Case Study – Mandy and Swaran
Mandy, 40, of Chigwell, Essex, is a qualified lawyer and single mum to Swaran, age 5. When Swaran was 16 months old, Mandy started using annual leave to spend more time with him as she was concerned about his development and his social interaction.
She eventually stopped working in summer 2015, having decided to take a career break for an undefined period to support Swaran, who at this stage was displaying signs of autism, although was yet to receive a formal diagnosis. Swaran was eventually diagnosed with autism and other impairments such as sensory processing disorder. Mandy has spent her time learning about her son’s impairments and educating herself on ways in which she could support him.
She did consider childcare to return to work – and was informed that a specialist nanny in special educational needs, could command up to £60,000 per annum including benefits to do the hours that she required. This was not viable for her as she would be working simply to pay the salary of a specialist nanny.
Now that Swaran has started school, Mandy has stepped up her efforts to return to work in a part-time/flexible capacity. She requires a flexible role, to enable her to spend the time she wants to with Swaran after school and during his holidays – time she feels he benefits hugely from. However, quality part-time and flexible jobs are few and far between:
“Legal roles in-house in my area of specialism are like gold-dust and extremely competitive. They are almost all full-time roles and are office based. In my experience, it is easier to ask for flexible working patterns in terms of hours and working from home once you are in a role and are known to the employer.”
Although Swaran now attends a local special school, if Mandy was to work full-time, she would still need to find wrap around care for Swaran, and childcare during the school holidays. So, the twin challenges of finding a quality flexible work at her skill level and salary expectations – and of finding suitable childcare for Swaran – have been insurmountable so far, for Mandy.
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