Returning to work after having a baby
Finding the right balance
Balancing work commitments with family responsibilities can be
stressful and exhausting. But the reality for many families -
both single parent and couple households - is that the primary care
giver, often the woman, will work either full-time or
Here are some tips that may help you strike the right work-life
Thinking of returning to
Returning to work after having a baby can feel overwhelming.
There are many competing demands on your time and you may feel torn
between work priorities and spending time with your family.
Set up clear expectations at home
Sharing the care responsibilities will help take some of
the pressure off you. If you are in a relationship,
it's very important to discuss expectations about who will pick up
and drop off your child at childcare and who will take leave when
your child is ill. This might also be a good time to discuss
domestic responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning.
Set up clear expections at work
Before you return to work, talk to your employer about how you
can balance your care responsibilities with your work commitments.
This is also a good opportunity to discuss the possibility of
flexible work arrangements. For example, if you need to leave the
office at 5.00pm to collect your child from childcare but really
need to meet a deadline at work, you may be able to finish the task
by working from home later in the day.
Adjusting to a new income
Competing priorities don't just apply to balancing work
and family considerations.
Use the parental leave calculator to manage your income during
your leave and when you return to work.
Parental leave calculator
It's a good idea to create a budget of your income and the extra
expenses such as childcare that you might have so you know what
income is coming in and what is going out.
Work out where your money is going.
Know your legal rights
There are a number of laws you may need to be aware of,
Non-government organisations, for example working women's
centres and some women's legal centres, provide free and
confidential information, support, advice and advocacy services to
women on work-related issues. They can help women who are at work
or thinking about returning to work. For more information or to
locate your nearest Working Women's Centre.
It is a good idea to place your child on a number of waiting
lists, even if you have your heart set on a particular childcare
centre. Keep in touch with these centres on a regular basis to see
if any vacancies come up and to let them know you are still
interested. Unfortunately, the decision to place your child in care
close to your home or work is not always in your control and may
depend largely on where a vacancy is offered to you.
For more information on a variety of childcare including
vacancies and some fee information, visit the my child website.
Accessing government assistance
In Australia, government assistance for families with children
in childcare is available as the
Child Care Subsidy (CCS), which helps with the cost of approved
child care by making payments directly to your child care provider.
The CCS will not be paid into your bank account. The CCS replaced
the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate from 2 July 2018.
Payments under the CCS are determined by your combined family
income, the amount of time you spend working or studying and the
type of child care service.
To estimate how much support your family is likely to receive
from the CCS, visit the Department of Education and Training's
online Family Child Care
Saving for your children's
If you have any extra funds, you might consider making an
investment to support your children's future, be it for university,
for particular schooling choices or just to help them with a bit of
a head start. See saving for your
Make a will and keep it up to
Having a will is always a good idea but particularly if you have
a partner and/or children. It is equally important that if you have
a partner, he or she also has a will. Even if you don't think you
have many assets to distribute, wills are a handy way to let others
know things that are important to you, such as who you would like
your children to live with. For more information see wills
and powers of attorney.
You should also consider life insurance as a way to protect your
Superannuation for women
Women face unique challenges when it comes to retirement
savings. Time out of the workforce to care for children or elderly
parents is likely to affect your income and also your ability to
accumulate superannuation. The good news is that by returning to
work after having a baby, you will be contributing to your super
giving yourself increased opportunity for economic independence and
security in later life.
Work out how working part-time or taking a break from paid work
affects your super in retirement.
Whatever your age and no matter how much money you have, now is
the time to start building your super.
Returning to work after having a baby can be
stressful. Think through the different options and find what works
best for you.
Last updated: 02 Jul 2018