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Working Parents Toolkit
A guide to parental leave and returning to work
EMMA WALSH
KATE SYKES
REBECCA HARPER
KAREN MILES
Welcome
Catholic Education Office
Diocese of Wollongong
Working Parents Toolkit
Catholic Church Offices Marian Centre
86-88 Market St
Locked Mail Bag 8802
Wollongong NSW 2500
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.dow.catholic.edu.au
Publication Details
Office of the Director of Schools
March 2011 - Version 1
© Catholic Education Office
Diocese of Wollongong
Licensed under NEALS
Working Parents Toolkit
Message from
Peter Turner, Director of Schools
The Catholic School and Office workplaces must always be characterised by
effective and growth-promoting policies and practices. In particular there are
mutual obligations upon both the Catholic employer and employees to create
work practices which support the sacredness of family life.
Following a significant consultation process I have pleasure in recommending to
you the Working Parents Toolkit. The Toolkit provides our school and CEO office
staff with information and resources that will assist them to successfully manage
as working parents.
It is designed specifically to support:
•
•
•
expectant parents
employees on parental leave
working parents.
The Toolkit makes the transition to parenthood and return to work that much
easier with valuable insight, relevant legal requirements and advice from experts
in the fields of career management, human resources and childcare, as well as
real-world working parents.
The family remains at the heart of Catholic schooling. I trust that these new
measures will be mutually beneficial to working parents and their employers
alike.
With best wishes
Yours sincerely
Peter Turner
Director of Schools
Diocese of Wollongong
Prayer for Expectant
FROM THE POPE’S FAMILY PRAYER BOOK
Mothers
Father we thank you for your marvellous gift;
you have allowed us to share in your divine parenthood.
During this time of waiting,
we ask you to protect and nurture
these first mysterious stirrings of life.
May our child come safely into the light of the world
and to the new birth of baptism.
Mother of God,
we entrust our child to your loving heart.
Amen
Working Parents Toolkit
How to use this Toolkit
About this Toolkit
This Toolkit is designed to give new and expectant parents relevant
and practical information about managing work and parenthood.
As a new parent combining work and family responsibilities, there
are many things that you will need to consider and decide. Use this
Toolkit as a reference guide while you are pregnant at work, on
parental leave, and when you decide to return to work.
This Toolkit has been prepared by the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong and ‘work experts’ who understand the
challenges, thinking, and decision-making support new parents
need.
Structure of the Toolkit
The Toolkit is divided into seven sections which deal with different
topics and explore everything from managing pregnancy at work,
preparing for parental leave, your time on leave, planning to return
to work and more.
Everyone’s Journey will be Different
Your parental leave journey at work, pre and post baby is an
individual experience. What suits you and is relevant to you may not
be the same for another. This Toolkit and its resources are intended
as a guide where help and support may be needed. Take your time
and immerse yourself in those sections that are most relevant to
you and that best support your family.
For Further Information or Advice
Contact Human Resource Services on 4253 0957 or access the
Human Resource Services Infopoint Site:
http://infopoint.dow.catholic.edu.au/HumRes/default.aspx
1
Managing Pregnancy at Work
7
1.1
Obligations and Entitlements
9
1.2
Keeping Safe 12
1.3
Organising your Workload and Telling Others
13
1.4 Managing Expectations
14
1.5
Managing Pregnancy at Work Summary Checklist
15
2
Preparing for Parental Leave
2.1
Preparing for Parental Leave 18
2.2
Reviewing your Career and Life Goals
18
2.3
Preparing to Return to Work
20
2.4
Parental Leave Checklist
21
2.5
Sample Letters
23
3
Your Time on Leave
3.1
Keeping your Skills Up-to-Date
29
3.2
How Long Do I Take Off?
30
4
Planning to Return to Work
4.1
Evaluating Your Career and Return to Work Options 34
4.2
Negotiating your Return to Work and Flexibility
36
4.3
Managing the Transition 38
4.4
Returning to Work Checklist
39
Working Parents Toolkit
16
27
32
5
Managing Your Career as a Working Parent 41
5.1
Managing Your Career 43
5.2
Surviving and Enjoying the First Year Back at Work
44
5.3
Managing Your Workload and Expectations 46
5.4
Balancing Work and Family Tips
48
6
Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions
Prepared by the Independent Education Union (IEU)
7
Key Contacts
Poster
Brochure
About the Authors
51
55
1
Managing
Pregnancy
at Work
“Finding out I was pregnant triggered many questions
that I hadn’t even considered before. Questions like
‘What does this mean for my work - now, for the
duration of the pregnancy, and once the baby is born?’ I
didn’t know what my entitlements were, let alone what
I wanted to do. Having access to the right information
and advice helped me through the journey.”
Employee of the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong
7
1
So you’ve found out you’re going to be a parent. While it’s an exciting
time, it can also bring apprehension and uncertainty. Depending on
where you are in your working life, you may be wondering how
having a family will impact your career. No doubt there is a list of
questions to which you’re now seeking answers.
For mums-to-be, there are many things to consider and the process
of planning starts now.
For dads-to-be, there is also much to think about and there is plenty
that you can do to prepare for the transition that is going to take
place in both of your lives and careers.
In Section 1 you will find information that will help you answer the
many questions that you’re now confronted with:
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When should I tell my Principal/Manager and colleagues?
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What are my entitlements?
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What sort of leave can I take?
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Do I have any obligations to my Principal/Manager?
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What about safety issues during pregnancy?
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How can I effectively organise my workload?
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How do I manage the expectations of my colleagues?
•
Is there anything else I need to consider?
Much of the information contained in this section provides guidance
to pregnant mums-to-be; however partners and family will find it
interesting too. It will be useful for you to be aware of the many
issues that now need to be considered.
8
1.1 Obligations and Entitlements As an employee of the Catholic Education Office (CEO), Diocese of Wollongong all of your entitlements are underpinned by the Fair Work Act 2009 (particularly the National Employment Standards therein) and the conditions contained in your relevant Enterprise Agreement. The purpose of this Toolkit is to provide you with practical strategies and resources, however in understanding your entitlements you should also refer to the CEO Parental Leave policy which contains the detailed breakdown of these entitlements (located on Infopoint). Your Principal or Human Resource Services can also assist with any inquiries. Understanding what you’re entitled to, as well as what your specific obligations are to your employer, the Catholic Education Office will enable you to plan thoroughly for upcoming conversations. 1. Begin by ensuring you are familiar with your workplace rights and entitlements. Seek information and advice from your Principal/Manager or Human Resource Services. 2. Notify your Principal/Manager that you are expecting (or that your spouse is expecting) and provide evidence from your health practitioner which provides an estimated date of confinement. Communicate when you would like to commence and conclude your parental leave. Be sure to forward a copy of your estimated date of confinement to Human Resource Services for approval. 3. Ideally, once you have communicated your news, you will work with your Principal/Manager to plan and prepare for your transition to parental leave and thereafter a return to the workplace – either to your current role or to a new one. What are My Leave Options? While the type and amount of leave available to people having children varies, some of the more common forms include parental leave, paid or unpaid maternity leave, paternity leave and adoption leave. Parental Leave This term encompasses maternity leave (for women) and paternity leave (for men) and adoption leave. Unpaid Parental Leave Australian law entitles employees to take 52 weeks unpaid leave when they have a child. If other related authorised leave is taken, this reduces the 52 weeks of unpaid leave. The law also provides a ‘right to request’ another 52 weeks leave which will be granted according to the genuine business needs of the school or office at the time of the request. Adoption Leave Employees adopting a child under the age of five are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of unpaid adoption leave (shared between both parents). The CEO also provides paid parental leave to cases where the parents are adopting. 9 Paid Parental Leave This refers to paid leave taken for the purposes of caring for a child. The Catholic Education Office pays up to 14 weeks maternity leave to employees who have completed one year of continuous service with the system. The Government’s paid parental leave scheme (PPL) has recently passed through parliament, and will apply to births or adoptions on or after 1 January 2011 ‐ please refer to the CEO Parental Leave policy or the Family Assistance Office website for details. Paternity Leave This type of leave is for fathers of newborn children. Fathers are entitled to one days leave with pay on the date of his spouse’s confinement or on the day which his spouse leaves hospital following her confinement. Up to two weeks paternity leave is available starting on the day their spouse begins to give birth. Such leave shall be deducted from the entitlement to Personal/Carers leave. Fathers are also entitled to up to 52 weeks of continuous unpaid paternity leave if they are the primary caregiver of the child. This is reduced by any other paid leave they have taken during that year, and by any unpaid maternity leave taken by their spouse. You may also be able to access various other forms of leave including carer’s leave, long service leave and leave without pay. Combining different types of leave may extend the time for which you’re being paid by your employer. What are My Entitlements? It is important to seek out the most recent and relevant information regarding your entitlements. Some of the key points from the current legislation include: 
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The Australian Fair Pay and Conditions Standard provides for a maximum of 52 weeks of unpaid parental leave. Parental leave can be taken as maternity, paternity or adoption leave. Parental leave provisions apply to full‐time, part‐time and casual* employees. To be eligible for parental leave, an employee must have been employed for a minimum of 12 months continuous service prior to the expected date of the child’s birth. To be eligible for paternity or adoption leave, the employee must have a minimum of 12 months continuous service at the time the leave is to commence. If medical evidence is provided stating that a pregnant employee is fit to work but is unable to continue in her present position, she is entitled to be transferred to a safe job. *Conditions apply regarding the quantum and regularity of the casual employment. 
