It must have been a man that said being on maternity leave is like being on extended vacation. Not only is it hard work, but it’s a 24-7 job, and we can’t call in sick – ever! Although I think there are many benefits to being on maternity leave for 3-4 years, like many women in the Czech Republic, there are also some disadvantages in the long run. After having a couple of kids or even one, the woman is at a disadvantage going back to work as many of her skills are now obsolete and an employer usually frowns upon hiring a woman with small children (as sad as that is).
Technically your employer cannot fire you while on maternity/parenting leave, but they will only hold your position for 6 months and after that they are free to replace you with someone who can do the job. When actually coming back a few years later, legally you cannot claim your position back and can even get demoted. Although an employer would never admit it, it’s a perfect way for them to push you out upon your return – and it happens quite often. Another obstacle is the fact that there is a lack of state kindergartens in the country, and if you child can get in at 3 years old, you can consider yourself lucky. My son was just rejected and he will be 4 come September.
For some, it’s a clear choice and returning to the workforce is not a priority. Now, I know that for many women that do want to return to work before the 3 -4 year maternity/parenting leave is up, the private daycare system is simply not affordable, as almost all of their earnings would go towards childcare, whether working part-time or full time. Therefore, many make the choice of staying home, rather than going back to work for the obvious reasons. In the end there are sacrifices to be made, and it usually is a combination of necessity and personal choice .
I am personally lucky to have an employer that is flexible and has stood by me throughout my pregnancies and now two kids. Upon my return (when both my kids turned 6 months), I was able to work part-time until I was ready to go back full time. With my older son, I worked part-time until he turned 2 years old and with my younger I will go back to full-time when he is 1year old. But I know that many women in the Czech Republic are not so lucky, and have a number of obstacles in order to integrate back into society and realize themselves professionally, while having children under 3 at home.
As it’s a popular topic these days, different types of services are starting to cater to mothers in an attempt to overcome some of the obstacles we face today. One of these services recently opened its doors and much like The Hub, provides a working space, but with an array of services that also includes childcare. The Baby Office, located in Prague 4, opened very recently and caters to freelance or remote working moms that can utilize the shared office space, while their young children are looked after in their daycare center. But The Babyoffice isn’t simply about providing a working space and daycare, the team is also trying to serve as an advisor to mothers in helping them reintegrate into society by providing many seminars and a source to available part-time work or an advisory to start-up businesses.
I think this is a wonderful project and give its creators big kudos for getting it started!
Baby Office provides many options for you and your little ones at reasonable prices. Some of the mainstream services are:
Coworking & Your own workspace:
Shared space: 50 Kc / hour
Your own working space: 4.000 / month
Baby Office Daycare (children from 15 months):
Ad hoc attendance cost: 100 Kc / hr
Regular attendance: 70 Kc / hr
Inidividual child care (from 6 to 15 months): 200 Kc / hr
At home childcare:
Childcare for a Baby Office user: 150 Kc / hr
Childcare for general public: 200 kc/ hr
Additional child: +50 Kc/ hr
Childcare after 22.00: +50 Kc / hr
For additional information, please visit www.babyoffice.cz