Janet is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and previously worked in the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. While there she had one child and came back to work after six months. She found this worked quite well initially but over the first winter it was exhausting due to the number of winter illnesses and juggling the full-time work-load.
In 2013 Janet’s husband Brendon, then a RS URF at Heriot Watt, was offered a Readership position in St Andrews. St Andrews Physics is also excellent in Janet’s research field and it was arranged that she could move her fellowship too. By this time, Janet was pregnant again. Between Janet’s department in Edinburgh, the Royal Society and Physics and Astronomy in St Andrews it was arranged that she would take maternity leave from Edinburgh but return to work 6 months later in St Andrews without incurring financial losses. It was also possible for Brendon to arrange to take two weeks of paternity leave without financial penalty, even though he had only just started his position in St Andrews when their second child was born. Moreover, the couple were able to live in Edinburgh during the first six months of Brendon’s new position. Brendon commuted to St Andrews on average 4 days each week and was able to leave each day around 4pm in order to spend the evenings at home in Edinburgh with the children.
In addition, the School here, and the Royal Society, allowed Janet to return at 70% FTE for 15 months. She therefore worked worked 3 full days and had 2 extra days with the children. She felt this worked well and made coming back to work a pleasure, less tiring and easier to keep breast feeding going. Workloads were modified and it was acceptable that she would not attend meetings on a Thursday and Friday. It also meant that the winter bugs did not lead to so much time away from work. When the children’s illnesses have caused an absence from nursery there has never been a problem rearranging meetings or teaching to accommodate this for either Janet or Brendon.