Know Your Rights! The Lowdown of Return To Work Laws | CBCC News

Know Your Rights - Return To Work Laws

Know Your Rights! The Lowdown of Return To Work Laws | CBCC News

We know just how scary it can be to return to work after a break, whether it was for a few months or for many years, but if you know your rights, this process can be a lot less intimidating.

And being clear about this process is becoming more and more important as more people go on career breaks.

According to a Hayes survey, 64% of female and 29% of male workers in Australia and New Zealand say they have taken a career break. A LinkedIn survey of nearly 23,000 workers and more than 7,000 hiring managers  found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of employees have taken a break at some point in their professional career, whilst 35% of respondents, mostly women, would like to take a career break in the future. For women, the main reason to take a career break is to have children followed by travel. Men cite travel and study/retraining as their main reasons for taking time off.

Although career breaks are now becoming more common, there is still a negative perception and ongoing stigma around having these sometimes critical breaks from work, making it difficult for people looking to make a career comeback do so successfully.

At the CBCC, we believe that providing our community with knowledge and resources is key to helping you navigate this transition smoothly. Understanding your legal entitlements and knowing your rights is crucial for both employees and employers to ensure a fair and supportive workplace.

Read on to find out more!

The Power of Knowing Your Rights

Reading laws and rules and regulations can be boring and tedious and confusing. However, taking the time to understand what the law says about employee rights will empower both employees and employers create a fair, transparent, and supportive workplace.

For employees, understanding your legal rights and entitlements means that you can advocate for yourself in the workplace, secure any accommodations you need (such as any accessibility equipment, flexible working arrangements, etc.), and protect yourself against discrimination.

For employers, knowing and being aware of your legal obligations helps you create compliant policies, reducing legal risks and promoting a culture of equity and respect.

When both employees and employers know exactly what their legal rights and obligations are, it can help build trust, enhance communication, and contribute to a more productive and harmonious work environment where everyone’s rights are respected and upheld.

Doesn’t that sound like a great place to be to have a smooth transition back to work?

Know Your Rights - Return To Work Laws

The Law Around Returning From Maternity Leave

One of the leading reasons for a career break is parenthood. Maternity leave is an essential right that protects women’s employment to ensure that they can return to work after childbirth without issue. For fathers, depending on their workplace, they may have access to parental leave after the birth of their child.

Here are the key legal rights and entitlements surrounding maternity leave:

1. Right to Return to the Same Job

Women returning from maternity leave have the right to return to the same job that they held before their leave. This right is crucial in ensuring job security and continuity. If the same job is not available, the employer must offer a suitable alternative position with similar terms and conditions.

2. Protection from Discrimination

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against women because of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. This protection extends to all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and working conditions. Women who face discrimination can seek legal recourse and should be aware of their rights to a fair and equitable workplace.

3. Maternity Leave Pay and Benefits

Women are entitled to receive maternity leave pay, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the employer’s policies. It is essential to understand the specific entitlements related to maternity leave pay and benefits, such as health insurance and retirement contributions, to ensure financial stability during the leave period.

The Law Around Returning to Work After Injury

Injuries and accidents can occur to anyone, from the intern on their first day, to the 20-year veteran clocking in for another day of work. Returning to work after an injury requires careful consideration of both legal rights and medical needs. Here are the essential legal aspects to consider:

1. Reasonable Accommodations

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees returning to work after an injury. This might include modified work schedules, ergonomic adjustments, or temporary reassignment to less physically demanding tasks. It is important for employees to communicate their needs clearly and for employers to engage in an interactive and continuous process to determine appropriate accommodations.

2. Workers’ Compensation

Employees who are injured at work are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and a portion of lost wages. Understanding the workers’ compensation process and ensuring timely filing of claims is essential for receiving these benefits.

3. Job Protection and Reinstatement

Similar to maternity leave, employees returning from an injury have the right to return to their original job or a suitable alternative. Employers must ensure that the return to work process is handled fairly and that employees are not penalised for their absence due to injury.

Know Your Rights - Return To Work Laws

Some Legal Considerations For Employers

Employers play a crucial role in making sure that employees returning to work do so smoothly and efficiently. What are some considerations to think about to help employers support their return to work employees?

1. Clear Communication and Policies

Having clear policies and open communication channels is essential. Employers should ensure that employees are aware of their rights and entitlements and provide detailed information about the return to work process. Regular updates and check-ins can help address any concerns or questions employees may have.

2. Non-Discrimination and Equal Treatment

Employers must adhere to non-discrimination laws and ensure that all employees, regardless of their reasons for absence, are treated fairly and equally. This includes providing equal opportunities for training, promotions, and career advancement.

3. Consulting Legal and HR Professionals

Navigating the legal landscape can be complex. Employers should consider consulting with legal professionals or HR specialists to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Tailored guidance can help prevent legal issues and create a supportive environment for returning employees.

The CBCC is committed to ensuring you know your rights for every step of your journey. Join our upcoming workshop, CBCC BRAVE Workshop – Law, to dive deeper into what the law says exactly about your return-to-work journey.

Want to know more about how to successfully return to work? Join our BRAVE Return To Work program, which aims to give you the tools and skills you need to be confident navigating modern workplaces.

Looking to contribute for greater change? Become part of the CBCC and be part of the change aiming to transform Canterbury Bankstown into a leading destination for people to live, work, study, and do business.

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Collappor8 - Business Redesigned. We’re a one-stop-shop for businesses that need a strategy, and people to execute those strategies. Call us when you're ready to make real changes!

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