When returning to work from parental leave an employee is entitled to return to the position they held prior to going on leave or to a new position if they have been promoted or have accepted a new position. 10 
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If the employee’s former position no longer exists and they are able to work in another position, they are entitled to that other position. If there is more than 1 other position, they are entitled to the position that is most similar to their previous position in terms of pay and status. The employer paid component of parental leave can be paid according to the Parental Leave clause of your relevant Enterprise Agreement and may include half pay and lump sum payments of the entitlement. What Information Should I Receive? As part of sound management practice, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission recommends that Principals/Managers should consider providing information to all staff on: 
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Any pregnancy and parental leave rights and obligations applying at the workplace under an award or agreement. The legal right to unpaid maternity leave at the time of employment, including:  the qualifying period of employment for an employee to access maternity leave  the need for the employee to provide notice of an intention to take parental leave, and medical evidence indicating the estimated date of confinement  the maximum duration of maternity leave  whether leave is paid or unpaid  that the employee is entitled to take part or all of any accrued leave instead of, or in conjunction with, unpaid or paid maternity leave  notification requirements and processes if the employee wants to extend maternity leave  the right of the employee to return to her former position following maternity leave  the necessary processes if the employee wants to vary hours on return to work  information on complaint or grievance procedures if an employee feels that discrimination has occurred.  any workplace specific occupational health and safety considerations for pregnant women.  the employer’s commitment to a non‐discriminatory workplace. What are My Obligations? You should advise your Principal/Manager and then complete the OR1 form at least 10 weeks’ before intending to take parental leave. The Principal/Manager will forward the OR1 form to the Payroll section at the Catholic Education Office. The earlier you provide the notice, the more time you and your Principal/Manager have to plan the transition. You must, at least 4 weeks before proceeding on leave, give written notice of the dates on which you propose to start and end the period of leave. In the case of School Support Staff, leave must commence 4 weeks prior to the date of confinement. You must, before the start of leave, provide a certificate from a medical practitioner confirming that you are pregnant and stating the expected date of birth. 11 You must, before the start of leave, provide a statutory declaration (by the employee) stating, if applicable, the period of any paternity leave sought or taken by your spouse. There are also obligations upon you to adequately advise the Principal in advance of your return to work plans and what if any requests you wish to make regarding temporarily reducing your employment while your child is under school age. Please refer to the Parental Leave policy for details. 1.2 Keeping Safe Keeping healthy and being safe at work is critical for expectant mothers. This means you and your Principal/Manager may need to consider what needs to change or be accommodated as a result of your pregnancy. Whilst many expectant mothers can carry on and work in the same capacity as they did previously, it is important to acknowledge and accept that some things may need to be adjusted or stopped altogether. This may include making changes to your job duties, your hours of work, the use of work equipment, travel arrangements or the work environment itself. Your needs may change throughout your pregnancy so assess your situation regularly. If you are not sure how your job or workplace may impact your pregnancy, it is advisable to seek qualified advice from your doctor. Risk Assessment It is important to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of working women who may be pregnant. When a Principal/Manager is made aware that a staff member is pregnant, a Pregnant Staff Risk Assessment may be undertaken. The school/workplace must review and reassess the relevant work activities and make any modifications and alterations where appropriate to ensure that the staff member is not at any additional risk. Further information is provided in the document ‘A Guide for Pregnant Women Specific Hazards and Risks to Pregnancy’ available on Infopoint. Biological Hazards – Infectious Microbes: The risk from exposure to different biological infections will vary depending on the health and stage of the pregnancy of a pregnant staff member. Any severe infection, whatever the cause, may be detrimental to the health of the mother and child. This should be taken into account in setting up control measures to tackle the risks of infection in the workplace. Every risk of infection to a pregnant staff member needs to be assessed individually, taking advice from the staff member and the staff member’s treating doctor. If a pregnant staff member has no immunity to a specific infection in a school/workplace, making it unsafe for the staff member to remain in the workplace, the staff member will be offered suitable alternative work or a transfer to a safer workplace site till the risk of infection has been eliminated. Further information is provided in the document ‘Specific Hazards, Risks to Pregnancy and Babies’ available on Infopoint. 12 What are My Employer’s Responsibilities? Employers are responsible for making sure they do everything possible to ensure a safe workplace for expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy by carefully considering and discussing with you what changes may need to be accommodated and how. Apart from making the necessary adjustments to your job and work environment, your employer must protect you from discrimination in employment. You have the right to work or continue to work during and following your pregnancy and you should be treated the same as other employees. Your work environment should be free from discrimination and harassment. Discrimination in the Workplace Women in Australia are protected from discrimination in the workplace on the grounds of pregnancy, potential pregnancy, or because they are breastfeeding. There are a number of pieces of legislation that make any such discrimination unlawful – The Workplace Relations Act 1996, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 as well as state‐based anti‐
discrimination, equal opportunity and workplace relations laws. The presence of these laws also means that you have the right to continue working while pregnant and to work again after your pregnancy. Importantly, you should be treated no differently from any other employee, except in the circumstance where you have requested a change to working conditions, often in light of health and safety issues. What are My Responsibilities? It is important that you review your own job responsibilities and work environment and notify your employer of any potential concerns and required changes as a result of your pregnancy. Speak up; particularly if changes are required for health and safety reasons. If you feel your workplace is unsafe during your pregnancy, you should notify your Principal/Manager, explain your concerns, and obtain a medical certificate from your doctor. The medical certificate will make recommendations on any health‐related concerns that your employer should address. 1.3 Organising your Workload and Telling Others During your pregnancy you will need to re‐organise your workload and communicate your pregnancy and leaving plans to your Principal/Manager and your colleagues. When and how you choose to announce your pregnancy to your colleagues is entirely up to you and your Principal/Manager. Many expectant parents choose to wait until their first trimester is over or when they feel the time is right. Every pregnancy is different, so it is important that you feel comfortable with when and how your news is shared. 13 Tips for Organising your Workload and Telling Others Here are some tips to make this process easier: 
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Where possible plan meetings so you are not rushing from one thing to the next. Schedule time off (when possible) to attend medical appointments and advise your Principal/Manager so it is diarised well in advance. Let your colleagues know when you are intending to go on leave so they can organise their own workload and leave arrangements. Start planning the hand‐over and allow time for this – identify what elements of your job will need to be given to others when you are on leave and prepare with your Principal/Manager when and how this will happen. Make sure you schedule any training that will be required well in advance so you don’t find yourself doing too much prior to going on leave. If things don’t go to plan and you are feeling overwhelmed with what you have on your plate, discuss with your Principal/Manager. Some considerations ‐  Try not to be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes, have a well stocked container i.e. biscuits, crackers, mints for nibbling, process in place re toilet breaks, at recess and lunch, sit down and have a rest.  Anticipate needing more time off, not less prior to having the baby, baby’s often arrive earlier than expected. 1.4 Managing Expectations Before going on parental leave, it is important to establish realistic expectations with your Principal/Manager, and your colleagues. This is particularly important if you plan on returning to the same role when you come back to work. Consider how you would like to ‘stay connected’ whilst you are on parental leave. Communicate your intentions both verbally and in a written format (for example, via email) to all relevant parties to ensure they are informed. Please note that your CEO computer login will stay open while on leave, enabling access to emails and Infopoint. If you have any concerns regarding your computer access please contact the CEO ICLT department. Tips for Managing Expectations The following tips will ensure your transition to parental leave is as smooth as possible. 
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Determine what work will be performed differently or undertaken by others during your pregnancy or leave, and discuss this with your Principal/Manager. Decide when you will commence your parental leave and how much leave you would like to take. Communicate any changes to your normal role and/or responsibilities to your colleagues. 14 
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Work with your Principal/Manager to ascertain if your position will need to be performed by another person(s) during your parental leave and plan to allow for a sufficient hand‐over period. Document the key aspects of your role, including processes, contacts, relationship management details and histories. Ensure this documentation is easily accessible for relevant colleagues in your absence. Prepare for and conduct a thorough hand‐over session with the relevant people handling your workload during your parental leave. Provide your ‘on leave’ contact details (if appropriate) and indicate how frequently you will be checking emails and voicemail. Update your ‘Out of Office’ message (or similar) with the agreed contact details and timeframe of your absence. Add any job role/team specific tasks you also need to complete in the space provided: 1.5 Managing Pregnancy at Work Summary Checklist Use this summary checklist for Section 1 to help you manage your pregnancy at work: 
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Review your job and identify potential concerns and areas for change/requiring adjustment during your pregnancy. Consider what modifications could be made to your job responsibilities or work environment – discuss these with your Principal/Manager. Seek expert medical advice if you are at all uncertain about what you should watch out for/ change in your work environment. Regularly review your work commitments and responsibilities throughout your pregnancy – agree on monthly check‐in meetings with your Principal/Manager to discuss progress and potential changes required. Notify your Principal/Manager if you feel your workplace or work activities are unsafe. Consider what would make your life easier at work such as commuting to work outside of peak hours, having a temporary car space at work (where possible) so you can drive to work, and ensuring you take meal breaks. Schedule doctor’s appointments in advance. 15 2
Preparing for
Parental Leave
“I really needed to plan for a smooth handover and
transition for my maternity leave replacement. In hindsight,
I’m so glad I did, because the baby of course, arrived early!”
Employee of the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong
16
2
Preparing and organising yourself for the birth of your baby is often
a preoccupying time for most expectant parents, and sometimes an
overwhelming experience!
Planning for your impending leave is a normal process faced by
every working parent.
Knowing what you need to arrange and prioritise is half the battle.
In this section you will find a comprehensive list of things you, your
spouse and Principal/Manager can do to make your transition to
parental leave smoother.
