Family

How to prepare for maternity leave

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Having a baby means big changes for you and your employer. So it's important to understand what you are both entitled to.

When preparing to go on materninty leave, these five simple steps will make the process a lot smoother.

1. Talk to your employer

Find out exactly what the company policy is and what your options are. Some have paid options, including a "keep in touch" scheme.

2. Get your letters of notice ready

Showing obvious signs of pregnancy isn't enough. You need to hand in a medical certificate and notify your employer in writing up to 10 weeks before your due date.

3. Stay in the loop

One of the worst parts of coming back to work after 12 months off is finding that your whole team has changed. Stay in regular contact with work and attend social functions where possible.

4. Be organised

Don't surprise your employer the day you return to work. Call them in advance, for planning purposes.

If you elect not to return to your work after your maternity leave is up, then expect to have to reimburse your employer for any paid maternity leave.

5. Know what you're entitled to

Once your bundle of joy arrives, access all the government support offered to new parents, ranging from the Baby Bonus to child care rebates and the Family Tax Benefit. For more information, visit www.familyassist.gov.au.

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