Using resources available through work

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How to Leave Everything Behind and Start Over in a New Life

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There may be many resources available to you through your workplace to help with work and personal issues in your life. Here are some suggestions:

• Learn about resources available through work. The program that sent you this publication provides extensive help with work/life needs, personal and work concerns, parenting concerns, finances, and many other issues. Take advantage of this benefit.

• Find out about flexible work and time-off policies. Your employer may offer flexible work hours, part-time work, working from home, or other flexible work arrangements. These can make a big difference in your life as a single parent.

• Find out whether your employer offers release time for school-related activities. Some organizations allow their employees a certain number of hours per year to use for this purpose. Others give workers time during the day, but expect them to make up the hours later. Some states require employers to give employees time off for certain family obligations. In Massachusetts, for example, there is a law, the Small Necessities Act, that requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide 24 hours of leave to eligible employees for certain family obligations, such as participating in school activities or accompanying a child to routine medical or dental appointments.

• Ask an understanding co-worker how he or she successfully manages work and family responsibilities.

• Talk with your manager about creating a work schedule that allows you to meet your personal responsibilities. Perhaps your employer could offer a scheduling adjustment, for example, to allow you to attend regular school events in your child's life. Be willing to offer suggestions, too, such as coming in extra early on days when you need to leave the office early.

"One of the beautiful things about being a single parent is that we are doing our society good. By relying upon one another and extending our community, we're actually bringing back to life the old adage, 'It takes a village to raise a child.'"

—Andrea Engber, founder and director, National Organization of Single Mothers, Inc.

• Get the support you need to balance work-life issues. Succeeding as a parent is easier when you have the support you need in your personal and home life. If a difficult relationship with a former spouse or with a child is making it harder to concentrate at work, or if your dual role is causing too much stress, you might contact the program that sent you this publication about where to find support and resources.

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