Fair Work Ombudsman helps parents understand their workplace rights

13 June 2013

The Fair Work Ombudsman is encouraging new and expecting parents to check their workplace rights.

As part of a campaign to increase awareness amongst parents, information on topics including parental leave entitlements, returning to work after leave and how to seek flexible work arrangements from employers is being included in more than 200,000 information packs, which are provided to new parents in hospitals across Australia.

Fair Work Ombudsman Executive Director, Lynda McAlary-Smith, said a key role of the Fair Work Ombudsman is to increase awareness of workplace rights and entitlements, and new parents are a focus of this.

“A pending birth is a major event in anyone’s life, and we want to ensure that new parents, whether they’re having their first child or subsequent children, have all the information they need to make informed decisions about how to approach issues around parenthood and work,” Ms McAlary-Smith said.

“We also want to help employers by highlighting the benefits that flexible working arrangements can bring to businesses. This includes better staff retention, reduced absenteeism and making their business attractive to potential employees.”

As part of the campaign, the Fair Work Ombudsman has created a range of tools and resources available at www.fairwork.gov.au/workingparents - including information about parental leave entitlements and template letters and checklists for requesting leave and flexible working arrangements.

The Fair Work Ombudsman is also providing free face-to-face advice and information at the Pregnancy, Babies & Children’s Expo in Melbourne in October and Brisbane in June and was recently at the Sydney Expo in May.

Ms McAlary-Smith said encouraging workers to communicate openly and regularly with their employer in the lead-up to parental leave and when planning a return to work was a key part of the campaign.

“Employees should have these conversations with their employer with enough lead time to make suitable and beneficial arrangements for both parties,” she said.

“There is a series of things that must be done in the lead-up to parental leave. For instance, expecting parents should put their request for parental leave in writing, and they also need to make sure they apply in time - at least ten weeks prior to the date they plan to commence their leave.”

Employers and employees seeking information and advice should visit www.fairwork.gov.au/workingparents or call the Infoline on 13 13 94.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman on Twitter @fairwork_gov_au external-icon.png or find us on Facebook external-icon.png.

Media inquiries:

Penny Rowe, Media & Stakeholder Relations
0457 924 146

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