The maternity leave policy more new mums should be taking advantage of right now.

Year One
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What if we told you there’s an unpaid maternity leave hack you might not know about?

In Australia, women who have been with a company for at least one year are entitled to 12 months unpaid maternity leave. If you’ve worked continuously for 10 months of the 13 months before the birth of your child, you’re also entitled to paid parental leave from the government – equivalent to 18 weeks at the national minimum wage.

Maternity leave means women can go away, have a baby, look after it, and return to the same job they left. The company is legally obliged to have a job at the same (or a higher) level available to them when they return.

Liz Short has worked in the Human Resources field for more than 10 years. She’s also the mum of two daughters, so she’s done the whole maternity leave thing. Twice.

On Year One, Mamamia‘s podcast for new parents, Short says there’s a shiny new facet to the maternity leave process that not many women know about. One that was only legislated a few years ago.

“One thing people should really take advantage of is that you have 10 paid ‘keeping in touch’ days during your maternity leave,” she says.

Listen: People & Culture professional Liz Short talks about how to traverse the bumpy road that can be maternity leave on Year One. Post continues after audio.


That’s right. Whether you take three months maternity leave or 12, you are entitled to 10 paid days available to you, agreed on between you are your employer, to come in and keep in touch.

Those days might involve meetings, conferences, or staying up to date with new company policies and programs.

“Keeping in touch really is important for you, but also for your workplace, so that they know what you want to do [moving forward],” Short says.

Your employer will disclose these 10 ‘keeping in touch’ days, or it will be built into their policy.

Now you know. The ball’s in your court, new mums.

Have you taken advantage of ‘keeping in touch days’? How long did it take you to go back to work? Let us know in the comments below.

Listen to the full episode of Year One, all about going back to work, below. 

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Year One

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