Returning to work after having a baby can be tough. There’s the guilt about leaving your child in the care of another. It’s a constant rush to get everyone out the door and where they need to be on time. If you work part time, like me, there’s a constant niggle that you’re not really doing anything properly. You’re not contributing fully at work, yet you’re not fully immersed in home life either. Then there are the positives, getting that brain working again. Adult conversation, about non-baby related stuff. A pay packet. Yet it’s easy to only focus on the pay packet. Or rather what is left after you’ve paid for childcare. Here’s the thing, it’s not all about the money. By money, I mean your fortnightly pay. Here are four other financial benefits of returning to work.
It’s not all about the money, there’s super
Superannuation is not sexy, but it’s worth thinking about. Women tend to both retire earlier than men and live longer. Yet, women earn less and often have fragmented patterns of work, due to periods out of the workforce to have babies. The upshot of all this is that when women retire, they have less money in their superannuation funds, about $90,000 less! While part-time work probably won’t make you rich, it will help you later in life.
It’s not all about the money, there’s leave
An often overlooked benefit of returning to work is that you’re entitled to annual leave and sick leave. If you decided to go on a holiday, you’ll get paid while you’re there. Without encouraging you to pro-create, if you do plan on having another baby, it makes sense to head back to work. There are probably some minimum work requirements, but receiving paid maternity leave, and having a job you’re entitled to return to, well that’s not something to be sneezed at!
It’s not all about the money, there’s repaying student loans
If you went to Uni and then had chunks of time out of the workforce, chances are you might still have a HELP debt. While getting rid of a HELP loan isn’t exactly exciting, it’d be fabulous to be free of the debt and have the money in your own pocket! If you’re earning enough to be repaying your HELP debt, it’s probably worth chipping away at it.
It’s not all about the money, keep a ‘hand in’
While those years of work after having a child might not be trail blazing, it’s probably worth keeping a hand in your career. There’s no hole in your CV, you keep your skills up to date (and you learn about all the pesky changes made to the IT systems), and you don’t lose your confidence. Plus, there’s a lot to be said for maintaining those professional relationships you worked so hard to develop. What’s the saying about out of sight, out of mind? It’s kind of true if you disappear from the paid workforce for a long period of time.
Thankfully my return to work (x3) after maternity leave has always been reasonably simple. Unfortunately, a report from the Australian Human Rights Commission suggests that’s not always the case. Apparently one in two mothers report experiencing workplace discrimination at some point during pregnancy, parental leave or on return to work. If things don’t go smoothly, get some legal advice on where you stand.
This post is brought to you by Firths the Compensation Lawyers.
Have you ever had any drama when returning to work after maternity leave?