It might seem a while away, but once you’ve made your pregnancy announcement, it’s a good idea to begin maternity leave preparations and find out if you’re entitled to maternity pay.
Your Checklist for Maternity Leave
- Firstly, let your boss know the big news. They will be able to point you in the right direction for who to talk to in HR, and any other forms or procedures you need to follow. There is generally a minimum notice period for you to tell your employer of your pregnancy, best to check their policies.
- You might need a risk assessment for your workplace, especially if you work in a manual job or with chemicals. Your employer will be able to make sure your workstation is ergonomic, and your activities are appropriate for a pregnant person.
- Think about when you want to go on maternity leave. Some people prefer resting at home a couple of weeks before the due date, and others like to work until closer to the date if they are able. Your healthcare professional will advise you if you need to have additional time off before your baby is born.
- Consider how much time you want to take off work after baby arrives. It’s a very personal decision, and the right choice is different for everyone. The Australian Government has information online about your parental leave rights and your employer will also be able to provide you with your employee leave entitlements.
- Work out how much maternity leave is affordable for you. There might be limitations to how much paid leave you are eligible for. Check with your employer about their maternity leave which will be either paid or unpaid, and you might qualify for government assistance through Centrelink.
- Have a plan for your return to work. Your employer will want to know what your plan is before you go on maternity leave. Some new parents decide to return to work part time, and others full time for a variety of reasons. When considering your return to work, discuss with your support network what your options are, and if you are going to use a daycare make sure you get onto waiting lists early.
- Ask advice from friends, family and colleagues who have been on maternity leave for advice. They might have some pointers you haven’t thought of before.
- Talk to your partner about if they want to also take parental leave. Some employers will allow both parents to go on primary parental leave one after the other, and the government may provide some leave for the secondary carer.
- Ask your employer about keeping-in-touch days, and if they offer them. They might be a good opportunity for you to keep up to date with any key changes or policies, as well as catching up with your colleagues.
Now you’ve got that admin out of the way, you can reward yourself with a fun task—baby names! See our baby name generator for ideas.