Full time permanent employment can become complicated, unsustainable or completely unviable once you have started a family. Whilst many employers now offer flexi-time arrangements for employees, your chosen career path may not support this. Working from home may also not be an option for certain industries.
There is also the cost of childcare to be considered, what hours this childcare is available, who will take care of your child if they are ill, school holiday arrangements etc.
So what are the options aside from full-time permanent employment?
Clearly the first option might be to find part time work and/or a job share. Part time employment is defined as working fewer hours than a full time worker. The main advantage to mums of working part time is that you then have more time for childcare and consequently lower or even zero childcare costs depending on your family arrangements and working hours. Part time workers now enjoy the same employment rights as full time workers i.e. holiday and sick pay. Working part time may also allow you to continue along your chosen career path, although possibly at a slower rate. If a job share is open to you then this may be an even better option than a purely part time position as it may enable you to sustain your previous level of responsibility or seniority whilst allowing you to work part time.
Going freelance can be an excellent way of working part time or even full time from home. From book keeping to beauty treatments to writing, there are lots of opportunities to become self-employed and work from home. You may even be able to do your previous job from home on a self-employed basis if your employers are open to this. Freelancers can generally choose their own working hours, as long as the work gets done in time. Again this may result in a big saving in childcare costs. Freelancing and working from home also allows you the opportunity to become your own boss, choose your own clients and massively reduce your commute.
If you have strong skills but don’t want the long term commitment of permanent employment then becoming a contractor might be a great way to earn serious money. As a contractor you work for one customer, generally full-time on one project for a set period of time. There are two ways to do this: you set yourself up as a limited company (i.e. as a small business), or you become an employee of an umbrella company. Contracting can work well for mums who have transferrable skills (e.g. IT, HR, marketing etc) and like the idea of working for a set period of time. Also, rates for contractors are currently at their highest since 2007, outstripping the permanent job market, so now is a great time to consider contracting.
Contracting can enable you the flexibility to work to around family life
Readjusting and reformulating your career after motherhood can seem daunting but there are lots of options available. The real skill is finding the opportunity that suits you and your new family best…
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In collaboration with Green Lantern