The second you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, everything changes. There are so many things to consider before starting a family.
Everything changes once you have a family! Forever.
So, congratulations. But while you’re thinking about the incredible, confusing adventure which lies ahead, it’s a great idea to think about a few practicalities rather than just the exciting bits. Most people aren’t aware of their entitlements or what’s ahead, so we’ve pulled together a few things to consider before you start the journey.
These are the questions we wish we had addressed before we saw those two lines:
1. What is your organisation’s parental leave policy? This varies significantly across Australia and most organisations are getting much better, but it’s important to understand what you’re entitled to. Some things to consider:
- Does your employer offer paid parental leave? Check out our article here on How to secretly find out about your company’s parental leave policy.
- How long do you need to have worked there before you are able to access parental leave?
- Does your employer offer special leave to cover pre-natal appointments?
- What other benefits do they provide?
2. Is your partner entitled to parental leave? Some organisations offer two weeks paid parental leave for partners. Others offer 12 weeks paid leave for primary carers. It is definitely worth checking out your partner’s benefits as well.
3. Will your health insurance meet your new needs? Up until now, you may have only needed basic cover. If you are considering a family, contact your insurer to ensure eligibility. Review your policies and benefits to understand your options.
4. Are you ready for a career break? Where does it fit into your career plans? There’s never really a perfect time career-wise but it’s definitely important to talk with your partner about both of your careers and the impact of starting a family.
5. What is your employment status? It’s worth checking your employment contract and understanding if you are full time, on a fixed contract etc. Have a good read of your contract and check for any clauses that may affect your plan.
6. What is the flexibility like in your organisation? Do other women work flexibly? What about your partner’s work? Will they also have the opportunity to work flexibly? What have been the experiences of other people at your work or your partner’s work?
7. Are you ready financially? It is important to discuss this with your partner and address areas such as your financial situation and if you are ready for the costs of having a baby. This includes often budgeting for one income whilst on parental leave.
8. What government entitlements are available? This really differs depending on your family income and so it is worth spending time understanding what you are entitled to based on your joint income.
Take the time to have the conversations, do your research and start on the right foot by understanding exactly what you are entitled to. It will make the journey ahead so much easier.
Written by the team at Circle In