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.
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13-03-2014 16:33 #1Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
Maternity leave dilemmas (long & complex, sorry)
14-03-2014 06:00 #2Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2013
My only suggestion is with the Centerlink money. If you get double pay, simply transfer the Centerlink money into another account that you don't touch whilst your getting paid from your employer.
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14-03-2014 06:57 #3
@kw123 might be able to help you with some of your questions - she's great
All I know is that you can take work paid maternity leave at the same time as the centre link paid leave as I did it. Both paid via my employer.
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14-03-2014 08:26 #4
This is quite complex and its not my area of speciality and I am not claiming to have all the definitive answers. Its also very hard to say what you are entitled to without seeing the terms of your contract. As a contractor, my understanding is you wouldn't actually normally be entitled to parental leave but as its a rolling contract and you have worked there fore three years, they have definitely done the right thing in giving it to you.
About the interview - I don't think it would be an issue to do it over the phone, but if you are up to it then come in. But if you can't, you can't. They will understand since you will be close to your due date. If you are in hospital, you won't just miss out. They will make allowances/reschedule I am sure. It is tricky though as they can't hold off on making decisions for weeks and weeks. Hopefully if that happens they will exempt you from the interview process altogether.
I am not really clear on the issues about applying for leave... can you give more detail? Checking your emails is just something I think you will have to accept. I don't see why you would need to physically come in?
I would apply for the Govt PPL asap and just get it at the same time. I know you say you want as much paid leave as possible but the money you get will be the same. You just need to keep it in an account and budget/spread it out over the right number of weeks rather than spending it all at once.
Unfortunately re-structures do happen and its not about them treating you badly - its a business decision that is nothing to do with how they value you and your contribution. You definitely can't just start your parental leave early in order to get it, unless for medical reasons.
I am sure HR aren't being deliberately vague - they likely just don't know! June is still a fair while away and often decisions about exact timings, etc are not made until the last minute pretty much.
Sorry there isn't much more I can really say.... it sucks to have this stress while you are pregnant but it sounds like it is a case of wait and see for a while. I would definitely apply for PPL to start asap though - don't wait until your employer paid leave would run out.
14-03-2014 17:12 #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
Thanks everyone - good to know I can take Centrelink PPL & maternity leave from work at the same time & I guess that's probably the best option.
Kw my issue with applying for leave is that it has to be done on the work computer system. I don't have access to that from home & there is no other way to apply for leave so I will have to go into work.
Sorry for the negativity about the restructures, it's just been going on for a long time with minimal information provided to staff. Basically no-one has a clue what is going on, people keep getting fired, no-one knows if they will have a job to go to the next day etc so it's just tough to be positive in an environment like that.
14-03-2014 18:40 #6
Just email HR or payroll and ask them to apply for your leave for you as you're not in the office. Easy! I do it all the time for employees.
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