Parenthood marks a significant milestone in life, and like every crucial life event, it requires careful planning and preparation, especially when considering parental leave.
Follow our suggestions and prepare to make your transition to parental leave as easy as possible.
Step 1 – Understand your employer’s parental leave policies and benefits
In Australia, if you are a permanent employee (full or part-time), you are generally entitled to up to 12 months of unpaid parental leave. However, each employer will have distinct parental leave policies and benefits. To fully understand these, engage in open dialogues with your HR department early on. By discussing and negotiating your leave terms in advance, you’ll have ample time to adjust your plans accordingly.
Be aware of your rights and what you’re entitled to during this period. The Fair Work Australian website has a range of information on employee parental leave entitlements, which you can find here https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave.
Step 2 – Managing your finances
Financial management leading up to and during parental leave is a critical factor often overshadowed by the physical and emotional preparation for a new baby. Budgeting and saving ahead of time can mitigate the financial stress associated with reduced income during your leave.
Also, make sure you’re taking advantage of any available government assistance designed to help with the cost of raising a child. The Services Australia “Raising Kids” website has information about the available payments and services here https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/raising-kids.
Step 3 – Develop a support network
Parenting, though rewarding, is not without its challenges. Having a reliable support network can make the journey smoother.
Your support network could include family, friends, or professional services like parenting support groups or counsellors. Don’t underestimate the value of having someone to share experiences (the ups and downs), seek advice, or even lean on during tougher days.
Step 4 – Emotional and psychological considerations
Adjusting to life as a parent can be both exhilarating and overwhelming.
The emotional and psychological adjustments you experience are just as important as the physical ones. Be sure to take care of your mental health and wellbeing, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed.
Returning to work after leave can also bring about mixed feelings. Maintaining a connection with your workplace whilst you are on parental leave can help smooth the transition back to work. Remember, there is no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting, only what’s right for you. Plan for this transition and openly communicate your needs with your employer both beforehand and along the way, to help alleviate any undue stress.
Step 5 – Update important documents
The arrival of a baby signifies a change in your financial circumstances and responsibilities. It is imperative to update insurance policies, Wills and other estate planning documents to account for these changes.
Once you have registered your child’s birth, this may involve adding your child to health insurance policies and your Medicare Card, increasing your life insurance benefit amounts, updating beneficiaries, and writing or making changes to your Will.
As tedious as paperwork may be, it’s crucial to ensuring your child’s future security.
Planning, communication, and support are the cornerstones of a smoother transition to parenthood. While the journey might seem daunting, with proper preparation, you can enjoy this special time with your new arrival.
So, take a deep breath, tick off each step on this roadmap, and embark on this beautiful transition into parental leave with confidence and excitement.
The information contained in this article is general information only. It is not intended to be a recommendation, offer, advice or invitation to purchase, sell or otherwise deal in securities or other investments. Before making any decision in respect to a financial product, you should seek advice from an appropriately qualified professional. We believe that the information contained in this document is accurate. However, we are not specifically licensed to provide tax or legal advice and any information that may relate to you should be confirmed with your tax or legal adviser.