get that promotion, you need to upskill.
Both of these career changes mean acquiring new skills and knowledge. Being at home means you can take advantage of all kinds of distance and home learning courses from reputable providers such as NCC Home Learning.
Learning at your own pace and in your own time, paternity leave can be the chance you need to take stock of your career, and make some changes. It is a chance to evaluate where you see yourself in a few years’ time and how this vision fits with your family life.
What career changes would you make?
NCC Home Learning is an online provider of a growing range of courses. Upskilling and gaining knowledge is certain areas can be the springboard your carer needs to reach the next step.