One of the hardest things to do is go back to work after having your baby. Once your maternity leave runs out, you have the hard decision of going back to work. Often, expectant mothers make the decision early on by discussing their return to work arrangement before the baby is born. By discussing, you are able to find out early what your workplace is ready to provide you and what your options are. However, whatever you decide, it should be something that does work for you, and open communication is important for not just you and the baby, but for a healthy work relationship.
According to Fair Work Ombudsman, there are various types of Parental Leave that you are entitled to under Australian Law based on various circumstances. These should be researched and understood so that you know what is fair and legal. Traditionally, you are entitled to 12 months of unpaid paternal leave. However, when returning to work early, it should not be less than 6 weeks after the birth of a child. Open dialogue between you and your employer is necessary!
When returning to work after parental leave, it may be based on the agreement or contract that was agreed upon before the taking parental leave. One of the things being whether the same job will be taken up. You can also request flexible working arrangements with your employer including working part-time rather than fulltime, working hours (starting and finishing times), working from home and so forth.
Another thing you should consider would be your ability to nurse your child. If you have chosen to continue breastfeeding or breast milk feeding, then you will need to discuss this with your employer whether you are allowed time to have your child brought to you for nursing or allow you time, a place, and amenities as means of expressing breast milk. Mums coming back to work after the baby have is born has the benefit of expressing breast milk during work hours which is a great way to ensure that they not only keep up their supply of breast milk but also ensure that nothing goes to waste. Making sure that you have a place to store expressed breast milk is just as important as having the equipment. You can consider hiring a hospital grade breast milk pump that is portable for efficient breast milk expression. The Medela Symphony is great because it is trusted by hospital and nursing homes for its efficiency and portability. You can choose to keep it at work or even commute it from home to work (and vice versa).
Overall, making sure you have a plan to come back to work after baby is born is crucial and it is something that should be discussed way before parental leave is taken. Speak to your Human Resources division or read up on the Fair Work Parental leave best practices guide for more insight!