17
2.1 Preparing for Parental Leave Why Plan? Parents who have taken parental leave will tell you that being prepared for your departure and potential return to work in advance makes the whole experience much less stressful for everyone involved ‐ baby included! “I wish I had thought more about this before I went on leave” is a common response from working parents. “I didn’t realise the huge impact that having a baby would have on continuing to meet my work deadlines and my desire to support my wife in those first chaotic weeks. Second time around I’m clearing my schedule and making plans at work so I can be involved and more present at home for baby no. 2’s first three weeks.” Employee of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Wollongong The benefit of planning in advance means that you can gradually hand‐over work commitments, enjoy a safe pregnancy at work, explore possible return to work options, and review your career aspirations to factor in family and maintaining personal balance. What Do I Need to Plan For? Some of the immediate questions that may spring to mind include: 
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When will I finish work? Who will look after my workload? Will someone take on my additional responsibilities i.e. committees (and share minutes)? How will my work and career plans be impacted? How will my needs be accommodated post‐baby? Should I be planning my return to work now? When will I return and in what capacity? How Do You Answer Those ‘Typical’ Questions? Step 1: Decide when you would like to finish up and plan backwards. Itemise and prioritise your to‐do list. Use the tips in Section 1 to help you do this. Step 2: Conduct your own ‘career review’. Information is provided in this section to assist you with this step. 2.2 Reviewing your Career and Life Goals Regularly reviewing and planning your career is important throughout your working life. 18 It is particularly important for you now as you prepare for parental leave. Your career and life goals are shifting as you start to re‐evaluate your priorities and options. Take time to consider your current career situation and achievements and what the future may hold. For some, your personal goals and intentions for the future will be clear, while for others you may be lacking clarity at this stage. Conduct your own personal review – consider your long‐term career/life goals and determine whether you’re on track to achieve them or not. If you’re not, this time may be an ideal opportunity to make some changes. This next activity will help you to review your career/life goals and will be useful in helping you determine your ideal return to work scenario. Activity: My Career Review and Goals 1. Reflect on everything that you have achieved in your job and career to date that you are proud of and write this down. 2. Imagine all the things (in an ideal world) that you would like to achieve from your job/career (career goals) in the future and how you would like to spend your time (life goals). Write these thoughts and ideas down. Let this be an intuitive process. Brainstorm, don’t analyse (yet). When you have finished, consider what is most important to you (your list may include a variety of things from job responsibilities, personal development and family balance). 3. Write down six more things you would like to achieve. This can include both career and personal (lifestyle and family) goals. You don’t have to achieve all of your goals all at once but you can make a plan to achieve them in the long‐term. 4. Consider what your ideal return to work scenario might be. Brainstorm aspects of the job/ career you want to continue or discontinue; how you would ideally like to balance work and family; what other career options you would like to pursue within the organisation. 5. Finally prioritise what is most important to you in three goal statements that you can share with your Principal/Manager. For example: “I love the stimulation of my current job, I feel there is still so much to learn and I’d like to continue developing my professional expertise.” “I’d like to be able to work 3 days per week for the first 12 months after I return from parental leave and then re‐evaluate my full‐time options.” “It’s important to me that I’m still considered as a valued member of the school and I would like to be considered for future career advancement in my current job should the opportunity arise.” Employees of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Wollongong 19 2.3 Preparing to Return to Work Once you have reviewed your career and life goals, take this opportunity to meet with your Principal/Manager and discuss your performance to‐date, your career goals, return to work intentions, and options for the future. At this stage, while it may be the last thing on your mind, it’s recommended you consider the following before going on leave: 
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Keep a record of performance conversations and documentation resulting from your review meeting. You will find this useful when it comes to negotiating your return to work. Discuss with your Principal/Manager the possibility of fulfilling your role more flexibly when you return (if this is your preference). If your Principal/Manager is reluctant to consider a flexible work arrangement, research and consider presenting a business case proposal to your Principal/Manager to explain how you think it could work. Remember to include what the benefits would be for both you and the organisation. Discuss with your Principal/Manager a plan for ‘staying in touch’ with your colleagues and your school while you’re on leave and ways for keeping your skills up‐to‐date. You may be able to remain on school/CEO email distribution lists and also receive relevant updates via email. Organise subscriptions to relevant online journals, newsletters and updates from your home email address (if you will not have access to a work email address). Finally agree on some initial return to work arrangements that can be explored closer to your return date. It can be reassuring to have this discussion prior to going on leave. “For me it was important to consider my career options so I had some sort of plan about what my work and home life may look like post maternity leave. When you have a baby, there are so many unknowns and I felt more comfortable having thought through my options prior, even though they did change a little! Before your baby comes along, you have more headspace to consider all these issues. Once I had my baby I was tired, emotional and my body hurt. I was in no position to think logically around long‐term career options. All in all, planning ahead took a load off my mind so I could enjoy my new bundle of joy ‐ which wasn’t always a bundle of joy!” Employee of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Wollongong. 20 2.4 Parental Leave Checklist Once you have had your pregnancy confirmed the following checklist is a basic guide to help you manage the lead up to your parental leave: Inform your Principal/Manager that you will be requiring parental leave.  Consider when you plan to commence your leave and apply for your leave  through Employee Self Service (ESS). CEO requires at least ten weeks notice. It would be great however if you could provide your Principal/Manager as much notice as possible. If you wish to continue working past six weeks before the expected date of delivery, you are required to produce a medical certificate from your registered medical practitioner certifying fitness for duty. Provide a copy of the letter from your doctor to your Principal/Manager with  confirmation of the confinement date or in the case of adoption the date of placement as soon as available. Provide a copy of your medical certificate to Human Resource Services. Maintain regular discussion with your Principal/Manager regarding:  
Medical visits and appointments. 
If you require adjustments made to your work. Meet with your Principal/Manager to:  
Discuss how your job will be managed while you are away. 
Discuss your career development and workplan. 
Discuss your preferred methods for staying connected and maintaining communication while away. Plan and start discussing with Principal/Manager:  
Your plans for parental leave and your return to work options. Consider organising your child care needs as early as possible as there are  generally long waiting lists for childcare places. In your last week, tidy up your work space and prepare your handover.  Remember to have a contingency plan should you need to leave work earlier  than planned. Contact you Principal/Manager 6 weeks prior to your planned return date. If  you are considering a flexible work arrangement for your return access the Flexible Work Arrangements to Enhance Work/Life Balance policy on Infopoint. 21 Notify your Principal/Manager of your pregnancy 
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Talk to your Principal/Manager about your pregnancy when the time is right for you to share your news and decide how you/your Principal/Manager will notify colleagues of your pregnancy. Discuss a tentative finish date. Ask for a copy of the organsiation’s Parental Leave policy and confirm what your rights and entitlements are to paid/unpaid leave. Adjust your work to accommodate your pregnancy as required 
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Identify any immediate job responsibilities that might need rescheduling, outsourcing or handing over to someone else due to your pregnancy. Discuss what impact pregnancy might have on your ability to ‘operate as usual’ e.g. if you are part of a duty roster, will you need to change your schedule to accommodate doctor appointments? Plan to check in at least monthly with your Principal/Manager to discuss how things are progressing and what support you may require. If you need to gradually reduce your work commitments/hours prior to going on parental leave, discuss flexible work arrangements to meet both you and your Principal/Manager’s needs. Plan your hand‐over 
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With your Principal/Manager, confirm who will be responsible for elements of your job whilst on leave and book time in advance to train and hand‐over to the relevant person(s). Notify various departments such as payroll, HR and IT when you will be finishing up and find out what your obligations are. Ask your IT team about work from home access during your pregnancy and during parental leave if you have agreed to this with your Principal/Manager. Send out a communication to all relevant colleagues a few weeks before you leave notifying them of your last day and who they can contact during your absence. Consider your return to work career options 
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Consider your ideal return to work scenario. Is it an option to return to your old job with alternative working arrangements or would you like to return to something new? Plan a career review with your Principal/Manager prior to going on parental leave to discuss your future career goals and explore initial return to work options. If you are looking to explore other jobs in your organisation, what type of job/work would you like and how could it positively meet the needs of you and your family? Discuss what options may be available. Consider what hours/days you will need to work that will fit with your family commitments and care arrangements. Explore how you could structure your job tasks/responsibilities to accommodate flexible work options e.g. job share and work from home. How would reduced hours affect your pay versus child care costs? Write down all the possible job options that match your needs and consider how these job options will impact you and your family. Create a short‐list of the best options that fit with your needs. 22 
Consider what child care arrangements you might need. If you are planning to return to work within 12 months, start investigating potential child care options through your local community centres/councils. Agree how you will keep in touch during parental leave 
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Discuss with your Principal/Manager how you would like to be communicated with whilst on leave. What information would you like to be kept in the loop with and how often? Plan which meeting minutes you would like to have distributed to you. If you are on leave during social events, ask to be invited so you can make the decision to attend or not. Inquire about/request opportunities to attend Professional Development Courses of interest. Final week arrangements 
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Ensure hand‐over is complete and identify what work is outstanding. Communicate with relevant person(s) to confirm your last day. Ensure relevant security information and passes are returned as applicable. Confirm your arrangements for keeping in touch whilst on leave. What Should My Principal/Manager Provide? 
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Consult your Principal/Manager for a copy of the organisation’s Parental Leave policy and ask your Principal/Manager to explain their role and responsibilities in helping you plan for parental leave and eventual return to work. Principal/Manager should consider making all reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate the normal effects of pregnancy. An employee is generally entitled to return to the position she/he held prior to commencing leave or to a comparable position if her original job has ceased to exist. 2.5 Sample Letters When applying for parental leave, you must write a letter to the CEO a minimum of 10 weeks before the baby is due, or the date you wish to go on leave. You must attach a medical certificate stating that you are pregnant and the expected due date. You can vary the letter to fit your particular circumstances. Make sure that you keep a copy of all letters to the CEO and those that you receive in response. A further letter confirming the proposed leave arrangements must also be provided to the CEO four weeks before the baby is due, on the date you wish to commence the leave. The attached sample letters may assist in preparing the ’10 week letter’ and the ‘four week letter’. 23 Sample Letter 1 Employee Name & Address Catholic Education Office Head of Human Resource Services Locked Mail Bag 8802 WOLLONGONG NSW 2500 Date Dear Head of Human Resource Services This letter is to notify you that I am pregnant and wish to take maternity leave. I have attached a medical certificate confirming my pregnancy and the expected date of birth. I will write again advising you of the date I would like to start maternity leave and how much leave I would like to take. I understand that I can access workplace policies on parental leave, caring and/or flexible working arrangements on Infopoint, speak with my Principal/ Manager or contact Human resource Services if I have any queries about my leave arrangements. Yours faithfully Cc [NAME OF YOUR PRINCIPAL/MANAGER] 24 Sample Letter 2 You must write a second letter to the CEO four weeks before your baby is due, or the date you wish to start maternity leave. This letter lets the CEO know how much maternity leave you intend to take. A statutory declaration must be attached to the letter. You can change the period of leave you are seeking to suit your own circumstances. Remember, apart from the short period of paternity leave entitlement, you and your spouse cannot take leave at the same time. Employee Name & Address Catholic Education Office Head of Human Resource Services Locked Mail Bag 8802 WOLLONGONG NSW 2500 Date Dear Head of Human Resource Services I would like to take (insert number) weeks maternity leave, starting on (insert date) and returning to work on (insert date). My spouse plans to take (insert number) weeks paternity leave starting on (insert date. Attached is a statutory declaration to this effect. Yours sincerely Yours faithfully Cc [NAME OF YOUR PRINCIPAL/MANAGER] 25 Sample Statutory Declaration I plan to take (insert number) weeks maternity leave starting on (insert date). I plan to return to work on (insert date). As part of my maternity leave I will use (e.g. 10 weeks long service leave) starting on (insert date) and finishing on (insert date). My spouse plans to take (insert number) weeks paternity leave starting on (insert date) and finishing on (insert date). While I am on maternity leave I intend to be my child’s primary care giver. I will not engage in any activity while on maternity leave which is inconsistent with my employment contract. Signed by [signature and date] Signature Witnessed by [full name, address, signature and date] 26 3
Your Time
on Leave
“With my first child I originally thought I would have six
months off and return to work part-time, three days ideally. I
ended up only having four months off and worked up to four
days a week! The second time around, I planned to take only
four months leave and return to work four days a week, but I
ended up having seven months off. Things can change! Both
times though I kept the lines of communication open with my
Principal”.
