step 1

Childcare

Let’s face it – the number one challenge to parents returning to work after extended parental leave is childcare, both from a logistical and cost perspective. Not only can it be hard to find child-care that meets your needs and expectations, it can be expensive as well – especially in metropolitan areas.

The last thing you want is to find yourself in a situation where your return to work is negated by the cost of having your kids cared for – this can be really demoralising, and isn’t great for the family dynamic. Finding the right balance is important - your return to work should not only benefit your family financially, it should also help your sense of self-worth and career progression prospects.

There’s no harm placing your children on waiting lists at the local childcare centres which meet your needs from a care perspective. Keep in touch with these centres to discuss vacancies, and check the My Child website to see what’s available locally.

  1. Budget for childcare

    Best start laying plans early, here. Once you have an idea which childcare centres you’re pinning your hopes on, get a hold of their fee structure and calculate how many days worth care you’ll need per week. This will help you get an estimate on how much your childcare costs may run per week. You can then use this figure to see what impact childcare will have on your post-parental-leave budget.

    Refresh your budgeting skills with our how-to guide

  2. Know your entitlements

    It’s important to know how much Government assistance your family may be eligible for when it comes to offsetting the costs of childcare. Find out whether you can access the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) via the Human Services website.

    Check your eligibility

step 2

Find the right balance

Sure, the prospect of having both parents back at work may seem appealing as a family, especially if you’ve been living on a more stringent budget whilst one partner has been on paternal leave. Don’t rush into anything, though, without doing a bit of ground-work.

  1. Set clear expectations at home

    Sharing of care and earning responsibilities will take pressure off both parents, but it’s vital you discuss how your family life will be structured after both of you go back to work. Who will do pick-ups and drop-offs? Who will cook and clean? When will both parents have time to themselves? Communication is key, here.

  2. Set ground rules at work

    Talk your schedule over with your employer so they understand your care responsibilities. Find out if your employer offers flexible work arrangements that will allow you to strike a balance between home and the office.

  3. Know your legal rights

    It’s important that you know your workplace rights, so familiarise yourself with the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).

step 3

Plan for your future

Sure, we get it – once you and your partner get back to two incomes after baby, the first thing you’re probably thinking of is your first family holiday, or maybe even a larger new car. These are valid goals, but you may also find your mindset has changes as a parent to the point where you’re now interested in looking further ahead.

  1. A Saving head-start

    It might be decades away, but those kids may want to go to Uni one day, and may even tap you on the shoulder for their first car. How cool would it be to be able to gift them their very own savings nest egg once they come of age? Opening up a high-interest kids savings account now and making steady deposits over the years may help you reach your goal.

    Open a Life Saver Account

  2. Think Super

    Something that affects mums primarily is the fact that time out of the workforce usually means time spent earning a lower amount of superannuation, or none at all. Once both parents return to work, see how parents can grow their super at any age to make up for lost time by speaking with a financial planner.

    Grow your super at any age