Western Sydney University understands the issues faced by those with family responsibilities when balancing family, work and study. The transition back to work and/or study after an extended period of parental leave or other times of caring for family members can be challenging. The University actively seeks to support students and staff in navigating their caring responsibilities whilst maintaining study and career momentum.
Students with family responsibilities may be able to access support through student services, counselling service or welfare service.
Options and entitlements - academic and professional staff
Parental leave includes maternity leave, adoption leave, foster parent leave and partner leave.
- Maternity leave consists of 52 weeks leave which consists of components of full pay and half pay. Staff may then apply to extend this leave with other leave entitlements for a period of 104 weeks in total. Further information on maternity leave entitlements can be found in the Enterprise Agreements.
- Adoption leave for a staff member who adopts and becomes the full time carer for a child is entitled to 52 weeks of adoption leave which consists of components of full pay and half pay. Staff may then request to extend this leave with other leave entitlements up to a period of 104 weeks in total. Further information on adoption leave entitlements can be found in the Enterprise Agreements.
- Foster parent leave is available for staff who have completed 12 months of continuous service and who is the primary carer of a long term foster arrangement. Further information on foster parent leave entitlements can be found in the Enterprise Agreements
- Partner leave is available for staff who have completed 12 months of continuous service. Two weeks leave can be taken from the birth or adoption date at the base rate of pay. A further 6 weeks can be taken within 12 months of the birth or adoption. Further information on partner leave can be found in the enterprise agreements.
Academic career interruption funding
Academic Career Interruption Funding supports researchers on family or carer's leave for more than 3 months, providing funding to continue their research. Up to $10,000 funding is available for research assistance or other specialist personnel to progress a research project, outcome or output. The funding is designed to help mitigate the effects on research progress sometimes experienced as a result of a career break for family or carer reasons. Further information can be found at www.westernsydney.edu.au/research/researchers/researcher_development.
Returning to work
All staff returning to work after maternity or adoption leave will generally return to their usual position under the same conditions. Staff returning from maternity and adoption leave are entitled to a phased return to work. This allows for employees to work 80% of their normal hours for 40 weeks. Return to work is negotiated with the supervisor to ensure work patterns recognise the needs of both staff and the work area. As a breastfeeding accredited organisation, entitlements are available for breastfeeding mother.
The University has a Workplace Flexibility Policy which provides for a range of flexible work options to support the needs of employees returning from parental leave. Eligible staff have a right to request flexible working arrangements to accommodate caring responsibilities.
Accessible child care
The availability of quality accessible childcare can play a key factor for staff transitioning back to work. Western Sydney University has long day care centres on 6 campuses, with reduced rates and salary sacrifice options for child care fees available for staff with children at Child Care Centres on campus. Further information can be found at www.westernsydney.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/services_facilities/childcare
Engaged parents network
The Engaged Parent Network (EPN) assists the culture at the University in supporting staff members in the management of their new parenting role and work, recognising that women in particular struggle with post maternity leave, and meeting performance expectations of self, supervisors, colleagues and other stakeholders. EPN focuses on what can be done to better assist parents upon their return from maternity/parental leave and the best way the network can position itself within the WSU community.
Mentoring programs at the University are designed to provide staff with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, skills, capabilities and experience and enhance their careers and professional development at the University. Mentoring is an effective process for supporting staff to navigate their career path, understand and access institutional policies and processes, and increase confidence and competence in undertaking various scholarly activities. They can provide a great opportunity for staff returning to work to re-establish connections, and careers progression. Further information can be found at Talent & Leadership Development.
Who can I talk to
- Students can contact Student Services.
- Staff can contact your HR Advisor for more information about options and entitlements.
- Staff may also contact the Office of Equity and Diversity for advice and support.