Employee of the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong
27
3
Parental leave is a great time to re-focus.
The wonderful and alarming reality has hit that your life has changed
forever.
Social interaction is more critical than ever. For many, we are used to
working in a team environment. The change to being at home on your
own with a baby can be confronting and a shock to the usual way you
lived your life.
If you are planning to return to work, staying connected during your
parental leave will be important for your confidence and, ultimately,
will make your transition back to work easier.
Most important is to maintain your self confidence so you feel ready
and positive when the time comes to return to work. Lack of self
confidence is one of the top three barriers that parents say prevents
them from returning to work.
This section will arm you with ideas to keep you motivated and
confident.
28
3.1 Keeping Your Skills Up to Date During parental leave, many parents often experience a lack of self confidence when it comes to their career and the prospect of returning to work. It is so common, and happens simply because you are removed from the workplace for a period of time. Experience has shown that women who have returned to work are pleasantly surprised at how quickly they fit back in, and how much knowledge they have actually retained and gained. In order to make the transition back to work as smooth as possible, it’s important to maintain your skills while you’re on leave. Be proactive. Seek out opportunities that enable you to retain and build on your current skills. This checklist will provide you with some ideas. Tool: Skills Checklist while you’re on leave, remember to: 
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Keep your computer skills up‐to‐date. Continue using any form of technology you have access to – email, the internet, various applications on your computer. Familiarity with technology will help maintain your confidence. Keep your name on an email distribution list at work so you are copied in on the progress and updates of different projects. If you don’t have a computer at home, and won’t have access to your work laptop, consider purchasing or leasing a computer. Alternatively seek out a computer that you can access regularly. Consider attending staff/team meetings at work from time to time, if appropriate. If you’re planning to return to work in a different role, investigate what skills you will need and if necessary enrol in a part‐time course while on leave. Subscribe to online newsletters that will keep you up‐to‐date with industry news and developments. Read relevant articles, newspapers, magazines and surf the internet to keep your knowledge current. Maintain your network of professional contacts. Touch base with your contacts while on parental leave, either by email or telephone. Join relevant professional associations and attend networking groups. Enrol in an external course or ask your Human Resource Services department about any online courses available to employees. Seek out volunteer opportunities while on leave (if you have time!). There may be opportunities that revolve around your children. Use these opportunities to keep your skills current. These types of activities will expand your social and business network, and keep you up‐to‐date on industry developments. Volunteer work is an ideal way to maintain work experience while on parental leave. Consider contract work while you’re on leave. Small projects may fit in with your schedule and will enable you to keep your skills fresh. 29 3.2 How Long Do I Take Off? Unfortunately, you may as well be asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’ because only you can decide how long to take off. You know yourself and your child better than anyone, and therefore what would work best. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. What do you honestly feel would work for you and your family? Hopefully the fact that there is no ‘right’ answer comes as somewhat of a relief. But if you’re still ‘anguishing’ … to help you think through possible contributing factors, here’s a quick and simple list of questions you may like, or need, to consider for your individual situation. From there you can create an action plan to help you make your decision. Activity: How Long Do I Take Off? Run through the list below and tick which questions you want or need to investigate further. Add any thoughts or notes in the space provided. Time with Baby How much time do you want/need to spend with your baby? How much time and attention do you feel your baby wants/needs from you? Breastfeeding Are you breastfeeding – how long do you envisage (roughly) you will breastfeed for? Is breastfeeding / expressing at work something you’re comfortable with? Is there somewhere clean and comfortable you can breastfeed/express at work? Could the baby be nearby for you to breastfeed while at work? Child Care What type of care (aside from you) are you comfortable using for your baby? What family support do you want/need/can you access? Is there a crèche/family care close to your work that you are happy with? Is the type of care you want available when you want to return to work? Your Job Role Are you emotionally, physically and mentally ready for a return to work? What level of responsibility/authority do you have at work – and therefore what would be a reasonable length of time to be on leave? Do you have outstanding/ongoing/incomplete work commitments that need your personal attention? Can you work from home? Can you stagger your return to work? Is this an option that would work for you, your organisation and your job role? Would a change in job role be an option? Are you willing and ready for the juggle and ongoing negotiation involved in being a part‐time worker/part‐time mum? 30 Money What’s your financial situation – do you need your income? How much money does your family need each month? Can you/are you willing to downsize your living expenses to balance out less income? Your Organisation Do you have access to flexible work arrangements? Are there role models of success in the organisation who have a flexible work arrangement? Are flexible work arrangements openly supported and encouraged? Is your work supportive of working mums? Are there any penalties – financial, promotion‐based or covert if you extend or change your leave? Do those penalties bother you? Does your organisation/Principal/Manager understand and value the financial and talent retention benefits of retaining working mothers? Spouse What are your spouse’s expectations? Are you communicating regularly with your spouse about your feelings and expectations regarding returning to work? Does your spouse share the same responsibilities of parenthood and housework? Top Three Looking back now at the questions you’ve placed a tick next to… 1. From this list, what are your top three priorities? 2. How can you action/resolve them? 3. What answers/solutions do they present to help you work out when you will return to work? 31 4
Planning to
Return to Work
“Good child care, a supportive spouse, and a
flexible employer are critical to returning to work
successfully. If you have these things in place, the
upside is – your maintenance of self-identity, a rest
from home and your child, the ability to earn money
and the feeling of independence that comes from
that, mental stimulation, and the ability for you to
leverage off the investment (work and study) to date
in your career. ”
Employee of the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong
32
After full-time parenting, the idea of returning to work can seem
daunting, particularly if you’re not sure what work arrangements
your current Principal/Manager will accommodate.
The following section aims to make the return to work experience
more straightforward for you. It explains the types of things you will
need to prepare and plan for before you return to work.
To begin, think about what you want. Revisit your career and life
goals from Section 2. The clearer the picture, the more likely you
are to choose the ideal return to work option that is right for you,
your Principal/Manager and your family.
33
4
4.1 Evaluating Your Career and Return to Work Options Regularly reviewing your career allows you to clarify your career aspirations and family needs. Becoming a working parent means that your focus, needs and desires may shift and it’s good to re‐
evaluate what’s important to you before committing to a return to work arrangement. The following career management process provides a simple framework to help you identify and consider all your options: 1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Imagine the future. Conduct a thorough self‐assessment. Discuss your goals with your Principal/Manager and identify options. If you are seeking a new internal job, conduct research and network internally. Create action plans and ensure follow‐through. Career Management Process Framework 1. Imagine the future While it is difficult to know exactly how your working life will unfold now that you’re a parent, set some time aside to reflect on the working future you desire. In a journal or with friends and family spend some dedicated time dealing with the questions listed below. This exercise will help you to identify what’s important and stay focused. The remainder of chapter 5 will support you to answer these questions. 1. What do I want to gain from returning to work? 2. Will I return to my previous job or is it time to start something new elsewhere within the organisation? 3. If I would like to try something new, what role would I like? What type of responsibilities and tasks do I want? What will motivate me and fit with family? What is most important to me? Who will I need to approach e.g. Human Resource Services or Principal/Manager to find out what other job vacancies may be a match with my capability and desires? 4. If I plan to return to my previous job prior to parental leave, what are my Principal/Manager needs and expectations compared with my own? What needs could I compromise and negotiate? 5. What days and hours would I ideally want to work? 6. What flexible work arrangements would I be prepared to consider? E.g. part‐time vs job share, flexible work location, part at home and part in the office. 7. What child care arrangements will I need and how will I source care? What alternative care options might be feasible e.g. sharing a nanny with someone else I know? 8. What might I need to organise and arrange to prepare my family for my return to work? See the ‘Return To Work Checklist in Section 5.4 for ideas. 34 2. Conduct a thorough self‐assessment Ultimately, your career (and life) destiny is up to you. Knowing what you’re good at is an important step to enable you to make informed career choices. Self‐assessment enables you to identify your strengths and potential job options. There are many self‐assessment tools available – you may have completed some with your current or past employers. Alternatively, there are a number of free self‐assessment tools available on the internet such as www.assessment.com.au and www.seek.com.au Gather all this information together to build a picture of the strengths, values and qualities you offer. Reflect on your current and past roles, and make a note of the things you have particularly enjoyed about each role – which tasks and components have provided you with the greatest satisfaction? Knowing what work you like to do will help you make the right decision about whether to continue in your current role or to seek a new opportunity. 3. Discuss your goals with your Principal/Manager and identify options Once you have a clearer picture of what future direction you would like your career path (and life) to take, articulate some key goals you will aim for in the next 1‐3 years to achieve your aspirations. Even if these goals mean taking a ‘time off’ from career development and not working towards the next promotion to prioritise other things in your life, that’s OK. These are still valid goals. What’s important is acknowledging these goals and making a personal commitment to remain focused on them. Share your career (and life) goals with your Principal/Manager, either pre or post parental leave, so they understand your personal motivators and aspirations. See Section 2.3 for tips on conducting a career review with your Principal/Manager. In order to prepare for this conversation: 
