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Parenthood and return to work transitions

09 January 2017

Bump Campaign

According to sports physiologists the “additional red blood cells produced during pregnancy are said to improve the body's ability to carry oxygen to muscles, thus lifting stamina, strength and aerobic capacity”.

Transitioning to parenthood and back to the workplace can be stressful and require all the stamina you can get but, with planning, you can reduce the heartache.

Emma Walsh’s business, mums@work, provides a dedicated ‘return to work’ service to assist parents re-enter the workplace, manage their careers and, at the same time, meet family needs and demands. Mums@work also supports employers to develop the strategies, policies and procedures needed to support the successful introduction of flexible work practices into their workplaces.

From humble beginnings in 2006, mums@work has grown to provide return-to-work coaching services and working-parent programs to organisations such as KPMG, Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi, Westpac, QBE, Macquarie Bank and more. 

The “Career After Kids” (CAK) program is a ‘group-think’ coaching seminar, which assists parents who are returning to work to improve work, career and family balance. The seminar provides parents with a place to come together and think through work family issues and develop tools, guides and flexible work practice measures that suit their particular needs. 

A parents@work portal (it allows parents to communicate and connect with one another inside the portal), and the CAK seminars guide working parents through the parenting journey and their return to work in line with an organisation’s particular procedures and policies.

One of the major strategies is to stay in touch while on leave.

Margaret Bounader - State Director for Victoria and Tasmania at Austrade - has this advice for women on maternity leave: “Women, I think, connect naturally, but when you have a baby, and I think especially when it’s a first, it’s very easy to become isolated. At first you just don’t have the time to do anything and then you can quickly feel awkward reaching out and making connections, especially in relation to the workplace and those networks. If you’re unable to find the time and then the confidence to seek support and help, you’ll quickly become more and more isolated. That’s a very detrimental spot in which to be.”

While there is something to be said around workplaces making the effort to step up to the plate, to reach out and check in on women on leave, Margaret believes, “Having a mentor you can connect with and who understands your situation and supports you to keep in contact, as well as get to a few events, is a really positive strategy. Mentors are your way back in. They are an accessible, safe and secure way to start the conversation.”

Hot Tip from Westpac

On 8 April 2017, Westpac will unveil its Bump Savings account to celebrate its 200th anniversary as Australia’s first company. The account comes with a $200 deposit for eligible children, which they can withdraw when they’re 16 (see terms and conditions).

To receive the $200 deposit into the Bump Savings account, the child must:

Be born in 2017.

Have a permanent Australian residential address.

Have the Bump Savings account opened in their name by a parent or legal guardian, with their ID verified by 31 May 2018.

For more and to express interest, see here.

If your child isn’t eligible for the $200 deposit, they can still open the Bump Savings account once it’s available. Come back here in April to view the account terms, conditions and eligibility criteria.

Things you should know:

Offer may be withdrawn or extended at the bank’s discretion. The child must be born in 2017 and have a permanent Australian residential address. The account must be opened in the child’s name by the parent or legal guardian. 1. $200 will be deposited if the Westpac Bump Savings account is opened and the child’s identity verified by 31 May 2018. Deposit will be made within 3 business days of ID verification. $200 offer limited to one per child. $200 will be available to withdraw in the month the child turns 16 and will be forfeited if the account is closed prior. Read the terms and conditions available from 8 April 2017 at before making a decision and consider whether this product is right for you. *Example only. Based on the Westpac savings calculator, by building on an initial $200 deposit with a $20 contribution every week at an interest rate of 1.5 per cent, this amount will amass to $19,054.02 in savings by the time this child turns 16 (based on no withdrawals and interest accrued on $200 from child’s 1st birthday). This information does not take your personal objectives, financial situation or needs into account.

© 2017 Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.



  • Denise Hall

    Denise Hall 4 years ago

    Nice article, but you forgot about the Women Business Owners who need to transition out for a period of time, and possibly back in. Emma/Ruby - if you're interested in adding a program I have developed around this to your portfolio, please get in touch.