By Sabina Moir
We've had a baby booming year at Lincolns. Our team have welcomed three new baby boys into their families plus a set of twins! All this excitement with baby showers, birth date guessing games, impending maternity leave and newborn visits has us thinking about what options there are available for new parents in regards to their work arrangements and any benefits they are eligible for once baby arrives.
If you are pregnant and are employed, then a minimum of 10 weeks’ notice prior to your due date is required to be given, however due to pregnancy not being a subtle body transformation, it is most common that employers would be notified at a much sooner date of this exciting news. Depending what industry you work in there may be OHS policies on how long you can work before you leave for and return from maternity leave.
Time to chat (Not about baby names…yet)
Communication is key regarding any time spent away from the workplace, so be open with your employer of your plans and what you think your role will look like after maternity leave – it may be that you work on part-time basis, have flexible hours or work from home. Have clear and open communication will allow you and your employer to work out a mutually beneficial work arrangement.
It is not a requirement for an organisation to offer paid maternity leave, however if your employer does have a maternity leave policy in place, then it would be a good idea to find out what it offered. Some organisations will offer up to 6 months to a year on full or a portion of your salary.
Government Paid Parental Leave
When your employer does not offer paid maternity leave then you may have access the Governments paid parental leave scheme. This scheme will pay 18 weeks minimum wage.
- You are entitled to Parental Leave Pay from the Australian Government if:
- You are the primary carer of a newborn or adopted child
- You earn under a certain limit (an adjusted taxable income of $150,000 or less)
- You are on leave or not working while you receive the payment
- If you meet the work test – You are eligible if you have worked just over 1 day for the past 10 of the previous 13 months. This work does not need to be with the same employer.
You will have 34 weeks from the birth/adoption of the child to lodge a claim for Parental Leave Pay and it must be paid to you within the first 12 months of the child’s life.
Parental Leave Pay from the Australian Government doesn't change paid parental leave from an employer – an employee can be paid both.
Working fathers and partners (including same-sex partners) may be eligible for 2 weeks of leave paid at the minimum wage and is paid in one block. Some employers top up Dad and Partner Pay so it is equivalent to your normal wage.
Keeping in touch
When you are receiving your Paid Parental Leave from the Government you are allowed 10 ‘Contact’ days that are paid working days from your employer. These days are designed for the workplace to keep in touch with the parent and to assist with the eventual return to work. It also gives you the opportunity to show off your newborn to your work colleagues!
Returning to work
Your first week back should be a short one – a recommendation is that you come back to work on a Wednesday, so the week doesn’t seem as arduous and long! Try to ease yourself back into working life and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Speak to some other working parents to find out their tricks on how to adjust to work as a parent.
Choose the right time to return to work that will ensure that you’re happy, your baby is happy and of course that your employer is happy. As previously stated, keep the communication lines open with your employer to let them know how you are tracking.
A coffee with...
By Kym Arnold
This month in our "Coffee With ..." Kym sits down with good friends and clients John and Nina Gill, owners of Albany Bakehouse, to discuss the journey that they have been on since opening the business in 2008.