Prepare for parental leave at work and at home.
Preparing yourself for parental leave can fill you with mixed emotions. You may feel excited, nervous, and anxious, or perhaps all of those things all at once. You may be asking yourself – How will I manage financially? How will life be in general when the baby comes along? How will my manager and colleagues react? What changes could happen while I’m away?
When planning parental leave, it’s important to understand, first, what type of leave you are eligible for and, second, understand what you’re entitlements are during your leave period.
According to Fair Work, employees in Australia are entitled to parental leave, with consideration to eligibility criteria.
What is parental leave? Parental leave is leave that can be taken when: (1) an employee gives birth, (2) an employee’s spouse or de facto partner gives birth, or (3) an employee adopts a child under 16 years of age.
The Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme states that eligible employees, who are the ‘primary carer of a newborn or adopted child’, receive up to 18 weeks’ paid leave at the national minimum wage – currently $695 per week before tax. Employees are also entitled to 12 months of unpaid parental leave, as well as the opportunity to request an additional 12 months of leave.
Once you understand your eligibility and entitlements, it is imperative that you communicate with your employer regarding the process of your leave. Who will cover my role? How long is my job secure? What policies are in place for maternity leave? What does my employer offer? We asked some of our professionals, who have experienced this exciting, yet daunting time of their life – many more than once, about their experiences.
What are some important questions you believe women should ask their employer prior to taking maternity leave?
Rosie, Marketing Programmed Skilled Workforce, is also a mother of three gorgeous, energetic children. Rosie explains that to overcome some of these emotions it helps to put a written plan in place.
“Writing a plan with a list of your ideas, including any questions or concerns you have, will help you feel in control and have a clear, effective discussion with your employer”.
Write down your list of questions or concerns to help you have a clear and effective discussion with your employer
Rosie listed some items to include in your plan:
- Discuss the flexibility you may need to attend appointments. Always try and schedule appointments around work, but unfortunately, there will be times where you can only get appointments during your work hours.
- Dates you wish to start your leave. Give an outline of your role, and what your employer needs to think about. Do they replace you? Or do they spread your workload across several people in your business?
- Include the proposed date you intend to return to work. This way the business knows how long you intend to take.
- Discuss your return to work and what your plan is. For example, do you wish to come back part-time or have more flexible hours?
What advice would you give a soon-to-be mother approaching their leave?
It’s easy to feel removed from work when you are approaching leave. Rosie’s advice is to “enjoy your working time and appreciate it as long as you can. When you return to work you will not be the same person as you will now have an extra little person to think about”.
Rosie adds that “embarking on this new chapter of your life can be very daunting. However, it is the most rewarding role you will play”.
For more information regarding eligibility, entitlements or the application process, visit Fair Work Australia.
Programmed, Australia’s leading provider of staffing, professionals, maintenance and facility management services, is committed to diversity, inclusion and equality. We seek a workforce that is representative of the communities we work in. We strive for a team that reflects the diversity of society by culture, gender, age, sexual orientation and abilities. We recognise the value of attracting, engaging and retaining employees with different backgrounds, experience and perspectives. We aim to create a safe and inclusive environment, where people are treated equally and are free of all forms of discrimination.
Programmed is a leading Staffing and Maintenance organisation, providing staffing, professional, technical, training and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand with more than 20,000 employees supporting industry.