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Thread: Mat leave and returning to work - opinions pls?

  1. #1

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    Default Mat leave and returning to work - opinions pls?

    I've been thinking about what I am going to do with my maternity leave...
    They want me to tell them what I want to do soon and are being rather narky about it,and it seems to just be a massive inconvenience for them. It was hard enough even getting the info for their rules on mat leave, so I'm sure it wont be any easier negotiating the leave.

    From the information I have been given and things that have been said, they would not be prepared to take me on part time after bub is born. Initially I was told I'd probably be able to work from home or part time, but I have now been told that is definately not an option. It seems to be full time or nothing. Add to this that I would need to secure a spot in Childcare before I can go back to work anyway and I obvisouly dont have much control over when/if I get a spot, and i would have to come back within 12 months of leaving if I want a job to go back to.

    Do you think that under 12 months is too young for bub to be put into child care full time?

    I dont even know if I will want to come back to work at all, let alone full time after bub is born. I have just wanted to resign on a number of occasions over the last few weeks, but I think if I do that I'll be burning my bridges... My boss is great, even if he is never there, but I just dont know if I'll want to go back there or if is even going to be financially viable to work full time as well as paying for full time care.



    so just wanted to see what others think... I am thinking I should just take the maternity leave and not tell them when/if I'll be coming back, then I still really have a year to decide what I really want to do, iykwim? Do you think thats the right thing to do?
    I am also thinking of doing some casual work while on maternity leave (obviously something totally different to my current job, as my contract and commonsense would prevent me from doing something that may cause a conflict of interest) Anyone done this?

    sorry for blabbing so much, but I am just confused now and looking for other peoples point of view .

  2. #2

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    I would leave your options open at this stage and wait and see how you feel after bubs is born. I wouldn't make any definite decisions yet.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Mrs Mac, I would give them the notice they require of your intention to take Mat leave and the date you intend to finish up (bear in mind if you currently work under a NSW award you are supposed to give them at least 10 weeks notice of your intention to take leave and 4 weeks notice prior to the actual date, so you might need to do that soon) and then decide on the bigger plan whilst you are on Mat Leave.

    You have to do what is right and comfortable for you. Lots of families use childcare early on.

    You have mentioned that your boss is great. Have you had a chat to him about your desire to return to work Part Time ?
    If you are having trouble, or are not sure how to go about negotiating the best arrangements for you, maybe contact your Union or get in contact with the relevant Union and join up.

    FYI - in NSW if an employee is employed under a NSW State Award, the Industrial Relations Act 1996, was amended a short time ago to reflect the push for more flexible, family friendly work environments.
    In addition to the legislated upaid 52 weeks maternity leave available to everyone. If you work under a NSW State Award you may now request to increase that by a further continous 52 upaid weeks.
    You now also have the right to request to return to work on a part time basis until the child reaches school age. The employer may only refuse a request for the latter two points on reasonable grounds related to the effect on their business or workplace.

    Hope this info helps.... Best of luck.

  4. #4

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    Hi karina,

    Firstly, what a prat about work! I'm lucky that mine is so easy about it. My work is actually encouraging me to take 12 months off but I'm only asking for 5 months (but then I only work 2 days a week at the moment!). The only thing my work is annoyed about is that someone just quit so they are recruiting for that and then I'm leaving on mat leave at the end of Jan, another girl is leaving at end of Feb/early March, and another girl at end of Feb! So they have 4 positions to recruit in about 5 months!
    My understanding about maternity leave is that although they don't have to give you PAID maternity leave, they HAVE to give you 12 months off after which time they have to give you part time work if you ask for it. But I could be wrong. Do you have an HR department you can talk to? Or are you in a union? Also, legally you don't have to tell them ANYTHING about your plans until about 10 weeks before you plan to leave.

    HTH. Good luck with it.

    MG

  5. #5

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    Karina I was in a similar situation with my last job. I did not want to work full-time after bubs was born, but if I wanted my job back definitely I had too. The child care situation in my area is dire, I managed to get 1 day per week when Maggie turned one, and I had her down since I was 5 months pregnant. As I could not guarantee to go back I decided to resign, I just did not want a job hanging over my head. Also I wanted to take advantage of the time off to start my own business. I just did not feel right doing that whilst on official maternity leave. I actually liked my workplace and boss, it was just this one area they were not flexible in.

    At the end of the day do what you feel comfortable with.

  6. #6

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    I'd agree with the others - take your leave, state your intention to return after a year... then you can change your mind.

    Working part-time for someone else during maternity leave is perfectly fine, I do know some people who have done this. However, only after their SMP has stopped being paid, as otherwise they'd lose their SMP.

    I don't think they have to give you part-time work, but I believe that in Australia they have to prove why they didn't give it to you. I know in the UK they're not forced to at all, although most places will look into it.

