Weighing up whether to return to work after maternity leave
Back to work after having a baby: the pros v the cons
Ok, so you’ve spent the first few months wrapped up in a cocoon getting to grips with parenthood. The months have flown by and the statutory maternity has come to an end - now it’s time to go back to the ‘real world’ of work. But now that baby is here, is it what you want to do?
Only you can decide if going back to work after maternity leave is the right move. You will need to weigh up all the pros and cons - and there are many!
You may be financially secure enough to be able to make a choice. Your partner’s salary may be sufficient for you to stay at home and enjoy the early years without having to work outside the home - and maybe you hated the job anyway!
But many of us don’t have the luxury of choice. First and foremost is the financial element. If you have childcare costs, then you need to work out your figures. Is it worth your while going back to work if your salary barely covers the cost of the creche or childminder?
You may want to look at other options for childcare. Is there a relative who could help one of the days, or maybe you could look into a nanny share.
Having said that, you may want to think of the bigger picture and keep working to avoid having a long break in your career - even if you are left with very little on pay day in the early years. After all, the childcare fees won’t be forever.
Going back to work isn’t just about the money. You may have spent years building up your career and decide that you’re not ready to give it up all it to be a stay-at-home parent. You may yearn for the adult company and the lunch breaks. There are not too many breaks for stay-at-home mums.
When you do return to work, there is help available to families in the form of tax credits and benefits. Or you can your partner can now share the 52 weeks leave. It may make more sense for your partner to go part-time or take time off if you are the higher paid. If you opt for this, your partner may be able to take your remaining maternity leave as Shared Parental Leave. Your partner may also be eligible for statutory parental pay, paid at the same rate as paternity pay.
Going back to work is a challenge. Everyone is different and only you can decide if it’s the right decision to make. Once baby comes along, everything changes and the career or job that you cherished may not mean the same.
But while situations change, it can still be rewarding to head back to the workplace. And remember those lunch breaks.