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Chapter 6: Leading practices and strategies in the workplace

In summary

  • Many organisations, small, medium and large, are implementing leading practices and strategies to support and retain pregnant employees and working parents.
  • Organisations are actively communicating the benefits of these practices and strategies. This serves to enhance understanding and support of the practices and strategies throughout the organisation.
  • Many of these practices and strategies do not require substantial financial investment or a significant shift in the way an organisation operates.
  • Critical to the success of these practices and strategies is firstly establishing the foundations for success, including:
    • that the right policies and practices are in place;
    • leaders within the organisation are vocal and committed to supporting pregnant employees and working parents within the organisation;
    • policies and practices are monitored and evaluated;
    • information is provided to enable informed and open discussions;
    • managers and employees are empowered and supported;
    • flexible work arrangements are facilitated.
  • Secondly, success requires effectively implementing the strategies and practices. This requires managing pregnancy/return to work related issues in a holistic manner including: developing a plan from the time an employee announces her pregnancy; through to preparing for an employee’s parental leave; staying connected during parental leave; reintegrating after parental leave; and career acceleration upon their return.


The National Review met with and received submissions from over 220 employers, business associations and industry peaks across Australia who represented organisations with a range of sizes, as well as from across a range of industries and sectors. These consultations and the submissions highlighted innovative and successful policies and practices which many organisations are implementing to support their employees and their business objectives alike.

This chapter provides a compilation of the leading practices and strategies reported to the National Review, as well as research from Australia and around the world. It also offers examples, ideas and guidance that may assist employers to ensure that their organisations support employees who are pregnant, on parental leave, or returning to work; as well as to create successful, comprehensive infrastructures and programs to accommodate employee needs.

Not all of the information in this section necessarily applies to every organisational setting. For example, some points may be more relevant for small businesses than for large ones and vice versa. Noting the specific contexts for small businesses and organisations also highlighted in this chapter are specific leading strategies for these organisations.

The first section of this chapter outlines the steps necessary to laying a successful foundation. It highlights the value of employers knowing and communicating their responsibilities; establishing and monitoring comprehensive policies; as well as empowering managers and employers through leadership and support.

The second section focuses on implementation. This includes implementation of management plans, outlining effective and constructive ways to manage employees who are pregnant, on parental leave or returning to work, adopting methods that may ultimately benefit all concerned.

6.1. Establishing the foundations for success

A strong organisational foundation is critical to successfully support employees during pregnancy/return to work. This includes a thorough understanding of employer obligations, the development of robust policies, as well as informed and empowered managers and employees. It also includes laying a basis for relevant strategies and policies to be embedded into the culture of the organisation and as such, ensuring they are sustainable into the future.

Outlined below are the steps necessary to laying a successful foundation. Each component of the foundation is illustrated with examples of leading strategies used by organisations in Australia and overseas.

Table 1: Establishing the foundations for success: Getting your policies and systems in place

Think big picture: understanding ‘what’ and ‘why’
Know your legal responsibilities as a business; understand and communicate the reasons; approach the pregnancy and parental leave process as a continuum
Utilise existing resources and advice from government and industry peak bodies; communicate policy and procedures; promote awareness and understanding.
Lead the way: Role modelling behaviour
Ensure that senior leaders in the organisation are vocal and visibly committed
Senior leaders vocally champion the value of pregnant employees and employees on return to work; senior leaders vocally support and model flexible work arrangements.
Get the right policies in place: Establishing effective programs
Ensure that policies regarding pregnancy, parental leave and return to work, are comprehensive, effective and in line with your legal responsibilities
Education and coaching for managers and employees; review of all decisions on dismissal or redundancy while an employee is pregnant, on parental leave or on return to work; flexible work policies; employer funded parental leave (for primary and secondary carers); employer funded early childhood education and care options; special measures to accelerate change.
Track success: Monitoring and Evaluating policies and practices
Gain a clear understanding of the state of implementation of policies in your organisation; assess and review existing programs and practices at regular intervals to identify where improvements or changes need to be made
Regular audits of retention rates; regular surveys and consultations with staff who intend to use/have recently used parental leave or have returned to work; actively track career progression post-parental leave; regular implementation of relevant feedback into policies and practices
Enable informed and open decisions: Providing the information
Use a guide/toolkit; make the information accessible
Hardcopy guides/toolkits/brochures for soon-to-be/recent parents and line managers; make information available for download from intranet and internet; allocation of staff positions responsible for ensuring information accessibility of information
Empower managers: Providing support for management
Ensure that all managers are aware and informed of policies; support managers with coaching and resources; ensure that the organisation’s structures encourage managers to support pregnant women and working parents
Formal training and coaching for all managers; checklists for managers to assist in implementation of a formal frameworks and procedures; monitor and reward managers, eg performance criteria and repercussions for managers who discriminate; conduct surveys to assist in performance feedback
Empower individuals: Providing support for employees
Offer internal and/or external coaching and/or training; create internal networks of support; establish a robust return to work support infrastructure; provide anti-discrimination and unconscious bias education
Education and training; workshops; mentoring, coaching and buddy systems; establish online networks as a conduit for advice and guidance; establish support groups and programs
Facilitate return to work: Establishing flexible work arrangements
Design flexible jobs and flexible careers; promote flexible work and embed flexibility into the organisation’s culture
Establish a ‘results focused’ culture; Increased schedule control for employees; create jobshare registers; IT equipment purchases to enable remote work


  • (a) Think big picture: Understanding ‘what’ and ‘why’

Know your legal responsibilities as a business. Employers must be aware of the laws that govern this area in order to fulfil their responsibilities adequately. Employers should seek advice from government, business associations and industry peak bodies, who have many resources available that provide this information.

Further information: Useful resources on legal obligations


Understand and communicate the reasons for establishing infrastructure, policies and programs to support employees who are pregnant, on parental leave or returning to work. Awareness of employee rights is crucial to ensuring that these policies are integrated into the organisation’s values, operations and culture.

It is also important to communicate to the organisation the critical value of working parents and being able to manage work and life responsibilities. This may be done through seminars or workshops for managers and employees alike to promote awareness and understanding of what it means to be a working parent. Embedding a clear understanding of the reasons for - and advantages of - supporting pregnant women and working parents in the organisation empowers managers to execute policies and programs successfully.

Approach the parental leave process as a continuum from pregnancy to parental leave and on return to work. To establish a successful and enduring program, it is important that policies take into account the journey in its entirety. Employees do not experience the phases in isolation; they are innately linked and are experienced collectively as part of an individual’s professional career and personal life. Employers must also develop their policies and practices to reflect the continuum, focusing on providing support during all phases to ensure successful transitions. The better the policies are integrated, the more successful the employer/employee relationship is likely to be.

  • (b) Lead the way: Role modelling behaviour

Ensure that senior leaders in the organisation are vocal and visibly committed to supporting pregnant women and parents. This support is essential to the success of policies and initiatives, setting the position and tone ‘from the top’ and giving weight to the importance of the issues. Profiling senior role models who have taken/are taking extended absences and are working flexibly is an effective way to promote policies and demonstrate senior support.

Leading Practice: Impact of senior leadership[733]

The CEO of Taj, a French law firm, personally tackled the lack of gender diversity in his organisation.

He was involved in every promotion discussion. ‘What I have done is promote people on performance. If someone works 50% of the time, we adjust that performance to its full-time equivalent. When you adjust performance on a Full-Time-Equivalent (FTE) basis, maternity issues stop being an indicator.’

He insisted on gender parity from the beginning. He personally ensured that the best assignments were evenly awarded between men and women. He tracked promotions and compensation to ensure parity. If there was a gap, he asked why. He put his best female lawyers on some of his toughest cases. When clients objected, he personally called them up and asked them to give the lawyer three months to prove herself. In every case, the client was quick to agree and managed to overcome the initial gender bias.



Leading Practice: Leadership role modelling[734]

As part of Telstra’s ‘All roles flex’ initiative, some leaders at Telstra added a message that is automatically included at the end of emails stating ‘We work flexibly at Telstra. I am sending this message now because it suits me, but I don’t expect that you will read, respond to or action it outside of regular hours’.


  • (c) Get the right policies in place: Establishing effective programs

Ensure that policies regarding pregnancy and parental leave are comprehensive, effective and in line with your legal responsibilities. Employers should assess and review existing policies by asking:

  • Does the policy meet the legislative requirements?
  • Is the policy in writing?
  • Have you sought advice from your employer or employee association or other advisor?
  • Does the policy meet the needs of employees and your organisational/business environment?
  • Are there provisions to enable flexible work arrangements to meet the needs of employees?
  • Is there a mechanism for constant review of the policy to ensure its continued relevance?
  • Can the policy be used to attract potential staff?[735]

Make sure that policies are flexible taking into account the specific and diverse needs of employees, such as special maternity leave, IVF, miscarriage, terminations and still birth. There are a number of ways to help accommodate these needs. For example, access to leave for medical appointments and opportunities to work from home during times of difficult personal circumstances.

Consider special measures to facilitate participation of pregnant women and working mothers within the organisation

The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) provides for Special Measures which can be introduced for the purpose of achieving substantive equality between:

  • women and men
  • women who are pregnant and people who are not pregnant
  • women who are potentially pregnant and people who are not potentially pregnant.[736]

Organisations can design targeted programs, policies and mechanisms around pregnancy, parental leave and return to work that fits within the special measures provisions. Such strategies would not be discriminatory if they are designed to achieve substantive equality between women and men in workplaces. Special measures can help to assist with overcoming systemic and cultural barriers experienced by women in employment.

