• News
  • 11th February 2021

Childcare and working from home


When I started maternity leave with my second baby a little over a year ago, like the rest of the world I was blissfully ignorant of the events that would propel life a million miles away from what we knew it to be. Much like with my first baby, I knew I wanted to return to work at the end of my maternity leave, there was no doubt in my mind.

Shortly after my baby was born the country entered the first national lockdown. I was still enjoying the “baby bubble” and aside from the cancelled baby classes that I never really felt were “me” but gave me the routine I have always craved, I was fortunate enough to, at times, enjoy the first lockdown, avoiding the work life battles the majority have, and indeed continue to face during a third national lockdown.

As my baby achieved each milestone and the pandemic raged on, I was ever mindful that it was not going to end anytime soon, but my maternity leave would. Maternity leave meant childcare had never been an issue as schools and nurseries closed but this was about to end and with the latest announcement that schools would remain closed after Christmas I was in a blind panic.

The day of my virtual return to work meeting arrived. Before the meeting I had resigned myself to the belief that I would have to resign. After almost 4 years of studying and training to become CILEx qualified I was facing the prospect of having to give up, or at the very least derail, my career because of the pandemic. Whilst notoriously family friendly I was convinced even BG would be unable to accommodate the flexibility I needed to even try and make this work. What I needed was well beyond the “reasonableness” the law requires. I have a 1- and 5-year-old who needed home schooling and constant attention (and snacks) who already filled my days and I could not see how I could fit my normal work into the equation.

For the first time in my life, I was happy to have been wrong! When I explained my difficulties BG could not have been more helpful. Instead of telling me their requirements and expectations of me, they allowed me to tell them what I needed to get me back to work granting me flexibility in my working hours, modifying my workload to reduce the stress of the juggle and most importantly allowing me to work entirely from home.

Whilst it has overwhelming health implications, the pandemic is not limited to health issues. It is a deep shock to our societies and economics with women seemingly bearing the burden of childcare and home schooling inevitably leading to a loss of livelihood and long career breaks which can be difficult to recover from. Without the flexibility and understanding of BG I too would have found myself included in this unfortunate statistic.

I, like many many others, face an uphill struggle in finding an equilibrium of the work and home life balance and whilst this often feels a difficult task, without the support and flexibility of BG it would be an entirely impossible task. We are grateful to be here to offer the support you need and continue to hope for better days.

Katie Rees

Katie Rees, Employment Law Specialist