Teacher Parental Leave: a Planning Guide

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Parental Leave Maternity Leave Planning Checklist
Bronwyn

Written by Bronwyn

Congratulations! A new little one (or more!) is set to make their way into your family.

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As a mum of four, I’ve benefitted from four sets of teacher parental leave (maternity leave, in my case) throughout my teaching career. I worked through each of my pregnancies until the third trimester, when I started leave. Time at home with my bubs afforded me priceless bonding and learning opportunities (for both my babies and myself).

As teachers, we love to plan and organise, and your impending bundle of joy is an exciting reason to get out the sticky notes, highlighters, and diary! I’ve pulled together a list of teacher-specific preparations for you to schedule before your baby arrives!

Paid Parental Leave Available to Australian Teachers

Maternity Leave Parental Leave Checklist Planning Preparation

Listen to teacher Vanessa talk about becoming a teacher-mum on the podcast.

So I guess the first thing to define here is that in Australia, you may be entitled to two different allocations of paid parental leave, which can be taken consecutively. One is the Federal Government’s Parental Leave Pay and the other is your employer’s separate parental leave entitlement.

Parental Leave can be divided into three main categories: maternity leave (for mums), paternity leave (for dads and partners), and adoption leave. However, the primary carer of the child (or children, in multiple births) is the person who receives the payment.

Working and preparing for a baby can be hectic, and if you’re pregnant, it can be physically exhausting! Planning ahead will help you set goals and feel organised. I loved to start planning for my countdown to baby! One thing I’d recommend is for you to take a planner, digital or hardcopy, and work backward from your due date, writing the week of pregnancy at the top of each page. There are some awesome pregnancy apps around to help you match up your dates and keep track of your weeks (although if you’re like me, you’ll know your week off by heart if anyone asks!).

Let’s take a look at how to get ready for your teacher parental leave!

Teacher Parental Leave Planning Guide

First Trimester Teacher Parental Leave Checklist

The first trimester is defined as conception to 13 weeks.

  • Start a paper or electronic file for all of the emails, documents, and forms you’ll receive with regard to your pregnancy or adoption. There is a lot of paperwork coming your way!
  • Research your leave entitlements (take a look at the Human Services Australia website, and your state or territory Teacher’s Union website, as these will both provide official and helpful info).
  • If you have a partner, look into their leave entitlements also.
  • If you’re going to claim Paid Parental Leave and don’t have a Centrelink customer reference number (CRN), apply for one, as you’ll need this.
  • Think about when you’d ideally like to finish work. It’s great to have a tentative end-date in mind when you’re planning, and this can definitely be adjusted.
  • Think about when you’d like to inform your principal that you’re expecting. You are not obligated to disclose your pregnancy in the early stages. Most states and territories require a minimum of ten weeks’ notice before your intended leave start date, so you have plenty of time.
  • Pop lots of healthy, high-protein snacks in your desk drawer.
  • Look into childcare options in your area if you will require care, as some areas have very high demand and long waitlists.
  • Set up or update your relief teacher folder to prepare for absences for appointments.

Second Trimsester Teacher Parental Leave Checklist

The second trimester is from weeks 14-27.

  • Organise assessment and reporting data. Keep everything up to date in case you need to make a swift exit.
  • Enjoy announcing your pregnancy to your students and their families.
  • Tidy up your classroom and desk area, and begin taking home or storing personal items.
  • Have a huge clear out – recycle old paper and dispose of resources and equipment that are no longer useful.
  • Check in with your teaching team or teaching partner about your plans.
  • Check in with specialist teachers and learning support. Schedule meetings to discuss students with additional needs before you go.

Third Trimester Teacher Parental Leave Checklist

The third trimester is from weeks 28-40.

  • If you know who will be replacing you, make contact and arrange a “handover” meeting.
  • Leave passwords and logins for students somewhere safe and accessible.
  • Clear off your work laptop ready to hand it back.
  • Talk to admin about your classroom keys.
  • If you’re feeling generous, lesson plan for a couple of weeks during the changeover.
  • Complete all of your paperwork for your administrator to lodge on your behalf.
  • Catch up on your marking and recording data.
  • Choose a last day and let your colleagues know when this is.
  • Let your students know when you’re planning to finish work, and remind them as the time approaches.
  • Send an email to caregivers letting them know you’re finishing up, and (if known), include an introduction and picture of the new classroom teacher.
  • Ensure your contact details, teacher registration and union membership are up to date.
  • Finalise your PD recording for the period.
  • Set up an automated reply from your work email to begin the day you finish.
  • If your classroom has a fridge, clear it out.
  • Pack up and take home all of your personal belongings from your classroom and common areas.

And that’s it! Feel free to copy and paste this list of teacher-specific preparations for parental leave into your diary or spreadsheet. You may choose to add it to your existing (non-teacher) checklist, or keep this one separate. Wishing you all the best with your new arrival.

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