In 2013, superannuation consulting firm Rice Warner offered a special measures package to its female employees to achieve substantive equality between men and women, to address the impact of unpaid caring work on retirement incomes and savings. The measures included: flexible working conditions, generous paid parental leave, superannuation payments and long service leave accrued during parental leave, access to an educational program - and an additional superannuation payment of 2% of salary.[737]



Leading Practices: Ensuring that jobs and opportunities remain current while women are on parental leave[738]

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) has a strong commitment to leading practices related to women during pregnancy, parental leave and returning to work.

Organisations ensure that they comply with all legal obligations during restructures and downsizing, but parental leavers can sometimes be overlooked for promotions and development opportunities, and over-represented in layoffs.

To address this challenge, CommBank monitors changes to the roles of employees on parental leave and proposed changes must be approved by the head of Human Resources, or relevant senior leaders. This ensures there is appropriate consideration given.

CommBank wants to make sure it retains its talented women whilst on leave so for now this centralised measure will ensure they can do that.

The organisation is also currently updating its extensive parental leave toolkits and resources to ensure employees have the best possible experience as they transition to and from parental leave with the support of their managers.  In addition, it supports parents by offering a broad range of flexible work and leave options, that includes working from home or another location, part-time or jobshare, flexible start and finish times and purchasing additional leave to cover school holidays.



The Fair Work Ombudsman has identified the following best practices to help employers develop and monitor their own policies:

  • Extended periods of employer-funded paid leave
  • ‘Topping up’ an employee’s pay during the period of Government-funded Parental Leave Pay to their full rate of pay
  • Continuing to pay an employee’s superannuation contributions while on unpaid leave
  • A return-to-work bonus, payable after an employee has returned to work following parental leave
  • The option of taking paid leave at half pay
  • Non-primary carer (usually paternity) leave provisions to be taken at the time of birth or placement of a child
  • Allowing the non-primary carer to access other existing leave entitlements, including annual leave and long service leave, for extended periods around the birth of a child
  • Allowing employees to purchase and repay longer periods of paid leave
  • Providing employees with sick/carer’s leave for pregnancy-related illness as well as caring for sick children
  • Staying in touch days. [739]

The practices of many employers already exhibit a number of these characteristics.

Leading Practices: Sample parental leave pay policy[740]

  • ANZ provides 12 weeks paid parental leave at full pay (with no qualifying period) for the primary care giver; and up to eight weeks leave (one week of which is paid) for co-parents.
  • A total of up to 12 months unpaid leave is provided to each parent (with the option to extend for up to 24 months), inclusive of the paid parental leave/co-parents leave. Periods of parental leave do not break continuity of employment, and the first 12 months continuous service for severance pay, long service leave and sick leave. Long service leave and annual leave may be taken in lieu of, or in conjunction with, parental leave, however this must be taken at the beginning of the period of parental leave.
  • $4,000 Child Care Allowance (CCA) is provided to the primary care giver. Eligible employees will receive a CCA payment of $4,000 (pre-tax) which can be used in the way that best suits their needs. The payment aims to support primary care givers transition back to work and help them manage their family and professional commitments in that critical first year. This allowance became available on 1 October 2010. To be eligible for CCA, an employee must be a permanent employee who has taken parental leave as per ANZ’s Australian Parental Leave policy of at least 18 weeks where they are the primary caregiver. To receive the allowance returning parents cannot have a partner at home who is caring for their child full-time. If both parents work at ANZ, only one child care allowance is payable. The child care allowance is available to same-sex couples. To apply for the allowance, employees need to let their line manager know that they wish to apply for the CCA during their return to work discussion. The allowance is paid over four instalments, with the first payment to be made within one month of the primary care giver returning to work. The following payments are made in monthly instalments. The allowance incurs tax and cannot be salary sacrificed.
  • Superannuation is included on parental leave payments. ANZ provides a minimum of a 9.5% superannuation guarantee on all forms of parental leave payments, including the Australian Government’s Paid Parental Leave Scheme (except for the Australian Government Dad and Partner Pay Scheme). The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contribution will be paid throughout the ANZ 12 weeks paid parental leave assistance. The payment will be made at the SG rate of the employee’s notional salary and is on top of the parental leave payment. The payment will be paid at the SG rate of the minimum wage and is on top of the Government’s payments. Superannuation will also be paid to anyone who takes one week paid co-parent leave. As a result of these payments, employees on parental leave will receive up to 30 weeks of superannuating payments.
  • Employees at management level or above may retain and use their work provided laptop for the duration of parental leave to stay in touch if they choose.
  • ANZ’s Performance and Remuneration Review Eligibility Policy states that women who have been at work nine months of the year should be assessed as normal, with any short term incentive calculated pro-rata. Guidance is provided to line managers on how they should use their discretion to increase salaries so that women on Parental Leave do not fall behind on pay relative to their peers, as this is one of the main contributors to pay disparity between men and women.


Leading Practice: Above and beyond with parental leave pay[741]

Laing O’Rourke, a large Australian, privately owned construction company, has introduced a paid parental leave policy as well as a suite of policies to assist employees return to work after parental leave.

The company conducted an extensive consultation with their employees and found that, in order to achieve a level playing field across their workforce, particularly for carers, its focus needed to be broader than just financial support.

The company is now offering primary carers – who have been employed by the company continuously for 12 months – 26 weeks of paid leave, 18 weeks at full pay and eight weeks at half pay. Secondary carers (after 12 months’ ongoing employment) are entitled to four weeks of parental leave, two weeks at full pay and two weeks unpaid.

The organisation is also focusing on the support and connection aspects of their scheme, including keep-in-touch programs, return-to-work coaching and flexible work options for all employees.



Leading Practice: Alternate payment options for parental leave[742]

Monash University, a large employer, provides three options:

Option 1

  • Lump Sum or fortnightly allowance
  • Employees may choose to return to work and receive payment in lieu of the 60% paid maternity leave they would otherwise have received.
  • Employees may choose to take this payment in one of two forms:
    • a single lump sum payment; or
    • fortnightly payments as if they were still on maternity leave and receiving 60% of their ordinary pay for the number of weeks to which they are entitled. (This is in addition to the salary that they are earning on their return to work).
  • Superannuation is not paid on the lump sum or fortnightly payments.

Option 2

  • Employees can have child care fees paid in lieu of their 60% paid parental leave
  • Employees may choose to return to work and have childcare fees paid through salary sacrificing. This is up to the value that they would have received through their 60% paid parental leave entitlement. If employees choose this option:
    • they must use a Monash childcare facility; and
    • the end date of their childcare cover must be no later than 52 weeks after they commenced parental leave,
  • Staff are not entitled to superannuation paid on the money used for childcare benefits.
  • If staff choose this option and the value of the childcare is less than what they would have been entitled to had they not returned to work, the University will not make up the shortfall.

Option 3

  • Employees may choose to return to work on a reduced fraction (subject to the agreement of the University) and top up their salary (up to 100% of pay) with the unexpired portion of their 60% maternity leave entitlement, provided that they have already taken at least 26 weeks' paid parental leave and remain on a reduced fraction.
  • If they choose this option, the end date of this must be within 52 weeks of the first day of parental leave.
  • Superannuation is paid on the ‘top up’ amount so long as the top up does not exceed the substantive fraction.


Leading Practice: Superannuation contributions during parental leave[743]

  • In June 2010, the Westpac Group introduced a new entitlement which pays its employees a 9.5% superannuation contribution, in line with the Superannuation Guarantee Legislation, on unpaid parental leave for up to 39 weeks. Westpac Group employees are also entitled to an additional 13 weeks’ employer-provided PPL, with full superannuation payments, meaning employee superannuation contributions will now be paid for the full year of their parental leave.
  • National Australia Bank (NAB) employees receive up to 40 weeks of superannuation contributions on unpaid parental leave at a rate of 10%, in addition to the 12 weeks of paid leave and superannuation already provided to parents by the bank. NAB has reported increases in its return-to-work rate of employees on parental leave from 65% in 2006 to over 85% in 2013.
  • CommBank and Bankwest both contribute their superannuation payment for the 40 weeks of unpaid parental leave, once an employee has returned from parental leave for a minimum of six months.


Leading Practice: Return to work bonus

Three years ago, Caltex Australia found that women were twice as likely to choose to leave Caltex compared to their male counterparts, with female turnover being significantly higher at the point of returning from parental leave. One of the common barriers for women returning to work was accessing appropriate childcare. The company responded by creating the BabyCare Bonus initiative.

  • BabyCare Bonus: A 3% bonus each quarter (a total of 12% per year on base salary) is awarded to the primary carer once they return to work, up until their child’s second birthday.

    In addition to being an inducement for returning to work, this payment is aimed at assisting to offset the additional costs to the employees, in particular, paying for childcare.

Since its introduction in 2012, Caltex has extended the initiative to a full package of initiatives, which aims to support the happy and effective return to work for primary carer employees. In addition to the BabyCare Bonus, the BabyCare Package now includes:

  • Emergency BabyCare: Access to Dial-an-Angel mothercraft nurses or carers. This service is available for up to five times each year, to the value of $299 per session, until the child turns two.
  • Help identifying appropriate childcare: Caltex partnered with Families at Work – Work/Life Specialists to provide a specialist service that assists parents locate the type of childcare they want for their baby.
  • Nursing Facilities: Comfortable nursing rooms are available at the three major Caltex facilities, and are equipped with an armchair, sink, refrigerator and lockable door.
  • Parental Transition Group: A group to support new and soon-to-be parents and grandparents, which meets monthly. Employees can attend in person or by video conference. The group also has a dedicated presence on Caltex’s internal social media platform, Yammer.

