Advice & Support

Getting my career off the ground: ask the expert

Getting my career off the ground: ask the expert

I am 20 years old.  I am a single mother.  My daughter is now 13 months old and I have been trying for about 2 months now to find some part-time work, but am having little luck. I would describe my career as being at entry level I have between 1 to 2 years experience; I worked as a customer advisor in retail for a just over a year upon leaving school and then I later took a voluntary position doing admin duties for a charity. This role lasted about 6 months before I left to have my daughter. I've applied for lots of jobs and if I ever get a follow up from my application I can never seem to get past the interview stage. This started to take its toll a bit and so I've decided to resume to the voluntary work I had done before I had my baby. However, I would still like to be bringing in a little extra income so I'm carrying on the job search. I'm now starting to wonder if work from home is an option and I have childcare back-up, but as my career isn't greatly established is this really an option for me?  And if so, what sort of work should I be looking for and where do I look and what should I expect? And if not what are my options?  I'm starting to feel as if I'm running out.

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Role given to maternity cover. Is this right? Ask the expert

Role given to maternity cover. Is this right? Ask the expert

I am coming to the end of my maternity leave and put in a request to my employer for flexible working. It was nothing out of the ordinary - 4 days a week (instead of 5) and I stated that I must leave on time every evening (5pm) to be able to get to nursery on time. My request was declined by my employer because they felt that given the seniority of the role, it could not be done in 4 days and they would require me to work late on a lot of occasions. Although disappointed, I had no choice to accept this and resign. The job was then immediately given to my maternity cover, who works far away from the office and leaves every day at 5pm, which slightly conflicts with one of the reasons they gave me. My main question is - are they entitled to immediately 'give' the role to the maternity cover without advertising it (internally or externally)? I know of other people who wanted to go for the role, but were not given the option?

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Flexible working turned down: ask the expert

Flexible working turned down: ask the expert

I have been working for my company for over 6 years now and I was on maternity leave from June 2013-June 2014. When I did my back to work meeting with my line manager I told him that I would have to go back to university in October which he made not of. I went on to tell him that once I knew my timetable for university I would let the company know. I began work middle June 2014 and on last week July to first week August 2014 I was ill and was diagnosed with having vertigo, something I had never heard of before. I was advised by my doctor to take 2 weeks off in which she write me a sick note. I was told that I would not be paid sick pay even though I had carried out the necessary steps when calling in sick according to the company handbook. I was then told by my line manager that the branch I worked it no longer paid sick pay, that all they do pay is SSP, which I am not entitled to as my earnings for the week are not enough to receive SSP. I reminded them about my university course and filled out relevant documentation for flexible working, but they said they didn't receove it. I refiled it and they said it would take 28 days. I was extremely upset. I was then told I could only have shifts that do not work with childcare. I was advised to move branch or find a nanny to look after my daughter until 10pm or to reduce my hours to eight which I cannot financially afford. What can I do?

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Flexible working turned down due to restructure: ask the expert

Flexible working turned down due to restructure: ask the expert

I have just returned from maternity leave and my employer has rejected my flexible working application due to planned structural changes, stating that they are unable to agree any form of flexible working at this time due to the restructure. The restructure is currently very high level with new Directors being appointed and then other changes will filter down.  A major part of my role is to produce reports and while they are unable to tell me at the moment where my role will sit in the restructure it is imperative that these reports continue to be produced so I cannot see that my role can change a great deal. We have also been told that it is unlikely anybody's role will be changing and it was more likely that the only change we would see would be to our reporting Managers. They have said that we should have a better idea of the new structure for the team in the next few month. I have 14 days to appeal, but is there any way I am able to delay my appeal until I know categorically what is going to be happening with my role?  If not are they able to reject my appeal by saying they simply cannot consider any form of flexible working at this time?

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Stressed over childcare: ask the expert

Stressed over childcare: ask the expert

I'm a first-time mum to a 15-month-old girl and am currently working part time two full days a week (9-4.30). My husband works shifts so he’s not very often home. My issue is the childcare for my daughter. It is becoming increasingly difficult and unreliable which is stressing me out every week. At the moment my husband’s aunt and nan shares childcare every Monday over my daughter, but times always vary according to my husband’s hours. Tuesdays is usually my mum, but she has a lot on her plate at the moment which means she can't do most Tuesdays. I've been told by my husband’s aunt and nan that the irregularity of hours on Monday is unsettling for my daughter which is stressing me out and I don't know how to stabilise this. I can't afford professional childcare, my current job is stressful and often keeps me running ragged all day, I rarely leave on time. I would love to find a job working from home, but feel I don't have the necessary skills (or I do but my confidence is at an all -time low) and I am profoundly deaf which restricts what I can do. I'm at my wits end.

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