I’m not a working mum, but my mother was and I can tell you one thing from experience – it’s tough working and looking after a family at the same time.
Your time is squeezed so much that it can feel like you rarely have enough of it to pause and take a breath – my mum has four sons, so you can imagine how breathless life was for her when we were growing up.
Employers can help you and other working mums by offering a few perks that give a little extra breathing time.
I’ve focussed on three perks that every employer should offer (for their sake as well as yours) but that not all do. If you can find an employer that gives you all three then you might have struck gold.
Fuel cards that cut down on the time you spend on expenses
My mum used to spend hours driving. She drove my brothers and me to football games, to school, and our friend’s houses. It must have been a treat for her to have to do the same for work and to keep a record of all her expenses too – a treat as sweet as lemon sours.
It needn’t have been like this.
If her employers had given her a fuel card she wouldn’t have had to waste so much time keeping and then validating her expenses, giving her a little more of it to be able to squire me about town.
This is because fuel cards keep an electronic record you every diesel, petrol, and electronic refuel you make – they keep it all on an online database. This means that all your employer needs to do is check your account and they can see your expenses immediately.
Fuel cards are something that every employer (where business travel is part of a role) should offer. One of the reasons for this is that it’s so simple for them to find a low-cost fuel card – fuel genie is a good example of this. But, perhaps even more importantly, it also saves them money because it makes it easier for them to get tax rebates.
Paid maternity leave that lets you spend time with your children
I’ll be totally honest with you, I don’t know if my mum got paid maternity leave: I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never asked if she was working when I was conceived, though, I know she wasn’t when my brothers were.
So, I’ll speak about someone whose maternity status I am aware of.
One of my best friends is a teacher. As she lives and works in the UK, like me, she received the following teacher maternity leave package:
- 4 weeks of full pay
- 2 weeks at 90% of full pay
- 12 weeks of 50% pay, plus statutory maternity pay (£151.20)
- 21 weeks of statutory maternity pay (£151.20)
- 13 weeks of unpaid leave
Personally, I think that’s OK, but I’m aware that it’s exceptional in comparison to many of the packages that are offered by private sector companies – particularly those in the U.S.
Indeed, I was really quite shocked to learn that the U.S. is one of only three nations that doesn’t offer statutory maternity pay.
Now, as I said, I’m not overly impressed with the UK (especially when I discovered that Estonia gives new mums 85 weeks of full pay) but at least my friend gets to spend some time with her newborn.
Unsurprisingly, U.S. employers have cottoned on to the fact that working mums (current and aspiring) really like the idea of getting maternity pay and many are (finally) offering it.
I don’t think I need to explain to you why you should look for maternity pay when considering who to work for. But I’ll offer this regarding employers – providing some maternity benefits days dividends in terms of loyalty. Not only will they have loyalty from their employees for the duration of their leave, but they will also be grateful when they come back to work.
Flexible hours that let you work at the best times for you
My mother worked some extremely unsociable hours when I was growing up – night shifts at our local care home being one of the highlights, I’m sure… It wasn’t until she completed her degree (in her spare time) and secured a teaching job that she could afford the childcare needed for 9-5 hours.
It shouldn’t have been this way.
We’re deep into the 21st century and if coronavirus has taught has anything then it’s this: employers can give you flexible hours that work around your lives – if they don’t then it’s often because they choose not to.
If my mum’s employers had offered her flexible working hours then it would have removed the need for working at unsociable hours. This would have given her the chance (at least) of having a social life of her own – it’s why you should look for flexible hours when seeking a job.
Flexible working hours aren’t just something employers should offer because it’s decent – it makes sound business sense to do so. Let me explain. If you limit the scope of a role to set working hours then you shrink the pool of candidates. By offering flexibility, employers can hire the candidate that’s best suited to the job – not the one that’s simply available during rigid hours.
Recommended reading: Staying Healthy In Pregnancy At Home During Lockdown
I’ve given you three different perks you should look for in an employer, but they all share one thing in common – they give you more time. And isn’t that the most precious commodity as a mother? I know what my mum would say – I’m not that precious.