Initial indicative findings show that since the introduction of the BabyCare package, the company now holds significantly higher retention rates around staff taking parental leave. 93% of Caltex employees who took parental leave since the BabyCare Package was introduced in late 2012 have returned to work.


  • (d) Track success: Monitoring and evaluating policies and practices

Gain a clear understanding of the state of implementation of pregnancy and parental leave policies in your organisation. One way to measure the success of current programs is through auditing retention rates or tracking career progression post-parental leave. This information should be included in standard reporting processes (for example when reporting to the organisation’s board) to ensure that it is prioritised.

Assess and review existing programs and practices at regular intervals to identify where improvements or changes need to be made. Identify any implementation challenges through surveys or consultations with staff, particularly those who are pregnant, on leave or recently returned, to understand barriers to success.

[We] introduced retention stats that are specific to role types – reviewing the reasons for leaving – trying to discover if there are extra pressures on those leaving for child care.[744]

We’ve recently done a parental leave kit review. We interviewed [employees] 3 months after return to identify what are their challenges.[745]

Leading Practice: Example of disclosure of gender related measurable objectives[746]

ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations on Diversity: Commit to ‘developing a diverse pool of talented employees to ensure that we have the talent pipeline to fill critical roles now and into the future’:

  • Increase the percentage of women in management roles to 40% by 2015.
  • Increase female participation in Executive Leadership Development Program to 50% by 2015.[747]


  • (e) Enable informed and open decisions: Providing the information

A survey of 720 human resources professionals conducted by the Australian Human Resources Institute revealed that nearly half the respondents (47%) believed that open communication and consultation before, during and after parental leave is the best way for the organisation to retain the services of pregnant employees and parents returning to work.[748]

Use a guide/toolkit designed to give new and expectant parents relevant and practical information. This provides clarity and transparency to employees as well as to managers. This is key to combatting uncertainty that may surround pregnancy, parental leave and return to work. Guides/toolkits should include information on:

  • Employee rights and eligibility
  • The process for applying for leave, including key dates
  • Being on leave and keeping in touch
  • Returning from leave, including return to work notification requirements
  • Career planning with extended leave
  • Early childhood education and care options (eg directory of early childhood education and care services in the area, vacation care programs)
  • Further information sources (government websites, external agencies etc.)

Make the information accessible by publishing and circulating your organisation’s policies. Provide written copies, or post it on the intranet (if your organisation has one) and on the internet to inform prospective employees and clients. Conduct workshops/seminars on the policy and ensure that all employees – men and women - are invited.

Leading Practice: Sharing information on parental leave[749]

The Westpac Group’s parents@work program provides both mothers and fathers with the knowledge, confidence and support to transition successfully to and from parental leave, and to help them thrive as working parents. The program provides parents and their managers with access to a suite of options including:

  • The parents@work interactive portal, accessible by all staff, where employees can access information about flexible work, company policies and government entitlements and a dedicated Q&A section supporting parents and carers. The portal also includes information about:
    • Childcare resources
    • Preparing for parental leave
    • Staying in touch,
    • Returning to work, and
    • Managing your career as a working parent
  • Training courses - parents@work program seminars
  • Personalised coaching


Leading Practice: Sharing information on parental leave[750]

The ‘My Parental Leave’ guide for employees and the ‘Managing Parental Leave’ guide for line managers are the two key sources of ‘self-service’ information housed on ANZ’s intranet, which help the employee and their line manager navigate through every aspect of parental leave. They contain key facts, policy detail, timelines, checklists, sources of external information, benefits and processes.

The My Parental Leave Guide for Employees includes information relevant to the employee concerning eligibility, applying for leave, being on leave, and returning from leave – whether they are the primary care giver, the mum, dad, partner, co-parent, guardian or carer.

The Managing Parental Leave Guide for Line Managers includes information to help managers support their employees in checking eligibility, applying for leave, keeping in touch whilst on leave, and enabling a smooth transition when returning from leave. These guides also include signposts to government websites, and other external agencies.


  • (f) Empower managers: Providing support for management

Ensure that all managers are aware and informed of parental leave policies. This can include information sharing and training.

Support managers with coaching and resources. Managers face an array of issues when managing pregnancy/return to work, and may need support in executing their organisations’ policies. It may be helpful, for example, to provide anti-discrimination and unconscious bias education for managers, as well as internal and/or external coaching on managing uncertainty; managing employees on parental leave; and managing employees returning after parental leave.

It may be useful to offer specific resources or tools for managers, to support them in managing employees on parental leave. These may include:

  • Toolkits/guides including information such as: checking eligibility, applying for leave, keeping in touch while on leave, and enabling a smooth transition when returning from leave.
  • Checklists on what to discuss with or provide to employees, and when is best to do so.
  • IT systems, for example calendar alerts, notifying managers when to contact employees on leave.

[We provide] coaching [for] managers on [having] the conversation – because of difference between managers, [we] need the policies and rules in place.[751]

[The organisation] has a framework or guide that steps through the process for managing people on long term leave, for example: how to develop a communication plan. It also includes suggestions regarding at what stage and for what reasons you should contact an employee who is on leave. In addition, there’s an email reminder that goes out to managers who are responsible to remind them that they have to stay in touch. [752]

Ensure that the organisation’s structures encourage managers to support pregnant women and working parents by, for example:

  • Including retention of staff who are pregnant, on parental leave or on return to work, in managers’ performance criteria
  • Establishing formal repercussions for managers who do discriminate
  • Profiling managers (in newsletters or intranet or at staff meetings) who are effectively managing a number of staff who are pregnant/on return to work or

[I]t’s about education. Educating ... the managers and making them accountable for the policies and our expectations of how they’re going to deal with the situation.[753]

The other thing is we’ve developed a survey for every employee two months before they are due back and then three and six months after they come back. We notify the manager that they will be evaluated on their performance of managing that parental leave process and we survey the manager as well.[754]

It is important that managers are supported in creating a positive and responsive culture in the team from which the employee has taken parental leave and in the team to which the employee returns after parental leave. Managers should ensure that the employee’s team is fully aware of the arrangements regarding her/his return to work and the valuable contribution that he or she will provide. The team’s approach to that employee will significantly contribute to the success of the arrangement.

  • (g) Empower individuals: Providing support for employees

Offer internal and/or external coaching and/or training on career progression, managing absences, and managing work/life responsibilities to support employees to understand the impact of work on a parent and vice versa.

Sometimes there is a lack of knowledge in some of these employees about the options available ... You know, oh I’ll just apply for 12 months – well, why don’t you apply for six months, and then come back and see us, and then decide whether you want to extend it? And then work out whether you want it.[755]

[We offer a] workshop every quarter for women who are on leave and due to return called ‘Reignite your career’ – [it involves] women speaking to other women about their experiences.[756]

We’ve had workshops for women for a while now and then the men started to say: ‘What about us?’ We started a workshop for New Dads and Secondary Carers and it’s about their experience, how to maintain [their] career and handle new complexities of parenting in the workplace. They love it! The feedback was phenomenal. The facilitator in the workshop said she had never seen a group of men opening up so much. She said they talked about everything from lack of sex to the difficulties juggling work and family life. There needs to be more support for men. [757]

Create internal networks of support, such as an employee support network with information for parents and parents-to-be. This can be web-based and/or in person. Where appropriate, it may be useful to establish formal and informal mentoring programs to support and guide pregnant women and parents.

We have an online portal that provides pre-leave coaching, post-leave coaching, so that it’s not dependant on the specific manager.[758]

We’ve also set up a parenting network. Because we are an organisation of 50,000 people that’s difficult, so it’s online. We’ve had an amazing response and there are hundreds of people accessing it every day. People ask for advice about kids’ lunches, holiday care, tips for coming back from work. People connect from all across the country.[759]

[We have] an information portal for pregnant employees [and the] feedback [is] positive so far.[760]

Establish a robust return to work support infrastructure through a formal return to work process including a re-induction or re-orientation program for those returning from leave, as well as interviews on return and subsequently (eg every three months) to learn what is working well and what needs to be changed.

The biggest revolution for us is the return to work interviews which have given us insight into how the employee feels, how the manager is working and it helps us identify key issues. I read every interview and so does my managing director ... It has allowed us to come up with new things and enable us to profile successful women returning to work and flexible arrangements.[761]

Identify a return to work coordinator or establish a ‘buddy system’ to ensure that there is an individual in the organisation who is responsible for remaining connected with the employee on leave, and facilitating return to work.

We have a reconnect program where [employees on leave] can be assigned a buddy to help stay connected to the organisation.[762]

Provide anti-discrimination and unconscious bias education to address intentional and unintentional negative behaviour/attitudes from other employees.

It requires education to address resentment from other employees – why are women getting additional services?[763]

Now that there is a national scheme, it amazes me how many people don't actually understand it, and they don’t draw a line between: is this the employer giving this person some favourable treatment, or is this the employer just following the law? So I think it’s important to articulate what the law is and make sure everyone’s aware of it.[764]

Leading practice: Transitional coaching[765]

Supporting the career development of employees on parental leave and facilitating their return to work through:

  • One-on-one customised service for individuals preparing to return to work that recognises individual needs and circumstances
  • Monthly ‘development and opportunity reviews’ with parents on leave to ensure career plans are understood and to identify opportunities to reignite career plans upon return
  • A career coaching service including an information portal and seminars for parents within the organisation.


  • (h) Facilitate return to work: Establishing flexible work arrangements[766]

Better efficiency and performance results related to flexible work practices. Flexible work may refer to a range of different arrangements, such as changing hours of work (for example, working fewer hours or changing start or finish times), changing patterns of work (for example, working ‘split shifts’ or jobsharing) or changing the place of work (for example, working from home). Employers and employees work together to establish mutually agreeable arrangements as organisational and individual needs change.

