Sunday, July 27, 2008

Speak up! Email an elected leader

There are still so many things wrong in the workplace for parents. The biggest challenges consistently faced by working parents or parents wanting to return to work are the cost of child care, child care availability, and flexible work arrangements. Australia consistently lags behind most other OECD countries in all of these areas, and yet our leaders are still content to debate the issues rather than take action.

I would like to suggest that any time you have something to say about these challenges, email the appropriate politician. I have provided you with a list of our elected leaders who's portfolios are relevant to your needs:

Self employment opportunities - keep an eye out for scams

Self employment can be an exciting time in your career. The opportunity to work hard and see the fruits of your labour is very enticing. And it is no wonder that many women decide to work for themselves after having children - the ability to work your own hours is very appealing in the quest for work / life balance.

It is always important to do your research when you are looking to work for yourself. This includes self employment opportunities that are advertised on job boards and newspapers. Make sure you have full knowledge of what you are selling and the costs associated with it before you make any decisions.

There are some great websites that will alert you to any scams or pyramid schemes currently circulating in the market. Visit the Australian Security and Investment Commission's website on scams at or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission scam watch website found at

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Return to work tips specific to parents

- Stay active - participate in relevant trade associations, attend workshops or events, take an evening course, stay up-to-date with industry reading, or participate in networking functions. These activities are ways of keeping yourself and your resume up to date.

- Volunteer work is great way to maintain work experience while on parental leave

- When researching the job market - talk to everyone you know! Let family, friends, and your Mothers Group know that you are looking for a job. If you communicate your desire to return to work with other people, you never know where a job lead may come from.

- Consider temping or contract positions to start with to give you a taste of returning to work.

- If you are considering a career change, research the industry well and if necessary, do a short course to get up to speed.

- Keep your resume short and be succinct. 2-4 pages is a rough guide depending on your experience. Do not include your marital status, age or number of children.

- Don’t discuss you’re your family when applying for a role. You can talk about them later when you get the job. Be clear about your suitability to a role, your core skills, your flexibility requirements, and how much you are worth.

- Don’t under value your non-paid work – everything you do is important. All you need to do is turn it into ‘work speak’ – for example, tuck shop duty involves customer service, handling money and working as a team.

- Working from home is not a solution to paying for child care. After 6 months of age, all they want is your attention.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Loans for maternity leave

An out of touch Committee for Economic Development of Australia has put forward a senseless scheme for parents to fund their maternity leave via low interest loans from the Government. if you haven't read it, visit:,21598,23947586-949,00.html

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia could certainly learn some organisational and efficiency skills from working parents by spending their time on more productive reesearch such as what other more progressive OECD countries are offering return to work parents and the research they have conducted as a result of these initiatives.

Please stop wasting time. Catch up with the world. Parents face enough debt raising Australia's future generation. It is a social responsibility that must be taken seriously. Women now account for half the workforce, and more than half of students completing a tetiary education. Foster and retain these skills, and allow women time to have children.

Most women want to return to work. As to whether they return to the same employer, that depends on the employer and the flexible work arrangements they are offering.