As a mother who also works outside of the home, as well as being self employed, life is busy and I am aware that if we are fortunate enough to have another baby, that things have changed with parental leave. When I had my first child, nine years ago, I was working for the NHS, and was able to take a year’s leave, with statutory maternity pay. I went back to work when Emily was ten months old (I had to stop work earlier than planned in my pregnancy, due to health issues, so had to return before she was one years old, which had been my original plan) My husband took the standard two weeks “paternity leave”, and an extra week of annual leave, to be home with me for three weeks, then went back to work.
It’s all changed since then, and things are very different. I took some time off after Matthew was born, returning to being employed, almost 3 years ago, and I have been doing a bit of research into what we would be entitled as working parents. Working out what leave I can take, what leave my husband can take and how it would work out for us and if we would divide up what we are entitled to, or if I will take a year off, like I did before. Going back to work as a parent has it’s challenges, and things can change, so it’s a good idea to be organised and have a plan in mind, and know your rights and what you can ask your employer for.
It’s very interesting when you look at what employment practices around the world are. I had no idea that in the UK for example, there is no set limit for sick days, or that employees in Sweden get much more annual leave than we do here. In the UK we do get a year of shared parental leave, and we have the right to flexible working hours, after we have been employed for a certain number of months, this is very useful information.
It’s definitely good to know what laws and entitlements are in your country, and it does make you realize that whilst our system here isn’t perfect, as a working adult, I do have rights and allowances to help me. I think it’s something anyone who is employed or self employed should be aware of.