Beyond the legal provision for eligible employees to request a flexible work arrangement under the FWA, a strong business case exists for providing flexible work options to employees because it can strengthen retention and productivity.

The vast majority of employees returning to work after parental leave choose to return in a part-time or flexible capacity. Without clear and supported flexible work options, employees simply will not return.

Benefits of accommodating requests for flexible work arrangements

Research from Australia and internationally shows that access to flexible work practices has a number of benefits for workers and employers alike, including increased efficiency; reduced absenteeism and turnover; reduced worker stress; increased job satisfaction; and increased capacity to attract and retain valued employees.

Designing flexible roles which focus on output and results, as opposed to ‘presenteeism’, is often more effective and has the added benefit of helping to retain employees who are unable to work full-time or need to work flexibly.

Contrary to the ‘ideal worker’ stereotype, research has found that employees in flexible roles tend to be more productive than their full-time colleagues simply by using their time more wisely.[767]

In terms of total time of work, they’re producing the total number of hours they’re being paid for but if they’re at work working a nine to five ... the normal Monday to Friday role they say that they look back at the history of their work and they were not as producti[ve] in those 37½ hours ... because you spend time having a chat [etc.]. [B]ut overall if they’re part-time they’re performing every minute of those hours that they’re being paid for so the productivity is greater. I’ve not seen a decline, in fact we’ve had increases in productivity over those five years and they’re all measurable [as] we measure them at the end of every year.[768]

[W]omen in flexible roles (part-time, contract or casual) have been found to be the most productive members of our workforce. Women in flexible roles waste only 11.1 per cent, compared to an average of 14.5 per cent for the rest of the working population. Given 43.2 per cent of women in the workforce work part-time, compared to 13.5 per cent of men[769], this translates into an important productivity bonus that few employers recognise.’[770]

Studies have shown that different forms of flexible work have generated different benefits, namely a compressed work week nearly doubled productivity and telecommuting increased productivity by 40%; flexible work schedules reduced turnover from 50% to 6% and companies that support flexible work arrangements showed 3.5% higher market value.[771]

This means that, contrary to common erroneous assumptions about women in flexible roles ‘not pulling their weight’, the reality is that introducing or expanding flexible work options can lead to greater efficiencies and outputs in the workplace.

As workplaces change their ways of working, therefore, they are increasingly seeing that developing a flexible work force is becoming a business imperative.

The relentless pursuit and development of the best people must become part of everyday life for us. Flexibility is both a productivity and people imperative.[772]


The FWO has identified the following ‘enablers’ to support the facilitation of work/life balance and encourage this return, including:

  • Accessing annual leave in single day periods or part days
  • Taking time off in lieu of overtime payments
  • Working additional hours to make up for time taken off
  • Accessing accrued rostered days off in part days or more flexibly
  • Working part-time or creating part-time work opportunities
  • Jobshare arrangements, telecommuting or home-based work.[773]

Certainly, a range of employers already endeavour to provide enablers of this kind in their workplaces.

It is also important to note that flexible work should be promoted as being accessible to both men and women and not be seen as merely a ‘women’s issue’. The increase over time of dual working parent households where there are dependent children has led to men requiring and wanting greater work/life balance. Research by Diversity Council Australia suggests that flexibility at work is critical to employment decisions and job performance for men and women, including male managers, young men, men approaching retirement and especially younger fathers.[774]

Significantly, research also suggests that once men start adopting a flexible work arrangement, flexible work becomes normalised, including in the workplace.

Men and flexibility’ constitutes an important enabler of mainstreaming flexibility in Australian business, through its capacity to assist organisations:

  • Promote flexible work and careers as legitimate for and available to all, rather than merely the domain of mothers with young children, working at lower levels and in lower paid roles;
  • Encourage leaders, who are disproportionately men, to lead ‘the charge’ in making flexible work and careers standard business practice; and
  • Make and communicate a broader business case for mainstreaming flexibility, which sees the connection between flexibility for men and organisational productivity and sustainability.[775]

Leading Practice: Flexible work at a Not-for-Profit organisation[776]

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWCC) Enterprise Agreement and policies provide the following:

All employees have the right to flexible work arrangements to assist them to meet their personal needs and/or family responsibilities. This right is particularly highlighted for staff returning from parental leave. The NTWWC will make all efforts to accommodate such requests, and can only refuse the request on reasonable grounds related to the impact of the Centre (which includes, but is not limited to cost, lack of adequate replacement staff, loss of efficiency and the impact on client service).

The Enterprise Agreement contains the model dispute resolution clause which means that if an employee’s request for flexible work has been refused, and other dispute resolution procedures have been exhausted, the employee may take the dispute to the Fair Work Commission for a binding resolution.


Leading Practice: Shared leave pool[777]

A professional services firm created a shared leave program. Employees with serious illnesses or other emergencies can receive up to 12 weeks of additional paid personal leave from other employees who donate their unused time off. The company reports that fully 100% of needs for donated time are met by employees, usually within minutes of an employee making an anonymous request.


Leading Practice: Jobshare register[778]

A large public sector organisation created a jobshare register to help staff and managers negotiate jobsharing arrangements.

This helped to address the common limitation of jobshare arrangements where an employee wishes to work part-time in a full-time role and cannot be matched up with another appropriate part-time employee within their direct work area.

The jobshare register will be promoted internally on the organisation’s intranet, and relevant employment guidelines and fact sheets will be developed to support its implementation, along with the toolkit.


Leading Practice: Schedule control[779]

An American retail store chain Best Buy’s flexible work program, known as the ‘Results Only Work Environment (ROWE)’, provided workers with autonomy to determine when and where they worked based on individual needs and job responsibilities as long as they worked effectively. Flexible work options included work from home and increased schedule control such as self-rostering. Analysis of ROWE found that increased schedule control was responsible for positive outcomes including improved health of staff and reduced work-family conflicts.[780] In addition, voluntary turnover rates reduced as much as 90% within teams implementing ROWE, resulted in savings of $2.2 million over the course of two years for one particular team, and increased productivity within teams by an average of 41%.[781]

The following are suggestions for ways in which employers can ‘mainstream flexibility’ and create sustainable flexible work options for employees.

Strategies for embedding flexible work[782]

Diversity Council Australia, a workplace diversity advisor, has identified key strategies for implementing flexible work successfully.

  1. Get designing: Integrate flexibility into job descriptions, job and work design, and teams; integrate flexibility into performance reviews & development plans; assess performance on outcomes, and recognise outcomes can be met in different ways; treat flexibility as a management deliverable; explore possibilities of technology and alternative work strategies.
  2. Get cultural: Ensure those who work flexibly are “accepted”; base relationships and expectations on trust; ensure flexible work is seen as the way things are done around here; challenge the stigma of working flexibly.
  3. Get leading: Senior leaders genuinely commit to flexible work; leaders lead by example – they are effective role models for flexibility; leaders have an active approach to mainstreaming flexibility; leaders have the capabilities to manage a majority flexible workforce; all staff have the necessary skills to engage in flexible work.
  4. Get talking: Show the business benefits; redefine flexible work by bringing it to life with examples; illustrate success stories – provide the details to enable others to copy; show how flexible work arrangements work on a practical level.
  5. Get strategising: Identify flexible work as a business need; have a long term business commitment to flexible work; create a strategy for a majority flexible workforce – this is part of workforce planning; report progress and outcomes as part of standard business reporting.
  6. Get universal: Foster a genuine acceptance of flexible work by all; ensure flexible work is available to all, regardless of job type or level; educate clients/customers and the community about flexible work.
  7. Get resourced: Equip people with the tools they need (eg IT, team-based processes); provide appropriate resourcing for flexibility; review policy and systems that may impede flexibility implementation; explore new ways of meeting clients’ needs and consult clients and customers about this.
  8. Get ROI: Engage in risk (eg not being flexible) vs return (eg retaining a skilled workforce) discussions; make the connection between flexibility and increased individual, team and organisational performance; measure the impact of flexible work and show the financial returns.
  9. Get proactive: Look for opportunities to integrate flexibility into day-to-day business operations; focus on ‘why not flexibility’ rather than looking for reasons to ’block’ flexibility.
  10. Get team-focussed: Consider the impact of flexible work on the whole team; focus on support from within and across teams; welcome team-based feedback on the impact of flexibility; create flexibly autonomous teams.
  11. Get career-focussed: Create flexible career opportunities; integrate flexibility into senior roles.

Make flexibility a priority by identifying flexible work as a business need. Make the connection between flexibility and increased individual, team and organisational performance. If possible, highlight this to the organisation by measuring the impact of flexible work on productivity and showing the financial returns. Finally, report the progress and outcomes of flexible work initiatives as part of standard business reporting.

[We have] set up a flexibility committee which is driving change – each committee member is from different parts of the business.[783]

Leading Practice: Flexible work[784]

Service in the Army has not historically been considered compatible with flexibility. In 2012, the Chief of the Australian Army set a goal of quadrupling the number of flexible workers by 2016. In order to achieve this, the Army:

  • released the Flexible Work Arrangements for Commanders and Soldiers Guide, outlining a commitment from Army to be an employer which has the flexibility to provide its people with a satisfying and sustainable work-life balance.
  • held workshops nationwide for commanders to understand the benefit of flexibility, how to manage flexible teams and to consider how to implement flexible arrangements in their workplaces.
  • instituted policy requiring commanders to consider Flexible Work Applications with an open mind and to better appreciate the personal circumstances underpinning the request for flexibility.
  • purchased IT equipment to enable flexible work, including laptops, remote access tokens and 3G cards.
  • established a flexible work section to assist junior members of the organisation to better understand what flexible work was, how the policy worked and how to apply for flexible work arrangements.   

