Fayazee Santally has had three children since she has been working for the education publisher Pearson and is currently pregnant with her fourth. She says the company’s policy of phased returns after maternity leave has made a huge difference to her ability to keep home and work life going.
She has come back on three days a week for the first eight weeks, but the company has continued to pay her full-time salary.
That has allowed her the time to transition back into work after taking a year in maternity leave each time. “The gradual return helped a lot. You are in a different baby world on maternity leave and lose contact with the outside world. Sometimes you don’t use computers for the whole year. You need time to transition back to work and get back into a routine. It’s also good for the children to have that transition from seeing you 24/7 to you being back at work,” she says.
She believes the policy helps with retention after maternity leave and also encourages people to eventually go back to full-time hours since she says it is those initial few months back that are the most difficult to negotiate.
Fayazee is a subject leader on the general qualifications assessment team and has worked at Pearson since 2010. Previously she worked in customer service and had less flexibility, but she can now work from home if she needs to.
Fayazee has worked full time up until July when she reduced to three days. She works from 10am to 6pm, meaning she can drop off the children at childcare and her husband, who also works for Pearson and can work one day from home a week, picks them up. Her eldest is at school and the other children either go to nursery or are looked after by her father in law. Sometimes Fayazee’s parents come to visit and help out with childcare.
Fayazee’s commute is around one hour so she is normally home to get the children to bed. “It’s worth all the cuddles and kisses you get when you walk in,” she laughs.