Since beginning my role at the School of Engineering, I have taken two career breaks due to maternity. In the first case, prior to accepting my current role at the School, I was already four months pregnant. I communicated this to my prospective line manager and HR. In both instances, they stated that they would support me in my current role as an expectant mother if I decided to take the position. This made me feel comfortable and I accepted the role.
Prior to taking maternity, my line manager gave me advice on how to plan my work prior to taking maternity such that my career break would not have a negative impact on my career progression. I took maternity for six months, and it was a very smooth transition, thanks to the School’s support.
On return to work, the School has a policy whereby I could use accumulated annual leave to balance my return to work and make childcare arrangements much less stressful. When I took maternity leave for the second time in 2019, the School gave me the same support. As soon as I notified the School about my pregnancy and plan to take maternity leave, arrangements started to be made for colleagues to cover my core responsibilities such as PhD student supervision, lab management and research project management, which helped me to ensure that my work and research would not suffer as a result of my maternity leave.
Dr Yuner Huang, Lecturer and Researcher, Civil and Environmental Engineering (School of Engineering, University of Edinburgh)