Recently I was contacted by a concerned husband and father-to-be. He expressed concern for his wife's career after they had their baby. How long could she take off and how was her career going to be affected? My response included the following information:
- In over 65% of Australian families both parents work. The key for parents is to negotiate flexibility on their return.
- Paid parental leave (for 18 weeks) is due to begin January 2011.
- In Jan 2010, the National Employment Standards will commence. Parents will be able to request a further 12 months of non-paid leave after their initial 12 months of parental leave. In addition, employees with children aged under 5 will have the right to request a flexible work arrangement.
- Always ask your employer for the flexible work policy and parental leave policy so you understand your rights and obligations.
- Talk to your manager about flexible work options before going on parental leave.