Returning to work after parental leave

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There's no doubt about it - Australia in the 21st century is a terrific place to live. 

With that said, being able to live and raise a family in such a wonderful place can carry a heavy financial burden.

The decision of if and when to return to work after having children is a sensitive issue, particularly in a city like Sydney that is among the most expensive cities in the world. 

The reality is that most families cannot live on a single income, so going back to work after parental leave in many cases becomes a necessity. Making that transition will be a different experience for everyone, but there are ways you can ease the process for yourself and your family.

The Australian Fair Work Ombudsman states that anyone who has been on unpaid parental leave has the right to return to their previous job, even if a replacement has been filling their position in the interim. Obviously the choice is there to look for an alternative occupation should your previous role not fit with your new lifestyle, but the chance to return must be there if you want it.

What to consider when preparing to return to work

In some cases parental leave can stretch over many months, so it's possible that structural changes could be made to your workplace in that time. In the event your position no longer exists, any changes should have been discussed with you, and a comparable role must be offered if and when you choose to return.

Returning to work after parental leave can be a difficult decision.

Easing the transition

An increasingly popular option for new parents seeking to return to the workforce is requesting flexible working arrangements from their employer. Not all occupations are conducive to modern notions such as working remotely, but with the development of digital technology, the office experience can be replicated from almost anywhere.

For many, flexible working arrangements mean working in a part-time capacity - scheduling office hours around childcare, for example. However, research from McCrindle shows that not only are many Australians happy to work from home, they actually report higher personal productivity. 

The point is that, while returning to work after parental leave can be a difficult decision, there are options offered by many employers to make that transition as easy as possible. 

No one will argue that the first few months of parenthood can be an incredibly challenging time, one that can make even your busiest days in the office seem like a walk in the park. When things begin to settle however, and you begin to develop routines for juggling all aspects of your new life, returning to work may soon seem like an achievable goal. 

Keeping your foot in the door

While you may not be quite ready to get fully back into the swing of professional life, reaching out to your recruitment agency in Sydney early can make your re-entry a more gradual affair. If you are among those who opt for an entirely new position, getting a feeling for the job market through consultation with a recruiter can also help your application strategy.

Having children may be the biggest decision you will ever make, but in the modern world maintaining a career while also raising a family is becoming the norm. When you're ready to make the leap, give The Recruitment Company a call.

By Geoff Millar