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Do I have the right to return to the same job?

The good news is that an employee who’s been on unpaid parental leave has the right to return to the same job they had before going on leave. Let’s take a deep dive into your statutory rights returning to work after unpaid parental leave for Australian primary carers.

If you’re on unpaid parental leave and there’s a replacement person in your role don’t worry, you are entitled to this job even if another person has been working in your role. The Fair Work Ombudsman is quite clear on returning to work requirements and they have a great deal of information available.

If you were transferred to a safe job before you took unpaid parental leave or reduced your hours due to the pregnancy, then you’re entitled to return to the job you had before the transfer or reduction.

If the job doesn’t exist anymore or it has changed, then you have to be offered a suitable available job that you are qualified for and suited to work in and is nearest to your old job in pay and status.

If you think you’ve lost your job, it’s important to get good advice to ensure you’re treated fairly. Contact the Fair Work Commission first if you think it was because of discrimination or a reason that is harsh, unjust, or unreasonable. You have 21 days from the day employment ends to lodge an application with the Commission.

It’s important that you don’t take these types of changes to heart, and if you need help managing it through, many organizations have Employee Assistance Programs that will be available to you. In most cases, workplace changes like this are not a reflection of you or your performance. Don’t let it impact your confidence… If you ask around in your network, you’ll find that change is all around us and it happens to quite a lot of awesome people.

Written by Shannon Lyndon-Lugg. Shannon is a mother to two lovely children and an expert in human resources, talent, leadership development, diversity, and performance. Shannon works with individuals and companies to support career transitions and grow talent.

Source: Fair Work Ombudsman

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