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Write down a one‐page career management plan which states your career objective. Propose how you would like to return to work and in what capacity. Make a time to meet with your Principal/Manager even when you are on parental leave, if not before. Communicate your key strengths and interests. Brainstorm some options that might be mutually beneficial to you and your Principal/Manager. For tips on how to negotiate with your Principal/Manager see Section 5.2. 4. If you are seeking a new internal job, conduct research and network internally If you’re not keen to go back to what you used to do prior to your parental leave and don’t know what other options are available, you’re probably thinking ‘what else can I do?’ There may have been elements of your previous job which you really enjoyed but you’re still not interested in returning to it. Isolate those enjoyable elements and identify roles that have a stronger focus in those areas. 35 Conduct research to determine how realistic your goals and return to work plan is and be able to adjust your expectations. For example, there may not be another alternative vacancy available so you may have to weigh up your options. Make a decision about whether you can live with returning to your current job and wait for the right opportunity to come up in the future. To determine what alternative job options are available, review relevant job vacancies (on the organisation’s Internet site) and talk to your Principal/Manager or the Human Resource Services department. Enquire what the process is for applying for internal jobs and how you could apply while on parental leave. Networking plays an important role in determining what options are available to you. Mind map your extended network within your organisation and identify four people with whom you can meet to discuss career opportunities in their teams or business units: 
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Pick other people’s brains ‐ ask them what they really do in their job. Speak to other women who have successfully made the return to work – have they got any advice? If you have an inkling of what you’d like to do, speak to someone who already does that job and find out what is involved. Keep an open mind and consider all potential options. 5. Create action plans and ensure follow‐through Use the time you have before going back to work to create an action plan. This will make the transition from full time parenting to working parent feel easier! To support you in this process, use the ‘Career Management Action Plan’ template on the next page. You can also use this template to summarise and document your conversations with your Principal/Manager. See also Section 5.4 for a ‘Return To Work Checklist’. Activity: Career Management Action Plan My career goal/s: My ideal return to work arrangement is: Additional resources / support required: 4.2 Negotiating your Return to Work and Flexibility Whether it’s your current Principal/Manager or a new Principal/Manager that you need to approach to agree a flexible working arrangement, it’s important you feel prepared and confident about negotiating a ‘deal’ that will work for you and the organisation. 36 The following steps will provide ideas on how to handle a negotiation situation effectively. 1. Prepare Preparing in advance is essential. Know the facts about your situation ‐ be clear in your own mind about what it is you are trying to achieve or gain from the discussion. Consider how your own needs might affect your Principal/Manager and colleagues, both positively and negatively. Identify other people who have returned to work and find out how they did it. Determine what your Principal/Manager’s needs are before you initiate a meeting to discuss your situation. For example, you may wish to negotiate to reduce your work responsibilities. How will this impact your job, colleagues and Principal/Manager? Write down and prepare a business case that proposes the options you would like your Principal/Manager to consider – include the positives and trade‐offs and how these might be overcome or diminished. 2. Approach your Principal/Manager To start the negotiation conversation, seek an appropriate moment to book in a time to have a meeting with your Principal/Manager to discuss the matter. Explain the topic you wish to discuss to alleviate the element of surprise ‐ this also allows your Principal/Manager to prepare for the meeting. During the discussion state your situation and needs. Proactively ask questions to clarify the needs and initial concerns of your Principal/Manager. Share your business case proposal with your Principal/Manager and run through the positives and trade‐offs. 3. Explore Options Ask for feedback and discuss ALL the options by brainstorming as many ideas and alternatives as possible. Be realistic about your expectations, and acknowledge the issues you and your Principal/Manager face. Focus on solving any problems that have been raised by your Principal/Manager. Short list the most mutually agreeable option. 4. Seek Agreement Work with your Principal/Manager in partnership to try and help one another achieve a win/win outcome. 37 Be prepared to ‘give way’ or ’give up’ some points. If you approach the conversation with a positive conciliatory attitude and show that you are prepared to be somewhat flexible, your Principal/Manager is more likely to respond in kind. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground on your important needs or critical issues. An unsatisfactory outcome is only unlikely to unravel or fail later on. If you are having trouble reaching the ‘right’ outcome or solution, suggest to your Principal/Manager that you agree to a ‘trial arrangement’ and review this after a period of time e.g. 3 months to see what’s working and what could be arranged differently. Agree next steps even if you haven’t reached a firm conclusion so you can continue the conversation at a later stage. What if my Principal/Manager won’t budge? Ask your Principal/Manager to consider your proposal over the next few days and to propose an alternative arrangement and final decision. If your proposal is knocked back ask for the key reasons why and ask for them in writing. 4.3 Managing the Transition Returning to work can be a really exciting time for many parents. You will once again be using the career skills you enjoy, earning money, and working with adults. To ensure a smooth transition from full‐time parent to working parent, make sure you have addressed the following items: 
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Child care. Organise child care before you return to work. During this time, you can prepare yourself and your child for the change ahead. You may wish to start leaving your child with a family member or a friend for a few hours every now and then so they get used to you not being there all the time. A few weeks before you start back at work, parents often formally start their children at child care so if there are teething problems, you are close by. Working flexibility. Once you have agreed on a return to work option that suits you and your employer, consider what work and other arrangements will need to be made in order to accommodate the flexible work arrangement. E.g. will a job share partner need to be recruited? Update your skills if necessary. If you feel your work skills are ‘rusty’ after being at home full‐time with your child, consider how you can refresh and update your skills so you feel more prepared and confident about returning to work. E.g. find out what has been happening at work in your absence. Ask your Principal/Manager to provide you with relevant information to keep up‐to‐date on organisation changes. Meet with your colleagues. Attend a staff meeting. Go out to lunch with colleagues. These activities will help you to start thinking about work again and feel more connected. 38 
Have realistic expectations. The transition back to work requires patience and understanding. There will be times when it feels overwhelming and too hard. There will be good days and bad, just like with parenting! Take one step at a time and try not to overload yourself with unrealistic expectations of what you can and can’t do. Remember to ‘take charge’ and ask for help if it’s all getting on top of you and do what you need to do in order to stay focused and sane! 4.4 Returning to Work Checklist Seek family support: 
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Talk to your family about planning your return to work: discuss what you hope to gain; what working arrangements you’d like; how you are feeling about the prospect of returning to work; what support you need and what changes you anticipate once you’ve returned to work. Get their feedback; listen to their comments and suggestions. Seek support from others in the areas you need it most e.g. someone who can babysit while you meet with your employer; if you are changing jobs (internally) so that you may attend interviews, what possible household chores could you share/outsource so you can focus your efforts on planning for your return to work. Re‐fresh your skills: 
If you are concerned that your professional talents and skills have waned, seek ways to re‐fresh your knowledge. You might do this by enrolling in re‐fresher courses, contacting industry associations to get connected to your profession again, undertaking volunteer work, asking your employer to send you copies of latest organisation plans and news before you start back at work. Consider your ideal return to work: 
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Brainstorm and consider your ideal return to work scenario: is it an option to return to your current position or are other internal job options available? In an ideal world we would love the perfect return to work arrangement, however, ask yourself ‘what are you prepared to trade off’ if necessary. What hours / days will you need to work that will fit with your family commitments and care arrangements? Discuss options with your Principal/Manager: 
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Consider your Principal/Manager and team needs. What concerns may they have about you returning to work in a flexible capacity and how might these concerns be alleviated? Think about both of your needs and how it could work to your mutual advantage. How could you structure your job tasks/responsibilities to accommodate flexible work options? 39 
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Write down all the possible options that match your needs and consider how these will impact you and your family. Create a short‐list of the best options that fit with your needs. Ask your Principal/Manager to ‘trial’ a flexible working arrangement for a period of time to see how things go; revise as required. What will be the financial impact of returning to work?: 
Look at the costs that will be associated with your return to work, such as child care and transport, and prepare a weekly budget of the likely costs versus likely income. If required, seek help from professional financial planners, accountants or government family assistance programs. Review your child care needs and options: 
Research all possible child care facilities and options that will suit you and your family. Learn from other parents who have returned to work: 
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Contact other parents you know who have returned to work, ask how they returned to work and what helpful tips they could pass on to you. Contact past work colleagues; particularly those who are working parents that might be able to suggest flexible work options. Final tips: 
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Plan monthly activities and use a ‘to‐do list’ with your Principal/Manager/family to make your transition to parental leave more manageable and less overwhelming. Revise your ideas and plans regularly. Parenting demands mean things can change at short notice. 40 5
Managing Your
Career as a
Working Parent
“Now that I’m a mother I have much more empathy and
understanding for colleagues with children, and much
more maturity.”
Employee of the Catholic Education Office,
Diocese of Wollongong
41
There’s a lot to consider when managing the responsibilities of
work and family life. We notoriously hear the words ‘balance’ and
‘juggle’ thrown into the career/parent mix, but isn’t it time we left
that onerous skill to circus clowns?
Instead, let’s talk about strategies that support your desire for
raising happy, loved kids while pursuing a career that adds meaning
and financial reward to your life.
Can it be done? Yes. Many families have found their happy medium.
Like any choice, you need to find yours.
This section provides ideas, and strategies for planning your career,
managing your time, sharing the load, and re-setting expectations.
Also included a host of tips and advice from parents already out
there managing their career as a working parent.
