Maternity Leave and Return to Work in Australia - Accessibility and Use in a State Utility
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The paper examines access to and use of maternity leave and return to work policies in a large organisation. The analysis is set within the context of evidence from a recent national survey which illustrates the combinations of paid and unpaid leave arrangements utilised by Australian mothers around the birth of a child. The case study provides insight into these combinations and shows how the capacity to access the most advantageous arrangements varies within a particular organisational setting. Employees who are closer to head office, who have developed a good knowledge of current policies and organisational history, and who are in a position to negotiate effectively, tend to be relatively advantaged. However, we suggest that underlying the complexity of arrangements and links between 'availability, perceived accessibility and employee use' of these policies (Budd and Mumford 2006), are deeper barriers, including internalisation and acceptance of work-life tension by female employees.