Flexible working & self employment
There are plenty of options for mums returning to work
You may feel going back full time is no longer suitable and may want to consider working part-time, job sharing, term time working, or even working from home.
If you’ve been with your employer for at least 26 weeks, including maternity leave, then you can ask your employer to consider an alternative working arrangement.
You can ask for a change in your working pattern once a year and although your employer isn’t obliged to say yes, they must give you a valid business reason if they reject your request.
Some of the options you could discuss with your employer are:
- Part-time – plenty of mums feel they need more time at home with their baby, but also want to or need to work. Going part-time give you the option to do both
- Term-time working – this enables you to take time off when the schools are out. This could be handy when your kids are older. You won’t get paid for this time off
- Change of hours – a simple change such as starting early and finishing early may suit you
- Job sharing – some employers are open to this and it could be a perfect solution for two mums in the same company
- Working from home – depending on your job type, this could be an option. You could maybe ask for one or two days of working from home
This tool from the government’s Gov.uk site is useful to help you put a case to your employer and help you weigh up your options.
Also, take a look at the Women Like Us site, which not only advertises part time jobs and provides resources for women to help them fit work around family life.
For whatever reason, you may decide that you want to go self employed and work for yourself. A lot of mums are now doing this as it gives them control over when they work and they can be fully flexible with childcare. If you are considering self-employment, then there are simple steps you can take. The easiest way to do this is by setting up as what’s known as a sole trader.
You work by yourself, the profits are all yours, keeping records is straightforward and there are no registration fees -but you are responsible for all business losses.
To set up, you must let HM Revenue & Customs know as soon as possible. You can do that here.
Alternatively, you may decide to set yourself up as limited company. You may decide to do this if you have more than one person involved in your business and if you expect a high profit margin.
You can read more about setting up a limited company here.
Being your own boss has obvious perks, but you should note that you will have to fund your own benefits, such as pensions and time off sick.
So you should prepare yourself for additional funding to cover such things.
It is also wise to make sure you put away a fair amount to cover your end of year tax return – people often forget about this and spend all their money but then find they do not have enough money to pay the tax man – don’t be stung with a high tax bill!