Friday, December 4, 2009

Decisions, decisions...

Even though I'm only halfway through this pregnancy, I decided this week that I'd like to get my maternity leave figured out. I knew that by Australian law I'm guaranteed 12 months of unpaid leave, and that my company offers a 6 month leave policy where I can receive half salary for the duration (or 3 months fully paid, but since we can afford it, we're going for the longer time). So yesterday I had a little chat with HR to confirm all of this and to see if there were any other options I should be aware of. And ohhhh yes there were! And I am STOKED!

HR presented me with two basic options; I won't go over the first one, as it's unworkable for us - it gives me 12 months of full leave, but 141 days of that are unpaid (the rest is on part time salary) and unfortunately, we simply can't swing that. So the second option is the clear winner, and here's what I get - the dates are roughly correct, although may be changed:

First, maternity leave (6/4/2010 – 18/10/2010) - 6 months of leave at half salary (this is all I thought I was getting)
Then work part time (19/10/2010 – 11/7/2011) - after the maternity leave is up, I can return to work part time but still be paid my full salary!*
Finally, return to work full time (12/7/2011)

*The length of time I can do this is flexible, and functions on a sliding scale depending on how many days per week I return to work - e.g., if I came back to work for:
3.5 days per week (70%), I'd get full salary for 38 weeks
3 days per week (60%), I'd get full salary for 30 weeks
2.5 days per week (50%), I'd get full salary for 24 weeks
2 days per week (40%), I'd get full salary for 20 weeks

Can you believe that part time option?!? I knew that they had something like this in place, but I had the impression that it was only available if you came back before 12 weeks - apparently not!

As I said earlier, in Australia you are currently granted 52 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. So I'm allowed to be away, with my job protected, for an entire year. Some companies do offer paid leave - and in fact, from next January, they'll be required by law to provide 18 weeks of maternity leave paid at minimum wage, which is much better than the status quo but still not the same level of benefits I'm receiving...and in case you're wondering, I think it's very unlikely that I'd receive these benefits if I worked in the private sector instead of for a large government organization. 

So anyway, Mr Bibliosaur and I basically just need to figure out how long we want me to be home for after the initial 6 month period. Of course it would be nice to take the longest option, but would it be easier/cheaper to arrange childcare for only 3 days per week vs 3.5, thus going with the 3 days per week option? Or would it be nicer to only work 2 days a week and spend more time at home with the twins, even if it was for a shorter duration before starting back to work full time?

My goal is to work this out before Christmas - no real reason why, other than it would be nice to start the New Year with a Super Awesome Maternity Plan in place. And you all know me - I'm a planner!

Of course Mr Bibliosaur and I are going to have a chat (or two...or three...) about this, but since I like polls: what do you think you'd pick in my place?


  1. Hey there. I just wanted to say happy sits Saturday sharefest. Good luck with your decision about your work schedule.

  2. That is awesome you get such great maternity leave options. Most of us in the states get 12 weeks unpaid. Good luck figuring out a plan!