If you opt for a part-time job, it can be difficult to know what your entitlements are. New mum Karen says: 'I've been offered a part-time job but I'm confused about my holiday entitlement. I'll do 24 hours a week spread over five days, working the shorter days to fit in with school hours. But I've been told that my holiday entitlement is pro-rata. Surely that doesn't mean I get only two weeks' holiday a year?'
The answer is that if you work five days a week, the normal practice in many companies is for you to have the same number of days off as anyone else. But you should check with your potential employer's HR department to confirm this before taking the job. You're entitled to have everything clear in your mind before you start.
Mums who qualify for Working Tax Credit and are offered a part-time job may be entitled to help with childcare. If you're at least 16, a single parent working 16 hours or more a week, or you both work at least 16 hours a week, or one of you works and the other is too ill to work, and you use a registered childcare (such as a nursery), then you're eligible to apply for up to 70% of your childcare costs. This is up to £135 a week for one child, and £200 a week for two or more children.
To work out how much you would be entitled to, log on to www.entitledto.com. To apply, contact the tax credits helpline on 0845 300 3900.