Friday, May 15, 2009

Understanding your rights and obligations in the workplace

The workforce is changing. Every day, I see examples of responsible employers making a difference to the workplace for pregnant employees and parents returning to work. The skills shortage has certainly provided impetus for employers to embrace attraction and retention strategies to keep good staff.

However, I still receive phone calls and emails from women who are being treated poorly by their employer. Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, has just completed a 'listening tour' around the country. One of many observations she made was that the experiences of pregnant women, and those who had recently given birth and were seeking to return to their jobs, was of particular concern. The Commissioner heard that women are vulnerable to bullying when they return after having a child, and that many are not aware of their rights.

If you are not aware of your rights, visit the following website for advice -

In addition, ask to view the employment policies your employer offers. Ask for the parental leave policy and the flexible working arrangements policy - if they have them. If they don't, your question may prompt them to write some policies and procedures. Know your entitlements and the laws that protect you in the workplace. Knowledge is powerful.

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