Category: testimonial, gender, Gender Focus, International Women's day, Flexible Working, Flexible, Parental Leave, inspirational women, HM Revenue & Customs, What Our People Say, Staff Testimonial, parent, celebrating women
Emma Hunter is a Tax Specialist based in the Newcastle HMRC office, she volunteers with the local CSSC (Civil Service Sports Club) and is involved with the local Carers Network. Emma’s role involves reviewing Partial Exemption Special Method (PESMS) requests from businesses and supporting colleagues from other tax areas with Partial Exemption queries and visits. She also assists with project work, alongside preparing cases in litigation.
Working part time, three days per week, Emma is an advocate for flexible working and HMRC have fully supported her in this throughout her career.
“I love the flexibility and the variety of work. I work flexibly so can move across offices as well as work from home. I have a young daughter who has epilepsy so I need the flexibility,” said Emma.
Emma’s four-year-old daughter has a rare case of epilepsy called West Syndrome which means she has to take medication up to four times a day. She has also had specialist support such as portage, physiotherapy and help with her speech and language.
“When my daughter first had health problems it was a concern that I couldn’t find a flexible role but my experience with HMRC has been second to none. My manager helped me get a Carers Passport. This outlines what my daughter’s condition is, and the adjustments I have in place to help me achieve work life balance. This is a formal document that I take throughout my career and I wouldn’t have known existed had it not been for my manager at HMRC,” said Emma.
HMRC offer a range of family friendly policies to their employees, and staff can ask for flexible and alternative working patterns dependent on business needs.
“My managers fully support my Carers Passport and are flexible regarding additional appointments with the school and health professionals which allows me to continue to work. Many employers simply would not allow me to attend these and I could not work,” said Emma.
Before joining HMRC, Emma worked for a housing association where she was made redundant whilst on maternity leave. Since joining HMRC, Emma has found that she can support her family whilst also enjoying a specialist role.
“Traditionally, women have either been able to work at senior levels or be a mother and the two didn’t blend. There should be more opportunities to blend these roles.” said Emma.
Emma is the Continuous Improvement advocate for her team which means she works alongside all grades to find efficiencies and focus on ways employees can work smarter and more effectively. Having received the High-Performance award, given to those that go ‘above and beyond’ in their roles, Emma is proof that working part time does not mean you can’t excel in the workplace.
As well as performing her role at HMRC and caring for her daughter, Emma is planning to take on more of the training available at HMRC. When she joined the company, she completed an intensive six-month training programme with ICAS, completing the same exams as trainee accountants. She has also voluntarily undertaken 2 TSP exams specific to her specialist tax area and plans to take further exams in the coming year.
When asked what the top skills needed for her role are Emma said:
“Being organised is hugely important. You need to be motivated, inquisitive and have a genuine thirst for knowledge. You’ve got to have that ability to ask questions and improve knowledge.”
With a busy home and working life we asked Emma how she achieves a good work/life balance:
“I would encourage anyone worried about managing their work/life balance to look at work in the Civil Service. There are lots of professional and personal development options. It’s an excellent place to work and I thoroughly love it.”
Marrying together a successful home and working life with the health of her daughter has not been easy for Emma but she is positive about the future.
“I have a beautiful princess who loves books and numbers and she’s an absolute pleasure. To get her to this point has been extremely hard but my daughter will not be held back by her condition,” said Emma.
When asked what she would say to a young woman looking to enter the working world she said:
“I’d say the same as I do to my niece of fourteen years. You can do and be anything you want to be and I strongly recommend looking for opportunities in the Civil Service. I honestly think HMRC will be one of the leaders within D&I in the coming years. There is so much drive and energy and it’s fantastic. I actively encourage people to apply. The Civil Service is a career plan for life that will support you through all life’s stages.”