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Three tips when returning to work

Returning to work

When returning to work, considering childcare options can be a logistical minefield. And boy does it pulls on your heart strings! You want what’s right for your little one, but at a price that you can afford. At the end of the day, your choice of nursery/childcare often comes down to what feels right to you - you just get that feeling, like when you buy a new home, you just know the one you love! But childcare is more expensive than ever, making returning to work for many mums and dads a challenging.

With the family purse strings are being tightened every which way at the moment, affordability is key yet a recent study (The Coram Childcare Survey) showed the majority of nursery prices have continued to rise since 2021. Interestingly, the same study showed that overall, nursery prices are higher than childminder prices for infants (those aged two and under) For example, nursery costs in Great Britain for those aged under two were £138.70 a week and 12 per cent more costly than the equivalent costs for a childminder £124.41.

If you are a mum or dad thinking about returning to work, here are some three top tips:

  1. Make a plan about how and when you are going to return

If the organisation you are returning to is different to how it was when you left for maternity or paternity leave, you may want to make sure you know who your managers are going to be, and consider having a few pre-meetings with them or to meet anyone new or re-familiarise yourself with the business. Also, consider doing a few trial days and trial runs - from drop off of your child to starting the working day, to the pick up - work out if it’s all feasible, all doable!

Once you decide on a start day, you could get used to a new routine, and check if the childcare you’ve put in place will work well for you. To do this, you could consider asking to use your annual leave to work a shorter week for the first month, or reduce your hours on a temporary basis.

  1. Ask for flexibility.

Know your rights. Flexible working could be an option for you to consider. For example, you could work part-time, term-times only, work from home or a job share, hybrid roles, or condensed hours. In some instances, this could cut down childcare costs, and not be too detrimental to take home pay! If you are going for a new job role, consider asking work-life flexibility questions, since this will affect the way you live, your routines and you need to know the options and the boundaries clearly before accepting job roles.

  1. Be aware of your entitlement

Find out information about childcare - with the rising costs of childcare, it's important to make sure you are covered, and make sure you work childcare in a way that suits you and your family.

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