42
5
5.1 Managing Your Career Managing your career becomes more challenging after you have children. Before children, all you had to worry about was your career, your social life and your personal relationships. Children add a whole new dimension of responsibility and selflessness to your life. That is not to say that your own personal needs should be ignored, not that your career aspirations are null and void. Undoubtedly, you have worked hard at attaining your qualifications and you have accumulated significant experience, skills and career interests. If you haven’t already reviewed your career and return to work options, consider the following ideas to manage your career as a working parent: 
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Consider your work flexibility needs on a regular basis. Flexibility requirements may change as your children grow older. It’s important to recognise that needs change and it’s OK, you just need to adapt. You may choose to work more during some stages of your kids lives and be at home more for other stages. No one can define what the happy balance is because we are all different. To achieve your own successful balance, you have to be happy about the choices you make and ensure that family responsibilities are shared. It is important however to also consider the needs of your workplace in providing a quality service to the children enrolled in CEO schools. By considering your needs early and communicating them to the Principal/Manager as far in advance as possible, you will be greatly assisting your employer in accommodating your request as well as the genuine business needs of the organization. Please refer also to the Flexible Work Arrangements to Enhance Work/Life Balance policy. Do a health check on your career. Are you where you want to be or do you feel like you are being left behind? If you have been doing the same job for a long period of time and you are unsatisfied, talk to your Principal/Manager. Make sure you apply for suitable internal jobs that match your experience. If a full‐time person is required, build a case for job sharing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Organise your home life. If the home front is running smoothly (most of the time!), then you will have more time to focus on your career while you are at work. For example, if you have great child care arrangements (including drop‐off and pick‐up), a regular house cleaner, you have pre‐cooked some meals, and you and your spouse take turns in cooking dinner, you won’t be sitting at work spending your time worrying about your responsibilities at home. Be confident in your skills and abilities. You are a skilled, experienced and responsible employee returning to work. If you have returned to work flexibly, you are being paid on a pro‐rata basis so you are not getting more than you deserve. Manage your time more effectively. Plan and schedule your day around what’s most important: make a daily ‘to do’ list and priortise accordingly. If you decide to work during your leave be mindful of not overextending yourself with casual or temporary employment when you have a new family. Also as most of us know, email and phone calls can soon take over your life and make you less efficient. Use your time wisely during the peak times during your working day. Manageable and realistic work arrangements should be addressed when you negotiate your return to work arrangement. When you do return to work you should approach your Principal/Manager and discuss any problems you are experiencing with the arrangements. 43 
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Update your skills. Talk to Human Resource Services or your Principal/Manager about training that may be available to employees while on parental leave as well as keeping in touch strategies that can be engaged. Ask for help. Don’t forget, everyone of us from time to time could benefit from a little help, but if you don’t ask for it, don’t expect to get it! If things are getting on top of you, sit down and examine all the balls you have in the air, prioritise, work out what you can outsource to others (at least for a temporary period until you are on top of things), re‐evaluate how efficiently you are working and what you could do differently. Just venting and talking about it to someone understanding can make the world of difference. 5.2 Surviving and Enjoying the First Year Back at Work The first year back at work for many parents is undoubtedly the hardest. Learning to juggle the often conflicting demands of work and home and learning how to reinvent yourself as a working parent will help you to not only survive but enjoy being back at work. “The thing for me has been to acknowledge my faults and that I am human. Acknowledge that my life has changed – it’s different now. Seek help when I need it. Learn some techniques to relax. Try to slow down when I can. Be in the now, the moment. Value the present with my children because that time can never be recaptured. Be realistic about what can be achieved every day. Schedule some ‘me’ time every week. And as my children get older and, hopefully, more rational, it may, get a little easier.” Employee of the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Wollongong Enjoy your career as a working parent: 1. Develop your career resilience Resilience is your ability to cope with adversity – the tough times. It allows you to deal with change and confront challenges by having tenacity and adaptability – something parents encounter everyday as they nurture and negotiate with their children! Career resilience is about you adapting to changes in your work environment to meet the demands of your situation – made all the more challenging once you become a parent because suddenly there’s more than only you to think about in the equation. All is not lost. You can develop career resilience and it can be easier than you think. Here’s how: 
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Don’t sweat the small stuff, it’s only natural things won’t always go to plan. Identify the big ticket items impacting you and focus your energy on addressing these; forget the inconsequential work and life dramas that will pop up from time to time. Realise you are only human ‐ sometimes we achieve less than we like to deliver. Accept change is inevitable, and good! Just like it’s important that your child changes and grows through his or her development milestones, it’s important you do too. If something isn’t working out, instigate change rather than letting things consume you. 44 

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Take control of your career destiny – choose your career path and development options rather than letting it choose you. Have meaning in what do and who you are. Be clear about your own self identify and understand what you want to achieve from your career and life. Invest quality time in creating and maintaining meaningful and worthwhile personal and professional relationships. These people can support you during the ups and downs and do wonders for your self‐esteem! 2. Find a professional mentor Seek out someone you know and respect, either in or outside your organisation and industry, who is prepared to be a mentor or sounding board, particularly during those first six months back at work. Share your challenges and wins and discuss ways to deal with the tough work or family challenges that are thrown your way. As they say, “two heads are better than one”. 3. Create a 5‐year career and life plan As life circumstances change, so too will your aspirations, motivators and anxieties – that’s normal. Having a clear career direction and knowing how that fits with family will give you clarity and meaning about what is important to you and what might need to change in your life as a result. Set yourself some career goals or aims that inspire you and give you peace of mind that you are on track; during the hard times revisit these and make adjustments. Even if your plan is to eventually follow a different career path or to downshift your career progression and development for a year or more, your career goals will help you stay focused on your true objectives and what is important to you in life. 4. Seek career coaching or counselling If you feel directionless and unsure of your career goals and are struggling to manage the whole work/life balance in reality, consider seeing a professional career coach or counsellor who can help you work through what’s important to you. 5. Reinvent yourself as a working parent Be realistic. Some things you used to do before won’t be able to be achieved necessarily in the same way now. Being a parent is not an ailment, something we should be ashamed or feel second class about – quite frankly working parents are amazing. You and others will marvel at your ability to juggle getting the kids ready in the morning, having time to walk the dog, dropping your partner to the train station, taking dinner out of the freezer, then arriving at work by 8.30am prepared for an assembly/meeting! But they won’t marvel if you don’t tell them...all too often parents accomplish all of these things quietly and without complaint, never sharing the load or even venting their reality. It’s important to create boundaries and communicate clear expectations of what you can and can’t do what you will need help with, and what flexibility you can give and will need in return. 45 6. The grass isn’t always greener Many parents report staying‐at‐home and raising kids as the toughest (whilst enjoyable) job that they have ever done. When things get hard and you feel like your options are limited, focusing on ‘how green the grass is on the other side’ is common. We focus on all the things we don’t have or that aren’t working for us versus the positive things that are. Before making any momentus or drastic life and career moves, objectively weigh up all the pluses and minuses of your situation. Focus on what is working well for you and how you can tap into that more. Isolate the core issues that aren’t working for you and brainstorm alternative options. 7. Reflect and celebrate milestones and achievements Whether times are good or tough, make time to reflect on your situation. Personal reflection can give you perspective and help you realise just what you’re capable of. Get away from your everyday surrounds to help you get mindspace for a few hours. Reward yourself in whatever way works for you when you have achieved something you are proud of no matter how trivial it might be to others. For example, being able to drop your children at care without a flood of tears from you and the child, or the fact that you survived a tough week. 8. What about career progression and development? A common fear for parents when they return to work is that they may be sidelined for promotion or somewhat marginalised because they work. Your fears might be real or perceived; the only way to find out is to ask. The reality is if you don’t have confidence in your own capability, you can’t expect others to. If you don’t have an idea of your career direction you can’t expect others to create it for you. In other words, no one can give you confidence or develop your career for you, you need to nurture and develop it yourself (leaning on others for input and support when required). It’s about harnessing your strengths and drawing on your experiences so you can put your best foot forward whether it’s about negotiating a pay rise, the next promotion, or flexible work arrangements. If you undersell yourself and your capability, you not only do yourself a disservice, you effectively permit other people to stereotype you or discriminate against you. Your level of job satisfaction is likely to take a nose drive. Be proactive and review your career plan, discuss options with your Principal/Manager, spouse and other relevant people to support your continued learning and development. If you are focused on the next career promotion, be upfront, so your Principal/Manager knows your intentions and aspirations rather than leaving them to guess or assume. 5.3 Managing Your Workload and Expectations Many working parents feel somewhat frustrated and exhausted meeting the demands of work and family commitments. 46 A working parent is a project manager extraordinaire. Effectively managing your workload, both in the workplace and at home will ensure you remain sane. Setting clear and firm expectations is an important part of this process. Set Clear Expectations As an ongoing practice, it’s important to continue to keep the communication lines open with your family and colleagues to manage expectations. In many cases you can avoid conflict and stress by initially setting firm boundaries. Once you’ve been back at work for a couple of months, take time out to reflect on how your arrangements are working. Where necessary, re‐communicate expectations regarding your deliverables and availability. Avoid making compromises that may encourage your colleagues to expect more from you than you’re prepared to give. Personal Efficiency Not having enough hours in the day is a common complaint of many working parents. Being effective and efficient with the time you have will help you achieve more in each day. ‘Time management’ is the oft‐prescribed remedy to feeling out of control. Consider though that time is not something we can control. What we can control is ourselves, how and with whom we use our valuable time. Consider these following tips: 




Prioritise all your activities and commitments – at home and at work ‐ and focus your time on your most important ones first and foremost. Remember the world is unlikely to end if you don’t get to respond to everything by the day’s end – the reality is that this too happens to non‐parents! Say no! This will become easier once you have completed the prioritising. Assess individual requests and demands of your time and determine how important they are. Say no to the non‐
important requests. Manage your email at work, don’t let it manage you. Learn to really use whatever email application you have. Many of us don’t use even 40 per cent of the available functionality. Try only checking your emails twice a day at two regular and specified times, for example 10 am and 4 pm. You can use the ‘out of office’ function to inform people that these are the times you check email and that if their request is urgent they should contact you on your mobile. Otherwise you will respond at that specified time. Outsource where possible. Using your annual income as a guide, determine how much your time is worth per hour. If you can outsource tasks (e.g. the house cleaning) and pay less for a service than your time is worth, then do so. Look after number one – that’s you. If you aren’t fit and healthy the chances are you are not being as effective at work or at home as you would like! Take the necessary time out to look after yourself, even if that means spoiling yourself with weekly and monthly rewards that involve your wellbeing. 47 5.4 Balancing Work and Family Tips Here are some more ideas that can help you achieve an improved balance between work and family. At work At home Make a daily ‘to‐do’ list and prioritise the tasks. Plan, shop and prepare meals in advance when possible, making it easier to attend to when you get home. Consider shopping online to save time. Break large tasks into smaller parts and action these one at a time based on the priority. Keep a family calendar to schedule holidays, events, appointments and other important times so you can plan work and other family commitments around these dates. Periodically review your work and ask yourself, “is Establish a family routine and share the this the best use of my time?” “What can I do to household chores. e.g. if you do child care drop‐
