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Returning to Work After Maternity Leave – Your Rights

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a hugely stressful undertaking. Your life has changed in ways that you never imagined, and even if you are genuinely excited about heading back to work it will undoubtedly be pitched against worries associated with your time away from work.

To make the transition easier, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Try to keep in touch with your boss and colleagues while you are on leave. Having that touch-point will go a long way to smoothing out the transition when you do return. Maintaining a relationship with your employer will make those frank discussions around your work conditions and your role much easier to have.
  • Your employee needs to provide the same job you left when you went on maternity leave (unless you were on a fixed-term contract and it expired when you were on parental leave.) So if you feel you are being pushed in to a role that doesn’t utilise your skills and experience it is worth raising that with your employer.
  • If your role changes significantly while you are on leave, your employer is required by law to discuss these changes with you. If your role has been made redundant your employer must find an equivalent role in pay and status to the one you left to go on maternity for.
  • Every parent returning to work after a period of parental leave has the right to request flexible working arrangements. This could range from working reduced hours, working from home or alternative start and finish times.
  • If you need help resolving issues around parental leave and returning to work, you can contact Fair Work Australia. They will be able to provide you with all the latest legislation and what your rights as an employee are.
  • Remember that the transition is just that, you will get used to your ‘new normal’ and you and your family will get in to a routine that works for you all.

For more information see link to Fair Work Ombudsman

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