Public sector cuts – every cloud

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of years, you will be aware that the public sector has to make huge cuts  savings. The recession doesn’t just affect Blockbusters, HMV and Woolworths, it affects the public sector too.

The public sector faces a double whammy of reduced government grants and increased demand on services – from things like an ageing population and a rise in the number of children in care.

There is a perception among some sectors of society that the public sector is full of lazy jobsworths who clock off at 4 and are on big ‘fat cat’ pensions. That is so far from the truth. People in the public sector work hard for little thanks. They get a fair salary, but not a generous one. Many people in the public sector haven’t had a pay rise in the last few years.

This same sector of society, who are busy sat in front of their computers criticising the rest of the world call for ‘efficiency savings’ in the ‘wasteful’ public sector. What else is left? What else can we cut?

To make savings, people have been made redundant, others have taken early retiremnet. Under-used buildings have been disposed of, commissioning and contracting arrangements have been made more effective. Less staff are providing services for the growing number of residents who need them.

We don’t have post-it notes, we write on cheap notebooks (many people just buy their own), we buy our own tea and coffee and pay for our own Christmas parties – we always have.

And still more savings need to be made! What can be done?

And then someone where I work came up with a brilliant idea. I don’t know who they are, but they have been promoted to one of my favourite people EVER.

When our big boss told us about it she said she wasn’t sure why anyone would come up with this idea and why anyone would want it. Indeed, why would anyone want TWO WEEKS’ UNPAID LEAVE?!

Needless to say, the big boss has no kids.

This is like the answer to my prayers. We’re not poor (my husband works in the private sector, you see!), so I can afford two weeks’ unpaid leave. Sorting out my leave and childcare for the school holidays is an endless headache for me This takes my leave allocation for the year up to eight weeks and I can probably squeeze one or two flex days out of that too (another perk of my fat-cat job – awarded to me because I’ve worked the damn hours in the first place). OK, so the kids are still off school for 13 weeks a year, but this is a big weight off my mind.

Thank you, public sector. Right now I love your cuts savings.

Author: Sarah Mummy

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11 Comments

  1. Ooh that’s handy isn’t it! I dream of a job with term time working….but I that they are mythical!!

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  2. Term time working would be the ultimate, Sonya. The only option apart from teacher is probably TA or working in a playgroup.
    Sorry to hear you’re being made redundant, Sarah. My only knowledge of the private sector is all the companies my husband has worked for. They get everything for free there! It’s his own business now, but they pay for the Christmas party and tea and coffee and do corporate hospitality stuff. It’s a different world from mine!

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  3. Unpaid leave actually sounds fantastic if you’re able to afford it. It means you can actually balance and juggle things and at least breathe a bit (and it takes away that horrible feeling of feeling like “a parent that needs time off for the kids!”).

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  4. Genius … Plenty of time for work life balance . I hope the unpaid time off doesn’t leave you too much out of pocket

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  5. That’s good news! A lot of private sector companies do this too (at ours we can buy up to two week’s leave each year – same principal). And yes, we’ve had no payrise now for 4 years, buy our own everything etc. My only perk is that I don’t have to pay for parking.

    As regards term time working – there are big companies who offer term time contracts. The BBC used to (and probably still do but I haven’t worked for them for a while).

    Anyway, glad you have a (partial?) solution 🙂

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  6. It is a good idea, but when they introduced parental leave I never took it as couldn;t afford not to be paid!
    We even struggled when hubby took two weeks Paternity not realising it was unpaid!

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  7. Sounds like a great idea, but many couldn’t afford to take unpaid leave. For those who can, though, it does solve a big problem, and gives you precious time with the children x.

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  8. Thanks very much, everyone.
    I’m lucky that I can afford the unpaid leave. The good things is they just knock two weeks off your annual pay, so you wouldn’t notice much of a difference divided over the whole year – you’re not losing out on two weeks’ pay in one month. Not surprised paternity leave was a struggle, Kara – losing two weeks’ salary in one go would be hard!

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  9. Thanks very much. And welcome – thanks for following! Hope you enjoy the blog, Pamela.

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  10. It is a good idea to offer it. The only thing I would say is why stop at 2 weeks.

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  11. Good question! If they’d offered four I would have taken it! Who knows, maybe they will in future if it’s successful (fingers crossed!).

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