As some of you may know, I am an active volunteer for NCT, the UK’s largest parenting charity. My volunteering is mostly providing breastfeeding support to new parents, however I do help out at branch events like the Nearly New Sale or our mother & baby group, write newsletter articles or bake a cake. Over the past 13 years, I have held several volunteering roles in the charity – from local branch coordinator to London Region Coordinator. I loved that role because I was able to directly help and support branches all across London. In fact I am such a big fan of the charity that I was nominated to stand for President in August this year. I was unsuccessful but that proves the depth of my commitment to the charity.
NCT is very much a charity run by local parents for local parents. Yes we have a head office that is involved in campaigning and research, however the grassroots support is provided by volunteers.
The very strong message I see is that parents supported really value both the practical and the emotional support provided. The face-to-face contact, the authentic presence and the opportunity to have a hot cup of tea! I think we can all identify with those early days and weeks after birth and how it can sometimes feel completely overwhelming.
What happens when you go back to work?
NCT conducted qualitative research on first-time parents’ experiences of returning to work (part of NCT’s First 1,000 Days study). More than 1000 parents completed a questionnaire when their baby was about 8 months old. .
The results reveal:
- 80% of women were planning to go back to work
- 77% said that household finance was a very important factor in their decision
- 68% said that the quality of the childcare was a very important factor
- 54% of mums said they didn’t want to leave their baby
- 28% of women and 4% of men have taken on part-time employment since becoming a parent
- 47% of new dads and 35% of new mums reported that their employer did not offer flexible working hours
Women were more likely to return to paid employment if their employer offered opportunities for flexible working.
Did you know that the Employment law changed in June 2014 to allow all employees to make a formal request to work flexibly provided they have been with the company for at least 26 weeks. Employees can apply for any reason – even if it is linked to their personal preferences. This, of course, includes parental or other caring responsibilities.