save myself time yet achieve the same outcome?” off one day, your spouse does the following day. When feeling stretched, ask yourself, “would Get help when you need it for the chores you anything terrible happen if I didn’t do this today?” can’t find time for. Eliminate unnecessary chores. If the answer is “no,” then re‐prioritise during busy periods. Ask for support when you need it and seek Make time to relax. Reward yourself with the feedback on how you and your manager / team things that you enjoy doing in your personal time. can work together better to support one another. This might include walking the dog once a week, going to yoga or seeing a movie with a friend. Don’t try to pack too much into one day. Have realistic expectations of what you can achieve. Look for ways to manage your working week more simply, e.g. allocate a day a week that you have a takeaway dinner, change the sheets etc At the end of the day, review your ‘to‐do’ list and Prepare yourself and the children the night before re‐prioritise your work for the next day. for the day ahead e.g. packing lunches. 48 Delegate! Plan nice things to do with your family on days off work, something to look forward to for both you and your children. Because circumstances change don’t be afraid to re‐negotiate expectations and flexible arrangements with your employer as required. Find time to exercise. Even a 20 minute walk twice a week can work wonders. This can be done to and from work, during lunch or with the family when you get home. Career It’s obvious that your career will change when you have children. There’s a whole raft of new things you’ll have to manage as outlined in this Toolkit ‐ how your parental leave is managed, return to work options, how you’re perceived in the workplace when you return, guilt that you’re letting people down, ongoing changes, skill gaps, management of expectations for what’s possible… There is an overwhelming amount of statistics about such buzz words as the ‘War for Talent’, ‘Off‐
ramping/On‐ramping’, ‘The Part‐Time Paradox’ and so on. ‘Off‐ramping’ means to voluntarily leave your career for a period of time. Here’s a small collection of interesting statistics you really need to know, if you don’t already: 
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More than one‐third of highly qualified women ‘off‐ramp’ for some period of time. The vast majority (ninety‐three per cent) want to return to work. Most find this more difficult than they anticipated. Ninety‐five per cent of ‘off‐rampers’ would not consider going back to their previous employers. Companies with more women in senior management financially outperform companies with proportionally fewer women at the top. A 2007 report commissioned by the UK prime minister, revealed: Women with young children suffer more discrimination at work than any other group. The way in which our workplaces are changing and need to evolve is not a women’s issue. It’s not even a moral issue. It’s a business issue. 49 YOU FIRST Summary Make your own choices that are going to fit for you. Don’t worry about what others think of you – you’ve really got to publicly back yourself in both the workplace and the playground. Communicate: Have the frank conversations needed with your Principal/Manager and your colleagues in the workplace, on the home front with your partner, and influential family members. Take responsibility at all times when you feel something isn’t working. Don’t stay silent about what your life is really like now. Find other mothers to relate to. Build a community. Find new role models of success and workplace champions. Understand your motivations: There’s a theory that says there are broadly three types of women today – stay‐at‐home traditionals, career‐based women, and adaptors who move between both roles. Which one are you? The key to Karen Miles’ YOU FIRST model is this – don’t try to tackle a return to work until you’ve mastered the phases that lie beneath it. Competency in those stages will help you to build a strong foundation for a successful, fulfilling career. And above all, and at all times, put YOU FIRST by backing your instincts, backing your needs and backing yourself. Tip: Download the free ‘Female Talent’ e‐book at www.karenmiles.com.au if you’re interested in some great stats to show your manager to support your business case for flexible work options. 50 6
Top Ten
Frequently Asked
Questions
Prepared by the Independent Education Union (IEU)
51
1. What is parental leave? Parental leave includes: Maternity leave– a period of leave taken by the mother; and Paternity leave–
taken by a male employee in connection with the birth of his child or his spouse’s child; and Adoption leave– leave taken by a male or female employee to adopt a child under 18 years (under 5 years in ACT and under Federal law) NSW and Commonwealth legislation grant up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave, and current NSW awards and the 2009 Federal Fair Work Act provide the “right to request” a further 52 weeks. As per the Fair Work Act, the employer must respond in writing to such a request within 21 days. 2. Who is eligible for parental leave? To qualify for parental leave, an employee must have had 12 months of continuous service with their current employer (including any period of authorised leave or absence under one or more unbroken contracts of employment.). In the case of most Catholic schools, continuous service with another Catholic school immediately before the current employment may also count towards the 12 months. In certain circumstances, long term temporary and casual employees may also be eligible for parental leave – please seek specific advice from the Union if you think this may apply to you. 3. What is the entitlement to unpaid and paid parental leave? Unpaid: There is a statutory entitlement to 52 weeks unpaid leave for all eligible employees the birth or adoption of a child. As previously noted, State award employees and those under Federal agreements may request to extend the unpaid leave for another year. Paid: Catholic Schools: Teachers in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic and most Catholic independent schools are entitled to 14 consecutive weeks paid maternity leave which counts as service, subject to some conditions. These conditions relate to the four weeks before the due date of birth and to school holidays within the 14 week period. IEU members should contact the Union to discuss their specific circumstances. The awards for support staff and for maintenance and outdoor staff in Catholic systemic schools also provide for 14 weeks paid maternity leave, subject to some conditions. Independent schools: Teachers, support staff and boarding staff in NSW and ACT independent (AIS) schools have at least 12 weeks maternity allowance which does not count as service. This has been increased to 14 weeks in those schools which have reached Federal agreements with the IEU or which are covered by the 2007 NSW award for independent schools. Members in NSW and ACT independent schools should contact the IEU to clarify any issues relating to their maternity leave entitlements. 4. What is necessary to apply for maternity leave? ‐ give your employer 10 weeks written notice of your intention to take leave (for employees under Federal law, a medical certificate as described in point 3 below should be provided at this time; ‐ at least 4 weeks before going on leave, you must write to your employer to give notices of the dates on which you propose to start and finish the leave (for employees under Federal law the statutory declaration as described in point 4 below should also be provided at this time); ‐ before you go on leave, you must provide a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy and the expected date of birth; 52 ‐ before you go on leave, you must, if applicable, provide a statutory declaration setting out any paternity leave to be taken by your spouse (for employees under Federal law you must in all cases provide this declaration which must also include a statement that at all times during the leave the employee intends to be the primary care‐giver of the child and that the employee will not engage in conduct inconsistent with her contract of employment). 5. Does parental leave count as service? Unpaid parental leave does not count as service for accrual of leave, salary increments, employer‐ funded superannuation or for any other purpose. In the NSW Catholic sector and the Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra‐Goulburn, the “paid maternity allowance” became “paid maternity leave” from 27 January and 1 March 2004 respectively , for accrual of entitlements and salary progression for teachers, principals and advisers in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools and in Catholic independent schools in NSW covered by the Teachers (Catholic Independent Schools) (State) Award. (As previously noted, paid maternity leave became 14 weeks for support staff in Catholic systemic schools from 12 April 2005, and for teachers in NSW systemic schools from 30 January 2006 and in the ACT from 1 March 2006.) The paid maternity leave for teachers and support staff in non Catholic independent schools does not count as service. 6. What are the provisions for paternity leave? As previously noted, male employees are entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid paternity leave, less any leave taken by the child’s mother. In Catholic schools, teachers are also entitled to one day’s paid leave on the day of the birth or taking the baby home. Teachers in NSW and ACT Catholic schools and Catholic independent schools covered by the NSW Teachers (Catholic Independent Schools) (State) Award, can take paid paternity leave of “one continuous period not exceeding two weeks” as carer’s leave in the 4 week period adjacent to the birth. (This is in addition to the current one day of paid leave.) Four weeks written notice of the intention to take this leave must be given to the employer. Support staff in NSW Catholic systemic schools also have access to up to two weeks paid paternity leave. Teachers and support staff in NSW independent schools are able to apply for 2 weeks paid paternity leave (deducted from carer’s leave). It is necessary to give 10 weeks written notice and to comply with the provisions for maternity leave set out in Question 4 above. 7. What is personal / carer’s leave? In NSW and ACT Catholic schools, principals, teachers and advisors can access up to 10 days of their current year’s sick leave entitlement and up to 30 days of their accrued entitlement to care for an ill or injured family member. Support staff can access all their current and accrued sick leave entitlements to provide care in such circumstances. In independent schools, similar provisions exist, although the definition of “family” is slightly wider. In ACT independent schools, carer’s leave is limited to 10 days. 53 8. What is pressing domestic necessity? In Catholic systemic schools and most Catholic independent schools, up to 5 days per year may be accessed by teachers and support staff from sick leave, at the principal’s discretion, to deal with pressing personal or family situations. Some ACT independent schools also provide access to up to one day’s discretionary family leave per annum. 9. Is there a right to work part‐time because of parental/carer responsibilities? While there is no absolute right to work part‐time or job share, the inclusion of parental and carer’s responsibilities in anti‐discrimination legislation and in the 2009 Federal Fair Work Act, as well as the increasing recognition of work / family balance by industrial and anti‐discrimination tribunals, have strengthened employees’ reasonable expectations for part‐time or job share employment on a short or long term basis. The IEU has been successful in negotiating policies and procedures with most diocesan employers and with some independent schools. 10. Can I be treated less favourably because I have parental or carer responsibilities? NSW and ACT anti‐discrimination laws prohibit discrimination on the grounds of parental and carer’s responsibilities in regard to employment, promotion and working conditions. It is important to note that these anti‐discrimination laws continue to apply in schools covered by Federal IR legislation. In 2009 the IEU negotiated a provision in the new award for teachers in NSW Catholic systemic schools that “Part‐time teachers shall be required to attend school on the number of days per week which is generally consistent with their scheduled teaching load.” The Union also negotiated some core permanency provisions for long serving temporary support staff in NSW Catholic systemic schools. 54 7
Key Contacts
55
7. Key Contacts Name of the Organisation Purpose Contact Details Catholic Education Office ACCESS EAP offers Freecall: 1800 818 728 Employee Assistance Program psychological counselling to (EAP) enhance the wellbeing of CEO Visit the ACCESS Website: employees. www.accesspl.com.au Tresillian Family Care Centres Australia’s largest child and Head Office family health organisation Tresillian Canterbury providing expert parenting (02) 9787 0800 advice to families during the early years. 24 Hour Help Line 02 9787 0855 Freecall: 1800 637 357 (Outside Sydney and within NSW). [email protected] www.tresillian.net Care for Kids Australia's most www.careforkids.com.au comprehensive directory to find compare and contact a huge range of child care services. CareforKids.com.au brings together all the pieces of the puzzle to make it faster and simpler for families to match children with the right care. Essential Baby Essential Baby is just like a www.essentialbaby.com.au great big mothers group where you can meet like minded parents and parents‐
to‐be and share tips, advice, friendship or just catch up for a chat! 56 WORKING PARENTS TOOLKIT A GUIDE TO PARENTAL LEAVE AND RETURNING TO WORK The Working Parents Toolkit is designed to give new and expectant parents who work in our schools and CEO Office relevant and practical information about managing work and parenthood. As a new parent combining work and family responsibilities, there are many things that you will need to consider and decide. Use the Toolkit as a reference guide while you are pregnant at work, on parental leave and when you decide to return to work. The Toolkit has been prepared by the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Wollongong in collaboration with employees and ‘work and parenting experts’ who understand the challenges, thinking and decision‐
making support that new parents need. For further information please contact Sharon Prosperi or Karen Williams in Human Resource Services. The Working Parents Toolkit is a “living” document available electronically (with links to relevant Policies) on the Human Resource Services Infopoint Site: http://infopoint.dow.catholic.edu.au/HumRes/default.aspx March 2011 V1.0 Photograph from iStockphoto I’M GOING TO BE A PARENT!