As a result of these initiatives, Army achieved a baseline of 495 informal and formal flexible workplace arrangements in September 2013. Army's improved use and understanding of flexibility was demonstrated in the Defence ‘YourSay’ survey where respondents indicated that the use of informal flexible work arrangements increased over 2013, from 49 per cent in February, to 63 per cent by October and the use of formal flexible work arrangements also increased slightly, from 15 per cent in February 2013, to 18 per cent in October 2013.


Design flexible jobs and flexible careers. When assessing the viability of flexibility for a particular role, ask ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’.

Gathering input from employees helps employers to understand the needs of different groups. Flexible careers can also be enhanced by integrating flexibility into performance reviews and development plans, ensuring that performance is assessed on outcomes and recognising that these outcomes can be met in different ways.

Technology can be very useful in supporting flexible work. Lap tops, smart phones and video conferencing can all be leveraged to enable working remotely.

[There are] ways for us to be innovative and try and find ways in which [employees] can work from home, or do the reduced hours, do the pick-up. [Working remotely] they [can] pick up computers at night after the kids have gone to a couple of hours.[785]

Leading Practice: All roles flexible[786]

Telstra has implemented a policy of making all roles flexible within its organisation.

Our purpose with ‘All Roles Flex’ was to adopt a new and disruptive position around mainstreaming flexibility that would amplify productivity benefits, lift engagement, establish a clear market proposition and also enable a new way of working, with technology linked very strongly to enabling this.

Early on, we had very strong and visible senior level – including CEO – support to make ‘All Roles Flex’ our standard, so this was really helpful in positioning the work.

To test our ideas first, we piloted the ‘All Roles Flex’ approach in our (then) Customer Sales and Service business unit (TCS&S), which contains roles in account management, contact centre and retail environments, among others.

The results of our three month pilot were compelling. In TCS&S overall, comparing roles not sourced as ‘flexible’ with those sourced as ‘flexible’, we saw:

  • female representation among applicants increase from 28% to 32% (28% to 30% for external applicants, and 28% to 37% for internal applicants); and
  • female representation among offers accepted increase from 37% to 50% (38% to 55% for external applicants and 36% to 44% for internal applicants).

The stage was therefore set for a more extensive adoption of ‘All Roles Flex’. Accordingly, as part of our symbolic actions to support the launch of Telstra’s new Purpose and Values in September 2013, it was announced that we would adopt ‘All Roles Flex’ in all Business Units at Telstra by the end of March 2014.

‘All Roles Flex’ at Telstra means that flexibility in some form is something we’re open to discussing for all our jobs. We have adopted a very broad definition of ‘flexibility’ in this regard, recognising that the practice will mean different things for different people and different work types.

Flexibility can include part-time work, different working hours, or working from different locations, instead of the traditional full-time ‘36.75 hour week’, and is practised in different ways across our many types of roles within both scheduled and non-scheduled environments. Flexibility in a scheduled work environment (such as a Telstra store) could mean the ability to express a preference to work certain scheduled shifts. Flexibility in a non-scheduled work environment could mean different working hours (ie later starts or earlier finishes depending on your situation); working at other locations (ie from home or another Telstra office if it’s more convenient); being open to hiring candidates in different locations; and reduced hours (ie part-time).

As with current practice, we will continue to expect our leaders to proactively engage their team members on ways of working that include flexibility to make sure that work and life can be balanced, and so aspirations and different life stages and events can be factored in. This is an ongoing expectation.

Our leaders will encourage team members to give flexibility a go by talking to their people, and modelling and trialling new ways of working.

We have zero tolerance for potentially unlawful discriminatory behaviour or anyone unreasonably refusing requests for flexible work. This is why a consistent and long term view is required to affect change, with ongoing focus on leader education, a spotlight on successful flexible working, and visible modelling of flexibility at all levels of the organisation, and in a variety of circumstances.

In 2014, Telstra ran the Employee Engagement Survey which asked employees to agree whether or not ‘at Telstra they are able to access flexibility and balance their work and personal life’. 84% of employees responded positively, an increase of 4% from the previous year, where the positive response rate was 80%.

The same survey also saw a positive change in employees’ views of their ability to manage work pressure.



Promote flexible work and embed flexibility into the organisation’s culture. There may be biases among some employees and managers against flexible work. For example, individuals may assume that an employee working reduced hours is not committed to her/his career. It is important to challenge the stigma of working flexibly by visibly profiling role models, especially senior role models and business leaders, who are embracing flexibility. Employers can do this by illustrating success stories; providing the details of flexible work arrangements to enable others to replicate; and showing how flexible work arrangements work on a practical level. Employers can also educate clients/customers and the community about flexible work.

[We] gathered examples of role models throughout business – male and female – people on flexible working arrangements. Communicating these case studies [is] helping people to understand realities.[787]

It may also be useful to create a toolkit for flexible arrangements to communicate the options.

Leading strategies for small businesses and organisations

Implementing strategies about pregnancy, parental leave and return to work can pose some particular challenges for small businesses and organisations. The National Review consulted with employers from small businesses and organisations who shared some practical, no-cost strategies to effectively manage pregnancy, parental leave and return to work. The small number of staff and tight-knit work environments can foster closer relationships and greater understanding between employer and employee.

Some positive workplace practices and strategies of small businesses and organisations include:

  • Recognising that parents are an asset: Many small businesses provide niche goods and services and thus require staff with specific skills and experience. By valuing all employees as an asset to their organisation, small businesses understand that retaining pregnant women and parents is an imperative for the long term success of the business.
  • Having open conversations: Open communication directly between an employer and employee, instead of through Human Resources, can facilitate trust and help to avoid confusion and uncertainty when an employee is pregnant, on parental leave and returning to work on flexible arrangements. Similarly, open conversations with all staff help to manage expectations and encourage a supportive work environment.
  • Keeping in touch: A small business employer[788] provided employees on parental leave advanced notice of any changes to their work or opportunities for training and professional development, such as working on projects from home. Employees on parental leave are sometimes invited to bring their baby to work and to team meetings and social gatherings.
  • Simple, no-cost solutions: One small business owner[789] allocated a spare room in the office to enable his employee to breastfeed her baby and express on return to work.
  • Providing some leeway: Flexibility with shifts and allowing employees to cover for each other to accommodate early or later start and finish times.

6.2 Implementing policies and managing the process comprehensively and efficiently

Beyond ensuring that a strong organisational foundation exists for supporting employees who are pregnant, on parental leave or returning to work (as detailed above), employers need to manage and implement the policies and programs with diligence and care. The following points were identified by employers and in research as being crucial to successful implementation.

  • (a) Start off right: Establishing arrangements for work during pregnancy

Enable a positive and productive conversation about working during pregnancy by offering resources to managers and employees, including guides regarding what to discuss and information on where to turn for advice and support (for example a Human Resources representative in a large organisation or a business leader in a small business).

Communicating and providing information. I think that makes a huge, huge difference to’s such an exciting but also very daunting time for women who become pregnant.[790]

Discuss issues that may be relevant for a pregnant employee, for example:

  • Expectations for work arrangements during pregnancy
  • Planning for pre-natal visits (frequency and duration)
  • Pregnancy related illness, including morning sickness, and how to approach associated absence
  • Workplace safety and any accommodations that will be made, if relevant
  • Planning for parental leave including scheduling a separate meeting to discuss details.

Take measures to ensure a safe working environment for pregnant employees. If the role cannot be made safe, identify an alternative role for the employee. There are particular workplace health and safety issues to consider for pregnant employees, as well as employees who are breastfeeding and returning to work after a caesarean section. Certain workplace environments may also have an impact on reproductive health.

We actually have a form developed called a task analysis form, for different jobs ... [I]t breaks [tasks] into the muscle groups, the part of the body, the rotation, bending, whatever is required in that role. We send that [to pregnant employees so they can take it] along with them to the doctor.[791]

And one of the things that we offered to her as time went on in her pregnancy, would you like to change locations? Because she had steps to go up to the offices and we offered her the option that at any stage if you feel that you don’t want to be working upstairs, we’ll change locations, etcetera.[792]

Health and safety issues to consider[793]

Risks and Hazards – Pregnancy

  • Manual handling – lifting and twisting, muscles are often weaker during pregnancy as ligaments are more relaxed
  • Heavy workloads and work intensity – bending, stretching, working on ladders
  • Slips, trips and falls - centre of gravity changes when pregnant
  • Low or high blood pressure - due to increased production of blood in the body when pregnant, can lead to light headedness and fainting.
  • Prolonged standing – varicose veins, swelling of legs, ankles and feet, pelvic floor prolapse, lower back pain. Higher risk of blood clotting.
  • Hazardous chemicals – can affect both mother and foetus through skin absorption, ingestion, and inhalation. A pregnant woman will breathe more frequently and deeply making her more vulnerable to the effects of the chemicals.
  • Exposure to infections and viruses eg Rubella (German measles), chicken pox
  • Fatigue
  • Shift work - irregular work hours may be associated with a slight increase in the risk of spontaneous abortion and reduced fertility
  • Heat stress – lack of air-conditioning and dehydration, especially concerning when toilet breaks are refused by the employer so employees do not drink enough water for fear of needing to go to the toilet.
  • Biological hazards – occupational exposure, such as nurses who are at a greater risk of being exposed to Hepatitis B and HIV
  • Hygiene practices - exposure to salmonella, toxoplasmosis (veterinary sciences)
  • Gestational diabetes- special requirements, such as regular and frequent rest breaks, will be needed.
  • Bullying and harassment – increased likelihood of experiencing bullying and harassment when pregnant and returning to work.
  • Stress and depression
  • Morning sickness – nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to smells and foods
  • Injury during pregnancy and birth – hip and back injuries

Risks and Hazards - Breastfeeding

  • Exposure to chemicals which can pass through into the breast milk and into the infant
  • Work patterns, irregular hours, long hours, effect on supply
  • Fatigue and shift work can affect supply
  • Exposure to heat and cold in the workplace - heat stress and dehydration can affect supply of breast milk

Risks and Hazards – Returning to Work

  • Post caesarean recovery and complications – heavy lifting
  • Stress and post natal depression
  • Bullying

Risks and Hazards Reproductive health - Fertility of women and men

  • Exposure to hazardous chemicals (for example insecticides – farming, pharmaceuticals, factory workers, fruit pickers and packers)
  • Radiation
  • Lead exposure
  • Fatigue
  • Shift work/night work – effect on fertility


Leading Practice: Risk assessment checklist[794]

Hume Bank, one of Australia’s leading regional mutual financial institutions, developed a Risk Assessment Checklist which details the risks associated with working conditions for pregnant women and women returning to work after giving birth.