  7. #7

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    thanks everyone.

    I might check more on the Industrial Relations website.. I'm really big on industrial relations as I have been unfairly dismissed before, and while I doubt my current boss would do that, I just need to know what all the rules are so i know what the law entitles me to.

    They have told me they will not allow me to take more than 12 months off fullstop - so even if I take annnual leave then take maternity leave, the total time can only be 12 months maximum. I have no idea if I come under an award, and I'm not a member of any union. I wasnt even given the option of joining a union when I started working there, and its not something I had thought about really.. I think our HR people are now in Perth. Will have to call and ask them.

    I was just really irked as I told our Managing Director I am pregnant when I was about 12 weeks, and he said we couild work out something where I can work from home or part time, and now he says there are no positions available for me to do that. I will definately try and speak to him about part time again though. I dont get paid mat leave so there should be no big deal with me working casual for someone else while on leave, as long as I dont go and work for a competitor or something..

    Childcare waiting lists are absolutely ridiculous in sydney. One that I put my name down for told me I;d be lucky to get a spot by this time next year, and that was with me saying "just give me whatever you can - doesnt matter what days" so thats what my main worry is... That I wont get a spot and will lose my job..

    I need to give 10 weeks notice that I intend on taking leave - so I need to do that soon... like in the next week or 2! My boss is overseas but I'm sure there is someone else I can give my leave letter to.

    I think its just all too hard for them - my boss didnt even know what I was allowed to have as mat leave and took over a month to get back to me about it. Apparently I'm the first to get pregnant so theyve never done the mat leave thing there which i think is what is making it hard for them in a way. Theyve got no clue.

    So what I think I'll do now is just take the leave and not tell them when to expect me back, then make a decision while on leave.

  8. #8

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    Karina, I agree that it is best to keep your options open. I am also sure that under current IR laws every employee has the right to return to work part-time after maternity leave for at least a year. This would be worth checking.

    With regards to child care, I reluctantly returned to work when DS#1 was 7 months. He took to child care really well and I have since decided (after wathcing numerous other children start at the day care centre) that most kids adjust better if they start before 12 months of age. Just something to consider. HTH. Good luck!!

  9. #9

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    Karina, I agree with the others that you should give them notice now that you intend taking the 12 months, and then decide down the track. You may get to 10 months and decide there's no way you're going back, or get to 6 months and think if you don't go back full time you'll go crazy.

    In relation to them changing their minds on part time/working from home - don't give up hope just yet that it won't happen. If you are the first person in the company to be in this position the thought of working from home, part time, job sharing etc may all be too daunting for them, so they've opted for the easy "full time or nothing". When the time comes to make the decision about going back, raise it again. They may have realised by then that you part time is better than no you at all! Good luck with it.

  10. #10

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    Hi Karina,

    I can totally relate to what you are saying. I am really unsure how I will be feeling in 12 months time, but i Know I won;t go back full time. I too have been tempted to just resign but thought I will leave the options open as if I decide not to go back I can tell them I couldn't arrange chilcare etc.

    Lots can change with a company in a 12 month period so I would take your maternity leave and decide down the track.

  11. #11

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    Hi karina

    My cousin had similar issues with her employer - them changing their minds all the time about whether she can come back part time or not, well in the end they refused to give her part time work and she is now going through the court system.

    Id do what the other gals say and state that you intend to come back after 12 months and then decide later on once bubs arrives as to what suits you best. Hopefully you will be able to negotiate something with them closer to your return date/

    Good luck
    Lisa

  12. #12

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    Hi Karina,

    Under most NSW awards you are entitled to 52 weeks unpaid maternity leave. The catch is that this leave cannot go past your child's first birthday. I guess the presumption is that pregnant women leave work about 4 weeks early.

    In respect of your annual leave, i understand that you are required to take this leave first - however it should be cumulative in that it is NOT maternity leave.

    Not sure if that helps, but stick to your guns and don't let them bully you!!

  13. #13

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    Thanks for your input everyone. I will apply for maternity leave.. I gave them a letter last week that just said I am pregnant and I intend on taking mat leave.
    Hopefully they'll be a little bit flexible and let me come back part time. At the moment I dont want to come back to the job, but I also dont want to resign because if i change my mind I cant ask for my job back!

  14. #14

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    Don't undervalue your skills! I find even though I have been told I can't come back part time, I end up getting my own way!
    You never know where they will be by the time you are ready to come back and they may be willing to give you the hours you want as you already have the skills they need.

  15. #15

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    thanks, I will definately ask them again about coming back part time.
    I would like to be able to spend some time with baby, but I'd also like to work too, so part time would be ideal. Will have to wait and see what they say

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