Going Back To Work After Maternity Leave

Young family with toddler and baby walking on gravel path.

By Greg Major*, BA (AsSt) BE (Hons) MBA, GAICD FFIN FAIM, Director, Blueprint Wealth

It’s tough when you’re thinking about going back to work – it means time away from the kids and it also means using some form of child care.

A new report has revealed that while business and the economy benefits from women returning to work, the rapidly rising cost of childcare means for some families, there’s not much leftover on pay day.

The latest AMP.NATSEM report Childcare affordability in Australia, revealed long day care can cost up to $170 a day in some capital cities and for some middle and low-income women, this was more than their take-home wage.

Going back to full-time work

The report found the average Australian mother will lose about 60 per cent of her gross income when heading back to work full-time after having kids – that’s when factoring in the cost of child care, loss of Government benefits and increase in tax.

Going back to part-time work

Middle income mums who go back to work part-time fare a little better, losing about 45 per cent of their pay.

The situation is even tougher for mothers from low income families who may only keep as little as $4.55 an hour, or 28 per cent of their salary when going back to work full-time. Mothers from low income families, going back part-time, will lose a little less of their salary, but still a big chunk at about 69 per cent.

However, there are other non-financial reasons to return to paid work and for some, these may be equally important.

Going back to work for superannuation benefits

These reasons include a return to employer-paid superannuation benefits, maintaining professional skills, or a desire to not lose any advances on the career ladder.

Women typically retire with smaller superannuation amounts because of the years taken out to raise children.

It’s important to look at the full picture when deciding whether to return to paid work, including understanding the size of your superannuation nest egg.

Returning to work sooner also helps with career progression for many and so while it may not seem financially viable to begin with, pay rises and career advancement would mean it becomes more financially beneficial in the future.

If the finances don’t add up in the short term, there are reasons to consider a return to work, when looking long term. A financial planner can help you work through the return to work question.

At Blueprint Wealth we offer financial advice right for you, no matter what stage of your life you’re at. Take just a few minutes to travel the Your Wealth Story journey with us.

*Greg Major is an Authorised Representative of AMP Financial Planning Pty Ltd, ABN 89 051 208 327, AFS Licence No. 232706.

Any advice given is general only and has not taken into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Because of this, before acting on any advice, you should consult a financial planner to consider how appropriate the advice is to your objectives, financial situation and needs.