The Checklist covers:

  • Movement and posture
  • Manual handling
  • Protective equipment and uniforms
  • Hazardous substances – infection risks and chemicals
  • Working time (eg long hours)
  • Work related stress
  • Extremes of cold or heat
  • Work at heights (eg risk of fainting)
  • Work related violence
  • Welfare issues (eg hygiene and storage for expressed breast milk)

The checklist is completed periodically throughout the pregnancy by the employee with her manager to promote conversation between both parties ensuring that any concerns can be openly discussed. The form is sent to Human Resources to action any issues which have been identified. For each of these issues, the Checklist outlines the nature of the risk and what questions employers should ask themselves in order to establish whether the work is safe.

  • Does the woman have to stand for periods of eg more than 2-3 hours without a break?
  • Does she have to sit for periods of more than 2-3 hours?
  • Can the equipment and workstation be adjusted to fit the worker?
  • Does the job involve awkward twisting or stretching?
  • Are there space restrictions? Will these cause more restricted movement as the pregnancy develops?
  • Does the job involve twisting, stooping or stretching?
  • Does the job involve rapid repetitive lifting (even if lighter objects)?
  • Does the job involve lifting objects that are difficult to grasp or are awkward to hold?
  • Is the woman wearing the right size uniform replacement?
  • Is the uniform replacement comfortable?
  • Are there any infection risks at work?
  • If so, are hygiene precautions adequate?
  • Is the woman expected to work long hours/overtime?
  • Does she have some flexibility or choice over her working hours?
  • Does the work involve early starts or late finishes?
  • Are there tasks which are known to be particularly stressful eg working with irate customers?
  • Are colleagues and supervisors supportive towards the pregnant worker?
  • Is the pregnant worker aware of what to do if she feels she is being bullied or victimised?
  • Has the individual risk assessment taken into account of any concerns the woman has about her own pregnancy?
  • Does the work involve exposure to temperatures that are uncomfortably cold or hot?
  • Is the worker exposed to cold draughts even where the average temperature is acceptable?
  • Are there arrangements for frequent breaks and access to hot/cold drinks?
  • Does the work involve a lot of climbing up and down steps or ladders?
  • Does the work involve carrying items or boxes up or down steps or ladders?
  • Is the job one which is perceived to have a high risk of violence?
  • Is there always support at hand to help staff who may be threatened or abused by customers?
  • Are managers and supervisors aware of the extra risk for pregnant women?
  • Is there somewhere quiet for pregnant workers to rest?
  • Are they given easy access to toilets and more frequent breaks than other workers if needed?
  • Is there a clean, private area for breastfeeding workers to express breast milk?
  • Is there somewhere safe for them to store expressed milk?


  • (b) Prepare for the absence: Negotiating a mutually beneficial parental leave arrangement

Discuss important relevant details upfront. Leading employers suggest that it is important to have a comprehensive and open discussion with employees early on.

Leading Practices: Tips for the initial planning meeting

  • Have the right attitude. Good relationships between manager and staff member allow the best negotiations
    • Offer congratulations
    • Be understanding that decisions impacting family choices are important and can sometimes be emotional
  • Be open and honest in terms of needs and expectations. Discuss the need to balance individual and organisational needs right up front. The more that the arrangement is set up as a partnership, the more successful it will be.
  • Be prepared and informed. Create a check list that covers off on key issues. Issues to consider for an initial planning meeting include:[795]
    • Employment rights and obligations, including Health and Safety (if relevant)
    • Policies relating to maternity leave (duration and pay)
    • The employee’s plans and expectations, including ‘unknowns’ (such as exact return to work date and whether the employee will want to return part-time or to flexible working arrangements)
    • Options for cover during maternity leave
    • How to keep in touch during maternity leave, including frequency and type of communication
    • Access to equipment such as mobile phones or laptops
    • Access to professional development opportunities while on leave eg training, job opportunities
    • Options for returning to work, including how to identify flexible working options if required
    • Timeframes for decision making (eg when will she make a decision regarding return to work date) and key dates and potential reasons for changes in dates and decisions (eg return date may be dependent on availability of childcare).
  • Involve the right people. In addition to the employee and his/her direct manager, make sure any relevant individuals are involved or aware, for example, the Human Resources department, or in the case of small businesses and organisations, the owner or general manager.

    Negotiating return to work is done by [the] line manager. Human Resources gets involved when [the] employee gets no support ... Human Resources does [a reasonableness] test and tries to work out reasonable arrangements.[796]


Be efficient. Ensure a quick turn around on paper work and consistent follow up. A quick process signals to the employee that she/he is valued and facilitates planning ahead. For example, if an employee has requested a part-time work arrangement upon return to work, receiving a timely response may be essential so that she/he can organise child care arrangements to enable her/his return.

Enable a productive conversation by offering resources to managers and employees including guides/checklists on what to discuss (see Leading Practices: Tips for initial planning meeting) and information on where to turn for advice and support, such as a Human Resources representative in a large organisation or an owner of a small business.

  • (c) Manage the transition: Staying in touch with an employee on leave

Discuss the details of leave in advance. It is important to plan in advance and discuss backfill arrangements and commitments before the period of leave commences. Relevant information for discussion includes key contacts during the leave period; handovers of work or clients; and important dates and milestones during the leave.

It is useful to discuss what level of contact and communication there should be with the employee during parental leave, including what keeping–in-touch measures will be in place.

It is also useful to arrange a pre-determined time to get in touch with an employee on leave, so that the employee’s expectations and preferences concerning contact during parental leave can be considered and managed.

[It’s] also about preparing people before they take leave so that they can play an active role in helping the manager work through things. We try [to structure] part-time arrangements as agreements between equal parties as to how they are going to work and how to be evaluated over time. There’s no panacea, it’s a case by case.[797]

Maintain good communication while on leave. The following are some examples of ways to do this:.[798]

  • Make sure a particular person in the workplace is given responsibility to forward important information about the workplace to the employee on leave, such as any important changes to the structure of the employee’s workplace
  • Forward staff newsletters, updates and important emails to the employee’s home email account where appropriate, or arrange for them to have remote access to their work email account where practical and where the employee has agreed
  • Invite all employees on parental leave to attend any social events (for example holiday functions), planning days, training or team building days which occur during their leave
  • Arrange for contact with the employee when they are nearing the end of their leave to discuss the return-to-work expectations of the employee and the employer, such as hours of work, flexible working arrangements, or any adjustments that will need to be made to their role
  • Make development and/or training programs available to employees on parental leave
  • Ensure that employees on leave do not miss out on performance reviews and salary increments or bonuses while on leave
  • Encourage the use of paid ‘keep in touch’ days, if the employee so chooses
  • Allow employees on parental leave, who have agreed, to retain technology, such as mobile phones and laptops

The National Review heard that many employers already recognise the value of maintaining contact and relationships with employees while they are on leave:

One thing we have done is [offer] employee development programs for those who have just returned to work because they feel like their careers aren’t developing at the rate they would like.[799]

The other thing we are doing more of, which has good feedback, is paying for courses and training for people on leave...People [are] filling in some of their time and keeping their brain fresh while they are on leave. It helps support the expectation that they are coming back and we fully pay for that.[800]

We give full internet and intranet access whilst people are absent. They are still employed by the business so therefore our intention is to keep them aware.[801]

Leading Practice: Communication plan for employees on leave[802]

Telstra has developed a communication plan for managing employees on leave.

Telstra has developed a communication plan for managing employees on leave.


  • (d) Manage the return process: Supporting and encouraging return to work

Support employees to return to work through initiatives that ease the transition back to work. For example, in light of the financial pressures that many new parents face, some organisations offer financial incentives to return (for example a bonus for early childhood education and care services).

Another option for helping employees return to work is through supporting affordable and accessible early childhood education and care services, for example:

  • Subsidising the cost through salary package
  • Identifying services close to work
  • Providing in-house care
  • Enabling children to access the work place (where safe) or providing a carer’s room

Different employers find different ways to do this:

We had a room on our ground floor and it was set up with a computer that you could use to log in and work and it had a cot [and] a change table. So you booked it through a central IT resource, and I used it a few times when my son was sick and my wife couldn’t look after him, and that worked really well.[803]

One of the things we do [parents who] go to conferences with child care costs...We say on all the letters, that it is for men and women, and it covers broader carer stuff.[804]

A male [business] owner who had [a] good female employee [working] part-time, and [he] was willing to [allow her to] have the baby in the office...She fed the baby and planned her breaks around feeding the child, and was able to work and have her baby in a cot or stroller in the office.[805]

Leading Practice: Employer provided childcare[806]

‘The Treehouse’ is a Stockland built childcare centre, managed by KU Children's Services and located in its Sydney Head Office in the heart of the Sydney CBD.

