Sorry this is long & complex but I’m hoping for some thoughts from people who might have been through a similar situation or know more about these things than I do.
Basically I have worked for the same company full-time for the last three years on a contract basis (contract usually lasted 6-12 months & then was extended). My current contract is due to finish on 27th June & I am due to give birth on 4th July.
I am entitled to 14 weeks paid leave from work & then can take up to 38 weeks unpaid, allowing me to take a year off, which is what I intended to do if my contract was renewed.
I will be starting my paid leave 7 weeks before my contract is due to end.
There are massive mergers & restructures going on at work & we have just been told that we will all most likely have to re-apply for our jobs sometime in the next few months. This will have to occur prior to the end of June as that is when everyone’s contacts end. However, no-one can give me a definitive timeframe of when this is likely to occur so there is a chance that I will have already gone on leave. My manager has assured me that I will be contacted by HR if this occurs whilst I am on leave & that I will be given the opportunity to apply for my position. Will it be looked upon badly if I request a phone interview instead of a face-to-face interview if this does occur? I’d rather not have to go into work for an interview when I am heavily pregnant. Also, what if I’m in hospital/giving birth when they are doing the interviews? Does that mean I just miss out?
Also, my main concern is that not knowing about the future of my job affects my paid leave. If I do not find out about my job until after I have already commenced my leave, I will need to come back into work & log onto a computer to apply for the rest of my leave (ie after June 27th). Leave does not get approved straight away so I will then need to check my emails regularly & if there are any problems I will need to come back to work & fix it up. As above, I’m pretty reluctant to do this when I’m heavily pregnant. I’ll need to pay for cabs to get to work and that is an expense & hassle I could do without right before I give birth.
It also makes it difficult to know when to commence the PPL from Centrelink. Obviously I would rather have as much paid leave as possible, so if my contract is renewed ideally I would like to commence the Centrelink pay after I have finished the paid leave I receive from my employer.
However, if I nominate that as the start date & then do not get my contract renewed, I’ll be left with a seven week gap of no pay until the Centrelink pay kicks in. However, if I nominate the Centrelink PPL to start from when my contract is due to end I could wind up getting double pay for about seven
weeks (ie paid by work & Centrelink at the same time) which gives me less paid leave overall. Plus I’m not even sure if I am allowed to be paid by work & Centrelink at the same time. To allow time for processing, Centrelink have advised that I submit the form three months prior to my due date – three months from my due date is early April, so I really need to figure out what to put on the form as soon as possible.
I’m also upset that if I do not get my contract renewed I’ll be missing out on half my paid maternity leave entitlement through work. I know there is little I can do about that but I just feel upset if that is how I get treated after working here full-time for three years with minimal time off. There is no way I can take the entire 14 weeks prior to 27th June as that would mean going on leave when I am about 26 weeks pregnant – I am having a trouble-free pregnancy thus far & therefore my doctor won’t sign me off work that early. Also, if I go on leave much earlier than I am now I won’t be eligible for the Centrelink PPL as you have to have worked at least 10 of the 13 months prior to birth of the baby.
I’m not a member of the union (really regretting not joining now) & HR is not being very helpful. Unfortunately HR was pretty decimated by the last round of redundancies & I think those who are left are overwhelmed & also concerned about their own jobs. My manager can’t give me much information as far as when I can expect to find out about my contract or have to apply for my job as she knows as little as I do - she doesn't even know if she will still be my manager after 27th June.
Maybe I should just accept missing out on seven weeks pay & just leave on 27th June whether I get the opportunity apply for my job or not. This environment isn’t really one I want to return to & who knows what it’s going to be like a year down the track. I’m just concerned about getting another job when I do want to return to the workforce – only 3 years’ experience & a Certificate 3 in Business Admin (and a degree in an unrelated field that I’ve never used) compared to all the people who have been fired recently & have like 20 years experience. There’s no way I can afford to do more study whilst on leave thanks to the government putting up the prices of the tafe courses massively. I have a big enough hecs debt already so I’d rather not add to that with vet fee-help.
Can anyone help with some ideas? I’m finding this pretty stressful & that’s not what I need while I’m pregnant.