Support for pregnancy
We have strict protocols in place to ensure that appropriate health and safety standards are met in the workplace.
The most common hazards in the workplace that can affect pregnancy are:
- hazardous chemicals
- infectious biological carrying agents
- excessive heat
- heavy lifting
- standing for long periods.
Higher risk work areas
Most work areas at CSU do not include features that could pose a risk to pregnancy. Staff members who work in the following areas may have a higher risk of exposure to some of these hazards.
- Animal care
- Those dealing with human and animal products
Information on potential risks to pregnancy or breastfeeding associated with a specific work environment should be included in the normal flow of WHS information required by law. You may also discuss any potential risk to you or your baby from working in your current position with your medical practitioner.
Working in a higher risk area
If you are working in a higher risk area, or a position where it is not safe for you to do your usual job, inform your manager as soon as possible when you are planning a family. This will ensure that appropriate risk management measures can be put in place.
If your medical practitioner is of the opinion that working in your current position poses a risk to you or your baby, your supervisor will arrange for a WHS assessment to be undertaken.
Some risks can be managed adequately through changing work practices or temporarily modifying duties. Alternatively, you may need to be transferred to a safer work area for the course of the pregnancy (and beyond if breastfeeding). Finally, if no suitable measure can be identified, you are entitled to paid ‘no safe job leave’ for as long as a medical practitioner certifies is necessary to avoid exposure to the risk.
Transfer of position
If you are transferred for WHS reasons, the position to which you are transferred will be as close as possible in status to your substantive position and without loss of salary. You will retain all your normal entitlements.
You can use personal leave for clinical visits. The normal documentation requirements apply.
Generally, you would use personal leave or flexi-leave to attend prenatal appointments.
Preparing for leave
There are no set times for maternity leave. You can work up until the date of birth, but you may be requested to provide a medical certificate stating you are fit for work.
Alternatively, you may choose to start maternity leave up to 6 weeks before the birth of your child. If you wish to take leave before this, you can apply to take annual leave, long service leave, or unpaid leave.
Find out more about parental leave at CSU.
If you give birth prematurely, you will be deemed to be on maternity leave from the first working day after your baby is born. You may need to review your parental leave and return to work arrangements to take account of the actual date of birth.
Adjustment for pregnancy
You have several options available to vary your work situation during pregnancy. You will need to discuss which option might work best with your supervisor. These include:
- rearranging your duties or hours
- introducing short rest breaks into your work schedule
- applying to work on a part-time basis for the duration of your pregnancy
- using your annual leave or long service leave
- starting your maternity leave up to 6 weeks before the expected date of birth of your child.
If you produce a medical certificate verifying that you are medically unfit to work, you may also:
- use accrued personal leave
- take unpaid leave.
Converting to part-time employment during pregnancy
If you have only converted to part-time hours because of your pregnancy and you are entitled to paid parental leave, you will be paid the parental leave entitlement for your full-time position.
If you have returned from a previous period of parental leave at a reduced fraction, the payment for parental leave for the subsequent period will be based on an average service fraction for the 12 months preceding the subsequent period of parental leave.
Miscarriage or stillbirth
The loss of a pregnancy is a devastating and distressing time. We will support you during this time through the provisions of accessing additional forms of leave to allow you to have more time off before returning to work.
We also have an Employee Assistance Program which offers private, confidential, professional counselling and we encourage you to use this free service.
In the case of a miscarriage, you may take up to 2 weeks’ special leave and/or accrued personal leave or other forms of paid and unpaid leave.
In the case of a stillbirth, you may elect to continue on paid parental leave (if eligible) or special leave, and/or use accrued personal leave.
If you access these leave types, you will be required to observe the necessary leave conditions, such as providing a medical certificate.
Refer to the following for more information on conception, pregnancy, birthing and postnatal care:
- The Australian Government provides assistance through the Birth and Baby Helpline
- Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
- The Pregnancy Centre
- The Bub Hub
- Essential Baby