It is a fully equipped, state of the art childcare facility licensed for 56 children, and provides long day care for children from birth to school age. Limited occasional care is also available.

Stockland’s PPL policy, support with childcare, flexible working arrangements and leading edge parental transitions program, has resulted in a significant increase in parental leave return rates – to 92%.


Leading practice: Child care resources[807]

ANZ has downloadable ‘child care kits’ which provide employees information about child care facilities and fees, government assistance and rebates and options for child care (ie a Child Care Directory), looking after children when they are sick, vacation care programs and shift work.


Leading Practice: Return to work incentives[808]

Beginning in April 2013, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) introduced new entitlements which pay all new mothers double wages for their first six weeks back at work as part of a 20-week paid parental leave package. The company, which owns CGU and NRMA Insurance, has offered the package to all eligible employees of its 10,000-strong workforce from April 2013.

Women applying for parental leave at IAG will receive 14 weeks’ paid leave, which was formerly the standard offering, and now an additional six weeks’ worth of double pay upon their return to work.


Leading Practice: Children’s room at work [809]

One small organisation created a ‘Family Room’ at work, with a bed, chairs, a computer with games, and a TV and DVDs. The room allows parents to bring their children back after school or have them attend themselves, so that the parents can complete their work day. The room can be used on occasion if a child is unable to go to day care or school, and is utilised nearly every day.

Another organisation created a ‘Parenting Room’, where employees can bring a sick child to work with them when child care options aren’t available. The room is booked online through the organisation’s portal, and is set up with a cot, change table and computer. The parenting room is large enough to fit several children and a working parent, if required.[810]


Highlight flexible return options, so that employees are aware of the possibilities. Managers who are proactive in helping employees ‘think outside the box’ may help in developing mutually beneficial work arrangements that encourage employees to return to work.

Leading Practice: Flexible work arrangements[811]

As of May 2012, Australian Defence Force members had access to the following flexible work arrangements:

  • Temporary Home located Work (THLW): THLW enables a Defence Member to complete work at a specified location outside their normal workplace. It can be utilised in a temporary or occasional arrangement, or as an ongoing arrangement for a specified time, on a part-time or full-time basis.
  • Variable Working hours (VWH): This policy allows Defence Members flexibility with their start and finish time as well as any periods of absence from the workplace. This may be utilised as a one-off or as an ongoing arrangement.
  • Part-time Leave Without Pay (PTLWOP): PTLWOP enables Defence Members to work a reduced number of days or work part days in a fortnight pay period. PTLWOP may include jobsharing.

Establish a clear process for requesting and granting flexible work requests. Make the process straightforward and well documented by creating a standard application form for flexible work requests. Establish clear timeframes for submitting, processing, changing or cancelling requests. Larger organisations may consider establishing a ‘Flexibility Committee’ or ‘Flexibility Manager’ to manage the process. Smaller organisations may choose to designate management of the process to an existing staff member, instead of creating a new position.

We now have a centralised role of flexibility manager. We are small, just 400 people, so it can be one person (that person is me). Every formal request for flexibility comes to me and I’m involved in brokering those arrangements for every person. There’s equity of treatment and of process and everyone knows that. So that no matter who they work for, they get a fair go about what’s negotiated for them. Part of that is coaching partners and managers on my part how to handle flexible work better and coaching the individual about their responsibilities. And it’s about mutual responsibility to make sure that everyone participates in making this work. For those returning, we discuss how have things changed, how are things going to change? And we do some catch ups, once they have returned to work, 3 months in. [812]

[We have a] form for flexible work application. It outlines steps to discuss [and] asks managers, have you considered...[813]

Support managers in managing flexible workers. Managing employees on flexible work arrangements may present a number of concerns. It may therefore be useful for employers to provide coaching and support for managers on how to supervise flexible employees, including how to ensure that employee output expectations are tailored to match their reduced/changed hours of work.

Specific support may be required for managing flexibility in the context of rosters/shift work, since this kind of work poses specific challenges to flexible work arrangements.

Our Chief Technology Officer had an experienced staff [member] retire who needed to be replaced. There were two women returning from parental leave at the same time. With the Human Resources partner, we wrote a [jobshare] proposal for [the] two was in Melbourne, one in Sydney. He agreed to it. And now he speaks [publically] as to how wonderful it has been. This gets others thinking about how good it is to manage that way.[814]

Leading Practice: Flexibility coaching program[815]

One organisation’s Human Resources department piloted a flexibility coaching program with a small number of participants. The coach found that working with both the employee and their manager on an as needed basis worked well. As the flexibility coaching pilot continued, the organisation broadened the reach to include all senior managers who are managing flexible team members. The format for the coaching was changed to be more of an assistive service to supplement broader manager education on managing the workplace of the future.


  • (e) Accommodate specific needs: Securing the physical environment

Ensure that the workplace accommodates specific employee needs, for example, by providing appropriate breastfeeding/expressing facilities (at a minimum these facilities should be private, hygienic, have seating and access to power points). Access to refrigeration for expressed breast milk should also be provided.

[We have] multi-access suites but [they are] predominantly [used as] breastfeeding rooms.[816]

We let them bring their baby in to staff meetings. We’re quite flexible like that.[817]

Leading Practice: Breastfeeding policy[818]

On 28 April 2010, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission approved the application by the NSW Director of Public Employment to vary the Crown Employees (Public Service Conditions of Employment) Award 2009 (the Award).

The variation includes the following provisions:

  • A full-time staff member or part-time staff member working more than four hours a day is entitled to up to two paid breaks of up to 30 minutes each day for the purpose of breastfeeding or expressing milk.
  • A part-time staff member, who is working less than or equal to 4 hours on any one day is entitled to one paid lactation break of up to 30 minutes on that day.
  • Flexible arrangements achieved by mutual agreement between staff members and their supervisors.
  • The Breastfeeding Policy seeks a flexible and consultative approach to the provision of breaks and facilities for breastfeeding mothers where both employees and supervisors have responsibilities. The Policy acknowledges that breastfeeding promotes the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies.

For more information, please contact NSW Industrial Relations at


Small Business Leading Practice: Breastfeeding workshop[819]

Tegan[820] returned to her workplace, an automobile workshop, several months after giving birth. She advised her employers that she would need to breastfeed whilst at work.

The workshop, being fairly small and highly male-dominated, was unable to provide a room solely for breastfeeding. This posed a challenge because previous employees returning to work had stated that they didn’t want ‘a 17 year old staring’ whilst they breastfed.

The organisation decided that it was important to create a better work place culture for Tegan and other mothers where they could breastfeed comfortably. The employer consulted Tegan and the other mothers within the workplace about what questions and behaviour would be appropriate around them regarding their breastfeeding.

Using the information gathered, Tegan’s employers arranged for the younger apprentices to mix with the older employees and facilitated a discussion without Tegan present. ‘It was very much, let's all sit in the tearoom and have a chat about it...Let's talk about breastfeeding, what it is, how it works...why we do it, why we don’t do it.’

The information session was met with genuine interest and acceptance from employees.

After this information session took place, both Tegan and her employer reported a positive result, where a change in the workplace culture meant that Tegan was able to breastfeed comfortably without affecting her workplace relationships.



Leading Practice: Parking on campus for pregnant women[821]

Melbourne University Parkville Campus Policy:

A parking permit to allow easier access to the workplace, may be granted to staff who are more than six months pregnant. A staff member who is pregnant and wishes to apply for a parking permit should consult the Parking Office...with a doctor’s letter indicating the expected date of birth of the child. A fee applies to parking permits.


Leading Practice: Managing the parental leave process before, during and after

‘Off boarding’ (ie those going on leave) recommendations:

  • Managers to take a more active role in a parental leaver’s transition to leave - including talking employees through the Parental Leave Pack. To assist Managers talk through the pack and more broadly, increase Manager’s understanding of current legislation, obligations and [the Organisation’s] policies/processes, a Parental Leave Guide for Managers to be developed. Additionally, managers encouraged to assign the parental leaver a ‘buddy’ whose role is to keep in touch with the parental leaver whilst they are on leave and provide updates as/when appropriate.
  • Ensuring adherence to the Parental Leave and Return to work Guarantee, policies, including all decisions on parental leave backfills requiring Human Resources’ involvement and subsequent approval.
  • Increase accuracy of parental leave data - ensure that all employees taking parental leave are captured accurately in the Human Resources management system including their effective return date to allow us to proactively manage the careers of our parental leavers and therefore create a smooth return to work transition.

‘On leave’ (ie those on parental leave) - In addition to the current offerings of the parental leave seminars and parenting programs:

  • Implement a ‘Stay in Touch’ Program designed to:
    • Alleviate the feeling of being ‘disconnected’ with the workplace.
    • Maintain levels of engagement to the workplace.
  • Set clear expectations with Managers around their responsibilities in maintaining contact and therefore ‘checking-in’ with their employee regularly.
  • Implement ‘Keeping in touch’ days - The Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (Cth) makes provision for keeping in touch days, when an employee performs work for the employer on a day or part of a day while on a period of approved leave. Our plan is for managers to use this as a tool to engage employees and bring them up to speed quickly before their return to the workforce.

