Why is Maternity Discrimination on the Rise?

This year, Citizens Advice have reported a 25% rise in people seeking advice on pregnancy and maternity discrimination and a shocking 77% of mothers report negative or discrimatory treatment.

As you know, I’m Momma Boss, I am very much pro working Momma and so this is a subject that I feel very strongly about and so I thought I’d write about the reasons why I believe it is on the rise and why it is such a big problem in the workplace. Read more

Sunshine Scribbles

Thank you to Tina from Sunshine Scribbles for being this weeks #WorkingMomma I had a little break from my #WorkingMommas feature, ironically because I have been working extra over the past couple of weeks!  I’m back and looking for more Mommas to take part!  You can either email me (mommaboss@outlook.com) and I’ll send a form for you to fill in or take this little survey to share your story.

 

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First, tell me about your family and why you started to blog (if you’re a blogger)?

I have had several blogs in the last 4 years. It’s been a love hate relationship mostly because it’s been difficult finding my voice and finding a “niche”. I have also had some quite difficult times in my life during the past two years and I couldn’t bring myself to talk about them over my blogs and so I felt untrue to my readers and eventually decided that I couldn’t continue with that venture. It’s more than I year later and I am back with Sunshine Scribbles. This is more of my anything goes blog. I am more comfortable with talking about things and shying away and I missed writing and documenting the memories our family makes.

If you can discuss your job, what do you do and what was your career path that led to your job?

I work in Compliance within the financial services sector and I have done for about 10 years now. If I am being honest I can’t say I enjoy it and I am currently in the middle of a career “breakdown” (for want of a better word). I don’t find my job challenging anymore and I feel static in my day to day job. Once very enthusiastic and ambitious I find myself demotivated and complacent. I am currently working part time in the lead up to the birth of my second child and I have been working hard on setting up my home business in the background ready to re-consider my career options when my maternity leave is over.

How old was your baby when you returned to work?

My son was a year old when I returned to work. I was lucky to be able to spend the first year of his life by his side. It was a precious year!

Who looks after your baby while you are at work?

My son attends nursery 2 mornings a week from 9am – 1pm and on the days that I work all day he goes to his granny’s.

What did you hate about returning to work?

Honestly, I hated everything about returning to work. I hated not being able to be at home with my son, I hated having to leave him with other people whilst I went to work and I hated feeling like I was abandoning him. It felt like I was the babysitter since I get the least amount of quality time with my son. Aside from working there are things that have to be done that quite often mean our time together isnt how I imagined it would be whilst I was pregnant. It is so tough finding a good work/life balance.

And what benefits have you seen as a result of returning to work?

This is a tough question for me to answer and even as I try to find the positives I am really not sure there are many other than the fact that we have been able to maintain our lifestyle and find that we rarely want for much in terms of going out and buying things etc. Additionally, as much as I hate to admit it, nursery has been beneficial to my son. He has been exposed to being around other people and he has developed independence. He has also learnt a lot of valuable skills like sharing which he wouldn’t be exposed to on such a regular basis being at home with me every day.

What would you say to new moms who are feeling guilty about returning to work?

Ultimately I think this depends on your own circumstances. I think if perhaps my career was heading in the right direction or if I was still the ambitious minded person I once was my return to work may have felt differently. I may have felt like I was contributing to my family in a positive way and I may have felt like I had a better work/life balance. When you like what you do I think returning to work is made that little bit easier even if returning to work and leaving your baby in day care or with a relative is hard.

You just have to make the most of what time you do have with your children and try to see a positive side to being a working mummy. It is hard but I have learnt to make certain things wait. If you turned up to my house unexpected you are likely to find a pile of washing up and crisp crumbs on the rug. These things can wait until my son is in bed “sleeping”. Playing with him, reading with him, taking him out and cuddling up to him on the sofa to watch yet another episode of Mr Tumble cannot wait. One day, these days will be over.
Finally, what do you think about my (controversial) idea… Maternity pay reflecting your working wage. So we scrap the standard £539 per month and you get paid your working wage for a year. It could be £200 it could be £1200, but it would encourage people to be secure before having children and would stop people getting paid in benefits to have children! It’s a dream world idea but it makes sense to me! 

Oh I agree with this in respect of the UK. I am tired of seeing people churning out kids and reaping the rewards. Where I live, maternity allowance is only paid if you have personally contributed towards social security (national insurance) and there is a threshold that has to be met. Its quite strict. There is no law in Gibraltar that requires your employer to pay you any type of salary whilst on leave. My employer generously gives me 3 months full pay and nil thereafter. They are also generous enough to give me a year off when the statutory minimum is 29 weeks. The maternity allowance here is paid for 18 weeks and as long as you qualify via your social insurance contributions, you can claim this in addition to any salary payments. The weekly benefit amount is £87. You are also entitled to claim a Maternity Grant of £600 which, again, is subject to your social security contributions (either your own contributions record or the baby’s father’s record). After the child is born, if the family income is less than £45,000 per year you can claim the equivalent of UK Child Benefit set at £20 per month and payable in respect of the first child only. No payments are received from subsequent children until the first child reaches the ripe old age of 16 and which point it is paid to the next child according to age.

