Returning to work? Here’s everything you need to know!

25 February, 2021

When you return to work after parental leave, you are entitled to return to the position you held immediately before you went on leave.

If the position you held no longer exists, you are entitled to return to a comparable position that is commensurate with your skills and experience.

When you return to work you will be on the classification level and rate of pay you were on immediately prior to going on leave, excluding any pay increases outlined in your agreement.

If you are a part-time employee, you are entitled to return to a position that includes the same number of hours but does not necessarily involve the same working times or classes.

Although your intended return to work date formed part of your written application for parental leave, touch base with your employer to confirm your intentions.

This is a considerate and thoughtful step to help make a smooth transition back to paid work.

Returning to part-time work

Returning to work part-time can provide a way to achieve work life balance and ensure you are still able to enjoy your child’s early years.

If you wish to return to work in a part-time capacity, you need to provide a request to your employer in writing at least 7 weeks before the end of your parental leave.

Your employer must respond in writing within 21 days.

If you are eligible to work part-time and your employer has advised you that your request has been accepted, the following arrangements need to be agreed to in writing:

• The hours, days and starting and finishing times.
• The classification of the employee.
• The period of part-time employment.

In deciding to grant an employee’s application, an employer must consider:

• The employee’s circumstances, particularly those relating to the role of a primary caregiver.
• The impact of refusal on an employee and their dependents.
• The effect that agreeing to the application would have to the conduct of the business.

An employer must not unreasonably refuse an application to work part-time.

Job share

Job share is a voluntary employment arrangement where the duties, responsibilities, pay and other employment entitlements of one full-time position are shared between two people.

At the conclusion of the job share period, both employees return to the positions and employment status each held before the job share began.

Job share can help achieve a better work life balance and often suits new parents and those transitioning to retirement.

Staff working full-time in non-government schools have the right to request job share arrangements.

If you experience difficulty accessing job share, contact our union for advice.

Flexible work arrangements

You have a right to expect real consideration of your request for flexibility:

• The request will be given consideration.

• You will be consulted at all relevant times.

• You will be provided with all pertinent information in a timely manner.

• You will have adequate time to consider the employer response.

• You will be provided with other options in relation to the request regarding flexibility if the request can’t be granted.

• The employer will comply with relevant industrial requirements.

Changing your return date

Your return to work plans could change for any number of reasons.

You may like to take more time off, return to work sooner or access flexible work arrangements.

There are some limitations on how much parental leave you can access and how much notice you need to provide your employer about delaying or bringing forward your return date.

Contact our union as soon as you know your plans will change, for advice about your personal circumstances.

Our union’s guide for members on parental leave provides advice on accessing leave, superannuation, returning to work and more.

Members can also contact our union anytime for advice. It’s one of the key benefits of maintaining your union membership while on parental leave.

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