‘Onboarding’ (ie those returning from parental leave) - in addition to retaining and promoting our current offerings (eg, career coaching, parenting partner program etc.):

  • ‘I’m back!’ Seminar: A session designed to provide additional support services to employees who have recently returned to work from parental leave and are combining work and family.
  • Parental Leave Survey: Within three months of their return to work, all parental leavers to complete a Parental Leave and Return to Work Survey to obtain feedback on their overall leave experience, levels of satisfaction with our processes / programs etc and recommendations for improvement. This survey will allow [the Organisation] to validate the effectiveness of our measures.
  • Supporting flexible work requests: Where parental leave employees request a flexible working arrangement, this should be considered as a ‘default’ yes – requiring a shift in mindset of our managers.


Table 2: Implementing policies and managing the process comprehensively and efficiently [822]

Starting off right
Preparing for leave
Staying connected
Career acceleration
Standard expectation
Pregnant employees should be able to continue working ‘business as usual’, while having specific needs accommodated
Leave and return should be clearly planned, appropriately setting expectations for both employees and managers
Parents should feel connected to the organisation during leave and the encouragement to return should be clear
Parents should be able to pick up where they left off, while being able to balance work and family commitments
Career planning and development opportunities made available – placing returning parents on same successful career trajectory as all other employees
Mechanism to support
Manager and employee checklists to facilitate a positive and productive conversation about working during pregnancy; work health and safety checklist
Manager and employee checklists; discuss ‘staying in touch’ expectations; plan expected return dates; ensure a quick turn around on paper work and consistent follow up
Formal catch-up dates that are not cancelled; access to laptop and mobile; inclusion in development reviews; business update newsletters
Highlight flexible return options and establish a formal process for requesting and granting flexible work requests; support managers to manage flexible workers; return to work workshops and seminars; early childhood education and care services services; accommodate specific needs around breastfeeding/ expressing milk
Career planning; sustainable flexible program; removal of any unconscious or systemic bias
Mindsets that need challenging
‘She’s got babybrain’
‘Oh, you’re pregnant! You must be stepping back from your career for a while’
‘She won’t want to be bothered with what’s happening in the business during leave’
‘Have you had a good holiday?’
‘She won’t want that opportunity, and I don’t want to load more work on her when she already has a family to balance’


6.3 Conclusion

This chapter has outlined some of the leading practices and strategies being developed – and, importantly, adopted - by organisations around Australia. It has also featured guidelines and best practice policies developed by national and international agencies which aim to guide employers in shaping supportive workplaces. Significantly, it has highlighted strategies for small, medium and large sized organisations. The fact that many of these practices are already in place is proof that it is possible to step outside the conventional model of work and to develop a new concept of the ‘ideal worker’ which better reflects contemporary ways of working.

The initiatives highlighted in this chapter signal what many businesses already understand – that successful and productive workplaces are ones in which employers and employees are partners; in which every member is valued for their unique contributions; in which employers can develop a skilled workforce which they know will make a positive contribution to the organisation for the longer term.

[733] A Wittenberg-Cox, ‘How One Law Firm Maintains Gender Balance’, Harvard Business Review Blog Network (27 May 2014). At: how-one-law-firm-maintains-gender-balance/ (viewed June 2014).

[734] Consultation 1P (Employers).

[735] Fair Work Ombudsman, Best Practice Guide Parental Leave (2013). At: (viewed 13 June 2014).

[736] Australian Human Rights Commission, 1996 Guidelines for Special Measures Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (1996). At: (viewed 13 June 2014).

[737] Rice Warner, ‘Rice Warner implements retirement savings equity’ (31 July 2013). At (viewed 14 July 2014).

[738] Male Champions of Change initiative. At (viewed 13 July 2014).

[739] Fair Work Ombudsman, Best Practice Guide Parental Leave (2013). At: (viewed 13 June 2014).

[740] Employer questionnaire no. 47.

[741] Laing O’Rourke, ‘Industry Leading Paid Parental Leave’ (Media Release, 20 March 2014). At:; Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Supporting parents givens competitive edge to construction firm. At (viewed 13 June 2014)

[742] Monash University, Expectant and New Parent Kit (2013). At: (viewed 13 June 2014)

[743] Employer submission no. 10 (Diversity Council Australia).

[744] Consultation 5B (Employers).

[745] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[746] KPMG and ASX, ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations on Diversity (2014). At: (viewed 13 June 2014).

[747] KPMG and ASX, ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations on Diversity (2014), p 25. At: (viewed 13 June 2014).

[748] Employer submission no. 6 (Australian Human Resources Institute).

[749] Information provide to the National Review by Westpac on 15 July 2014.

[750] Employer Questionnaire no. 47.

[751] Consultation 5B (Employers).

[752] Consultation 8E (Employers).

[753] Consultation 8E (Employers).

[754] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[755] Consultation 1K (Employers).

[756] Consultation 1R (Employers).

[757] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[758] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[759] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[760] Consultation 1R (Employers).

[761] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[762] Consultation 1A (Employers).

[763] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[764] Consultation 1K (Employers).

[765] Male Champions of Change, Accelerating the advancement of women in leadership: Listening, Learning, Leading (2013), p 35. At (viewed 13 June 2014).

[766] This section is informed by Diversity Council Australia, Get Flexible: Mainstreaming Flexible Work in Australian Business (2012). At: life%20and%20flexibility%20documents/DCA%20MF%20Report%2012%20March%202012 %20FINAL.pdf (viewed 13 June 2014). At (viewed 13 June 2014).

[767] Grattan Institute, Game-changers: Economic reform priorities for Australia (2012). At (viewed 13 June 2014).

[768] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[769] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4125.0 - Gender Indicators, Australia, Jan 2013 (2013). At %202013 (viewed 13 June 2014).

[770] Ernst & Young, Untapped opportunity: The role of women in unlocking Australia’s productivity potential (2013), p3.

[771] WorldatWork, Alliance for Work-Life Progress: A Business Case for Work-Life: Work-Life Effectiveness Can Impact Your Business (2007). At (viewed 14 July 2014). See also Boston College Center for Work & Family, Building the Business Case for Work-Life Programs. At (viewed 14 June 2014); Boston College Center for Work and Family Overcoming the Implementation Gap: How 20 Leading Companies are Making Flexibility Work, At (viewed 14 June 2014);

[772] Grant O’Brien, CEO, Woolworths in Male Champions of Change, Accelerating the advancement of women in leadership: Listening, Learning, Leading (2013), p 27. At (viewed 14 June 2014).

[773] Fair Work Ombudsman, Best Practice Guide Work & family (2013). At: (viewed June 2014).

[774] Diversity Council Australia, Men get flexible! Mainstreaming flexible work in Australian (2012). At!/293 (viewed 14 July 2014).

[775] Diversity Council Australia, Men get flexible! Mainstreaming flexible work in Australian (2012), p 7. At!/293 (viewed 14 July 2014).

[776] Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWCC). At:

[777] Families and Work Institute, 2009 Guide to Bold New Ideas for Making Work Work (2009), p 6.

[778] Information provided to the National Review, 19 November 2013.

[779] Culture RX, Case study: Best Buy (2014). At: (viewed 17 June 2014).

[780] N Skinner and J Chapman ‘Work-life balance and family friendly policies, 4 Evidence Base (2013)

[781] Culture RX Case study: Best Buy (2014). At: (viewed 17 June 2014)

[782] Diversity Council Australia, Get flexible or get real: It’s time to make flexible working a legitimate career choice (2012). At (viewed 14 July 2014).

[783] Consultation 1R (Employers).

[784] Male Champions of Change, Accelerating the advancement of women in leadership: Listening, Learning, Leading (2013), p 27 and 30. At (viewed 14 June 2014); Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force Audit Report (2014), ch 7, fn 41. At (viewed 14 June 2014). Information provided by Australian Defence Force, Army, 26 June 2014.

[785] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[786] Male Champions of Change, Accelerating the advancement of women in leadership: Listening, Learning, Leading (2013).

[787] Consultation 1D (Employers).

[788] Employer questionnaire no. 38.

[789] Consultation 8B (Employers).

[790] Consultation 1O (Employers).

[791] Consultation 1O (Employers).

[792] Consultation 1K (Employers).

[793] Community organisation submission no. 54 (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association).

[794] Consultation 1O (Employers).

[795] L Morris and S Jacobs, A Pocket Guide for Managers: Pregnancy, maternity leave and a successful return to work (2012). At: (viewed June 2014).

[796] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[797] Consultation 1A (Employers).

[798] Fair Work Ombudsman, Best Practice Guide Parental leave (2013).

[799] Consultation 1A (Employers).

[800] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[801] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[802] Telstra, Staying connected managing long term leave without losing touch: A Guide for Telstra People (2012).

[803] Consultation 1K (Employers).

[804] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[805] Consultation 8B (Employers).

[806] Employer submission no. 10 (Diversity Council Australia).

[807] Employer Questionnaire no. 47.

[808] Employer submission no. 10 (Diversity Council Australia).

[809] WIRE Women’s Information and Queen Victorian Women’s Centre, Creating Family Friendly Workplaces: Better balance, better business (2007).

[810] Consultation 1K (Employers).

[811] Australian Human Rights Commission, Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force: Audit Report (2014), p 129.

[812] Consultation 1B (Employers).

[813] Consultation 5B (Employers).

[814] Consultation 1A (Employers).

[815] Information provided to the National Review, 19 November 2013.

[816] Consultation 2D (Employers).

[817] Consultation 1O (Employers).

[818] NSW Industrial Relations, Maternity at Work, (2012).

[819] Consultation 6A (Employers).

[820] This name is a pseudonym; no real names are used in case studies.

[821] University of Melbourne, Work & Family: The Links and the Balance (2006).

[822] This chart has been drawn and adapted from Male Champions of Change, Accelerating the advancement of women in leadership: Listening, Learning, Leading (2013), p 35. At (viewed 14 June 2014).