In Gibraltar you really do have to plan in advance to have children or at least make sure that you are financially secure. As you can see, there really isn’t much available and so planning is essential to your lifestyle. Social Assistance does exist here although I couldn’t tell you exactly what is available but one thing is for sure, the Government does not make it favourable or appealing for parents to quite work and punch out kids for financial gain and a certain standard of living that means you are better off staying out of work.

 

Thanks so much Tina for taking part!  You can check out more from Tina on the following networks.

Blog – Sunshine Scribbles.

Facebook. 

Twitter.

Remember, f you would like to feature please email me -mommaboss@outlook.com or fill in this survey with your answers!  

The Adultier Adult.

This week’s #WorkingMomma is Tori who blogs at The Adultier Adult.  I’ve really liked chatting to Tori over blogging groups, we have quite a lot in common and share a lot of views on parenting.  I recommend checking out her blog.  She writes mainly funny posts but the serious ones are a good read too!

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Tell me about your family and why you started to blog:

I am a happily married mum of two under twos. I’ve been with my husband for six years and married for three. Our eldest, Jessica, came along four months after we got married and Lexi joined her sixteen months later. Having two under twos certainly keeps me on my toes but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I’ve kept a diary since I was 16 (that’s 16 years ago). My Mum keeps a diary and so did my Nan so I’m the third generation in my family. Therefore, writing is something I do quite naturally. I decided to start a blog as a hobby to keep me occupied while I’m on maternity leave. I’ve only been going a month but I’m really enjoying it.

What do you do and what was your career path that led to your job?

I worked as a Supervisor in a bookshop for years. Not wildly exciting but I enjoyed the work. The only drawback was it was 16 miles from my home town and I don’t drive so I was reliant on the buses. I didn’t mind too much until I met my husband. Then all of a sudden I had a reason to want my evenings back instead of being stuck on a bus for ninety minutes. I quit and started working locally in a care home. I HATED IT. Okay, I was local but I really disliked the management where I worked. They seemed to see the people I cared for as nothing more than walking cash points and I disagreed with that ethos. I didn’t bother going back after my maternity leave ended. My husband has a good job with the NHS and I was fortunate in that I didn’t have to work. However, I couldn’t do it. Two months in I was losing my mind. I have worked my entire life and all of a sudden it felt odd not to have a job anymore. I loved my baby and I enjoyed being with her and looking after her but I needed to feel like something more than a mum.

As luck would have it, my old workplace contacted me and told me a vacancy had come up in my local branch. I had to go through the interview process all over again and by this point I was pregnant with my second. I agonised over whether or not to tell them. I REALLY wanted to go back but who would employ a pregnant woman? In the end I told the truth. They had been good to me and I couldn’t keep it a secret from them. To my surprise they employed me anyway! I thought that was really decent of them and I was over the moon to be going back to my old job (same position but different branch).

How old was your baby when you returned to work?

Jessica was 10 and a half months when I went back to work. I only went back part time so I got the best of both worlds.

Who looks after your baby while you are at work?

I was really lucky in my work hours because most of my shifts fell on my husbands days off. He gets three days off a week (every weekend and one day in the week). He applied for something called “flexible working hours” so now he always has Mondays off. This freed me up to work Sunday and Monday. My other working day is Friday afternoons and we were able to find an amazing childminder who lives within walking distance of my work. It all came together.

What did you hate about returning to work?

I hated feeling guilty. I felt like I should have been at home with my baby. I didn’t HAVE to work, I was doing this purely for me and I felt like a horrible mother for not wanting to spend every second with my baby. I felt a bit better knowing that most of the time she would be with her Daddy and they needed bonding time just as much as me but even now I still feel guilty because I’m looking forward to going back.

What benefits have you seen about returning to work?

A big benefit was my husband getting to spend time with our daughter. He’d never actually said it but I think he thought staying at home was an easy option and all I did all day was sit on the sofa watching Jeremy Kyle. When he had Jessica alone he really found out that it’s hard work. It’s going to be interesting to see how he copes with two when I go back this time.

What would you say to new mums feeling guilty about returning to work?

You are bound to feel guilty about going back to work but you shouldn’t. You are doing what is best for your family. Working brings in an extra income which undoubtedly helps your child. It won’t hurt them to spend some time away from you and may even help their development. As long as they get plenty of Mummy cuddles when you get home.

Finally, what do you think about my (controversial) idea… Maternity pay reflecting your working wage. So we scrap the standard £539 per month and you get paid your working wage for a year. It could be £200 it could be £1200, but it would encourage people to be secure before having children and would stop people getting paid in benefits to have children! It’s a dream world idea but it makes sense to me! 
It wouldn’t work. What if you are on a zero hour contract but work 60 hours a week? The company would only have to pay you for your contracted hours so no maternity pay at all? What if you’re contracted to 10 hours but always do 15? I’m sorry but I don’t agree.

Check out more from Tori on the following networks:

Twitter.

Facebook.

Thank you so much for taking part Tori!  I’m having a break next week as I’m away for my friends wedding so #WorkingMommas will be back in two weeks!  Please email me if you’d like to take part!  A few have emailed me but not returned the form so please share your stories and let’s help new #WorkingMommas alleviate the guilt of returning to work!