PRAYER FOR EXPECTANT MOTHERS
From the Pope’s Family Prayer Book
What exactly are my entitlements?
How will my pregnancy impact my job?
How can I prepare for parental leave?
What issues should I discuss with my Principal/Manager?
Do I need to consider anything while I’m on leave?
When and how should I prepare for my return to work?
How can I effectively manage the transition back to work?
What do I need to know about managing my career as a
working parent?
Father we thank you for your marvellous gift;
you have allowed us to share in your divine parenthood.
During this time of waiting,
we ask you to protect and nurture
these first mysterious stirrings of life.
May our child come safely into the light of the world
and to the new birth of baptism.
WORKING PARENTS TOOLKIT
Mother of God,
we entrust our child to your loving heart.
ANSWERS & SOLUTIONS TO:
Employer/ee obligations and entitlements
Rights and responsibilities
Safe work environments
Discrimination at work
Types of parental leave
Preparing for parental leave
Managing collegial expectations
Career management
Conducting career reviews
Return to work options and checklists
Understanding flexibility
Work/life balance
Understanding working parents
… and more.
Amen
A GUIDE TO PARENTAL LEAVE AND RETURNING TO WORK
The Working Parents Toolkit is designed to give new and
expectant parents who work in our schools and CEO Office
relevant and practical information about managing work
and parenthood.
As a new parent combining work and family responsibilities,
there are many things that you will need to consider and
decide. Use the Toolkit as a reference guide while you are
pregnant at work, on parental leave, and when you decide
to return to work.
The Toolkit has been prepared by the Catholic Education
Office, Diocese of Wollongong in collaboration with
employees and ‘work and parenting experts’ who
understand the challenges, thinking and decision-making
support that new parents need.
CONTENTS
MESSAGE FROM PETER TURNER
DIRECTOR OF SCHOOLS
The Catholic School and Office workplaces must always
be characterised by effective and growth-promoting
policies and practices. In particular there are mutual
obligations upon both the Catholic employer and
employees to create work practices which support the
sacredness of family life.
Following a significant consultation process I have
pleasure in recommending to you the Working Parents
Toolkit. The Toolkit provides our school and CEO office
staff with information and resources that will assist
them successfully manage as working parents.
It is designed specifically to support:
•
expectant parents
•
employees on parental leave
•
working parents.
The Toolkit makes the transition to parenthood and
return to work that much easier with valuable insight,
relevant legal requirements and advice from experts in
the fields of career management, human resources and
childcare, as well as real-world working parents.
The family remains at the heart of Catholic schooling. I
trust that these new measures will be mutually
beneficial to working parents and their employers alike.
With best wishes
Yours sincerely
The Working Parents Toolkit is divided into seven chapters:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Managing Pregnancy at Work
Preparing for Parental Leave
Your Time on Leave
Planning to Return to Work
Managing Your Career as a Working Parent
Top Ten - Frequently Asked Questions
Key Contacts
Inside these full chapters, the life cycle every parent
transitions through, is covered as it relates to their career
and our organisation. The Toolkit includes everything from
organising workloads; the importance of communication
between employees, teams and Managers/Principals;
maintaining skills and connections while on leave; as well as
successfully managing their return to work.
More than a Toolkit of information, this package includes
checklists, templates and action plans to assist working
parents with career planning and return to work strategies.
FOR EMPLOYEES
As a new parent combining work and family responsibilities,
there are many things that will need to be considered and
decided before and after the baby arrives.
The Toolkit has been prepared by working parents who
understand the challenges, thinking and decision-making
support new parents need. Use this Toolkit as a reference
guide while you are pregnant at work, on parental leave and
when you decide to return to work.
FOR EMPLOYERS
This Toolkit is considered a must to retain valued, skilled
and experienced employees. It provides practical advice and
tools to:
manage pregnancy at work
prepare for parental leave
stay in touch while on leave
consider return to work options
tackle the challenges presented by work/life balance.
•
•
THE WORKING PARENTS TOOLKIT
CREATED BY A COLLABORATION OF
‘WORK AND PARENTING’ EXPERTS:
Emma Walsh
[email protected]
Kate Sykes
CareerMums
Rebecca Harper
Reach Career Potential
Karen Miles
Motherhood & Career Speaker, Author
Independent Education Union
New South Wales
EOWA Committee
Working Parents Toolkit Focus Group
Catholic Education Office
For further information please contact:
Sharon Prosperi
(02) 4253 0835
[email protected]
Karen Williams
(02) 4253 0821
[email protected]
The Working Parents Toolkit is a “living” document available
electronically (with links to relevant Policies) on the Human
Resource Services Infopoint Site:
http://infopoint.dow.catholic.edu.au/HumRes/default.aspx
•
Peter Turner
Director of Schools
Diocese of Wollongong
•
•
March 2011 V1.0
Photographs from iStockphoto
About the Authors
Kate Sykes
Rebecca Harper
Founder and Director of
www.careermums.com.au
Director of Reach Career Potential
Kate has over 14 years experience in marketing
and communications management roles in the
IT, financial and health sectors. In December
2006, Kate launched www.careermums.com.
au – Australia’s first dedicated careers centre
and jobs board for working parents and
parents returning to work. Kate also provides
consulting services to businesses wanting to
implement flexible workplace policies, and
retention strategies to retain parents after
parental leave. She is a member of NSW
EEO Practitioner’s Association, a member
of the Talent Leadership Consortium, and
the chair of the Canberra Business Council’s
Workstyles Committee which focuses on
promoting flexible workplace practices in
the ACT region. Kate is also a proud mum to
James, Sophia and Marcus.
Rebecca is a qualified high school teacher
turned HR professional with over 10 years
experience in HR, learning and development,
organisational development, facilitation and
recently coaching. She has been running her
own consulting business, Reach since January
2005. Rebecca is a qualified NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) Master Practitioner
and has lectured in HR Management at
UNSW. She is the proud Mum of Kit.
Telephone
Email
Website
02 6161 0128
[email protected]
www.careermums.com.au
Email
Website
[email protected]
www.reachcp.com
KATE SYKES
REBECCA HARPER
KAREN MILES
EMMA WALSH
Karen Miles
Emma Walsh
Speaker, Trainer, Best-Selling Author,
Journalist
Founder and Director of
www.mumsatwork.com.au
Karen Miles is the Dymocks’ best-selling
author of ‘Career Advice you wish your
mum had told you’ and ‘The Real Baby Book
you need at 3am’, speaker, trainer, media
commentator, journalist and mother. Karen
works with women making the transition
to motherhood, and companies that are
committed to retaining and engaging working
mothers. By assisting women with the head
and heart transition into motherhood, Karen
Miles helps companies to attract and retain
their greatest source of talent.
Emma is a Human Resources and Career
Coaching Practitioner and Founder of mums@
work - renowned as Australia’s leading provider
of return-to-work guidance for mums, dads
and employers. [email protected] supports parents
returning to work and assists progressive
employers implement family friendly practices.
Emma has specialised in HR, Recruitment and
Career Coaching for over 10 years with both
small businesses and global enterprises in
Australia and the UK before founding her first
business, HR Consulting firm, Changing Places
HR Services in 2004. Emma is the mother of
twin boys and has first-hand experience of the
ups and downs of returning to the workforce.
To find out more about [email protected] and their
comprehensive range of Return to Work services
visit www.mumsatwork.com.au
Telephone
Email
Website
02 9451 9653
[email protected]
www.karenmiles.com.au
www.missscarlett.com.au
Telephone
Email
Website
02 9967 8377
[email protected]
www.mumsatwork.com.au
Working Parents Toolkit
A guide to parental leave and returning to work
The Working Parent’s Toolkit provides you with all the
information and resources you need to successfully
manage the transition to being a working parent.
Designed specifically to support:
• expectant parents
• employees on parental leave
• working parents
The Toolkit makes your transition to parenthood and
return-to-work that much easier with valuable insight
and advice from experts in the field of career management, human resources and childcare, as well as realworld working parents.
Specifically, you can access information, planning tools
and checklists on:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Managing Pregnancy at Work
Preparing for Parental Leave
Preparing for Baby
Your Time on Leave
Preparing to Return to Work
Flexible Work Arrangements
Managing your Career as a Working Parent
Childcare
Resources
FAQs
The Working Parent’s Toolkit contains everything you
need to know about life as a working parent.
`