Working women on maternity leave want their employers to take a more active role in keeping in touch with them while they are caring for their newborns, according to a major survey of federal public servants.
The Community and Public Sector Unions today released initial results of a survey of nearly 1300 members who had taken maternity leave to coincide with their appearance before the Productivity Commission’s paid maternity leave inquiry in Sydney.
The survey found 66 per cent felt their employer did nothing to keep them connected to the workplace while they were away from work after the birth of a child. Members reported that while on leave simple steps such as phone calls, emails or invitations to bring babies into work would have made the return to the work environment far easier.
CPSU nationals secretary Stephen Jones, who will today argue for six months paid maternity leave, said focus needed to be placed on return to the workplace as well as the time away from work.
“What our members tell us is that very simple thoughtful measures by managers would make all the difference to a women’s experience of motherhood – and also contribute to a more productive workplace and helps retain valuable staff,” he said.
Other findings in the survey included: –
- Ninety per cent of women in the commonwealth public service said they felt forced to hoard and use other annual or long service leave to spend more time with their baby.
- Major issues with workplace breast feeding with mothers of babies less than 6 months old reporting that only 14% had access to a clean fridge to store breast milk and only 12% had access to a private space to express breast milk and 7% were permitted to express on paid time.
Mr Jones said that the findings demonstrated the need for Federal Government to take action and set the family friendly standard for all Australian workplaces.
“These new survey findings reveal that more works needs to be done to make Government workplaces more family friendly and for a national benchmark to be set,” Mr Jones said.
“The new Federal Government made an election pledge to help working families and this is a golden opportunity to do just that.”