What happens if I become pregnant on maternity leave?


Learn how to navigate, your entitlements, your career, and finances if you fall pregnant while on parental leave.

Whether it’s an oops pregnancy (yup, that happened to me!) or a planned pregnancy, navigating the biases, your entitlements, your career and finances if you fall pregnant while on parental leave can be a challenge. So here are our tips:

  1. Know your rights: If you fall pregnant while already on maternity leave you still can qualify for maternity leave payments. Employees who have taken parental leave do not have to work for 12 months before they can take parental leave again with the same employer. However, if an employee changes their place of employment they will need to work with that employer for 12 months before they can take parental leave again. If there is a transfer of business there are different entitlement requirements for employees. More information is available on this in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

  2. Check your Parental leave policy – while most policies require you to return to work for a minimum period before qualifying for a further period of paid leave, you can always negotiate a different outcome. Doing so is far easier if you plan to return to work for a period between the pregnancies (hard as that may feel!).

  3. Manage your career by communicating your professional vision – just because you choose to have babies close together doesn’t mean you can’t also be ambitious. Take some time now to think about what your professional vision is. Where do you want to end up in your career? What can you do now to get there? If you haven’t already invested time into creating your professional vision, then we suggest you jump on in to our platform and help yourself to get clarity around your career direction. Reflect also on your parenting legacy.

  4. Have the conversation about gendered expectations at home – the longer your parental leave, the more likely you are to pick up responsibility for ‘the mental load’ – all the domestic, childcare and household chores. And for many of us, that works well for the whole family while you’re on parental leave. But it can be a tricky renegotiation if and when you do decide to return to work. So don’t wait.

  5. Get financial advice – another year out can impact your retirement savings. But there are things you can do to mitigate this, and as with any significant change in your life, a second baby represents a good time to take financial advice.

  6. Prepare for your conversations with your stakeholders – we all know that telling your boss you’re pregnant can an anxiety-filled experience. And when it comes to two in a close period of time, there is a tendency for more biases to emerge. Make sure you have a good understanding of bias, think about the potential biases your stakeholders have, and prepare to be able to respond to them if they do throw a curly comment your way.

For more tips and strategies to manage becoming pregnant while on maternity leave, make a small investment in yourself and join the Grace Papers digital platform to empower you in your career and care journey. It’s hard to be bold and address bias and discrimination all by yourself – but with support of a movement focused not only on growing your confidence, but on connecting you with a vision capable of transforming gender subordination of expectant mothers.