Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2009 Contents 46
ow a pregnancy is
balanced with a career is
often a talking point in the
workplace. When will you
take maternity leave? are you
coming back? Who’s going to
fill the position while you’re away? If
you decide to return, what will your
job be like?
Defence policy allows for an absence of 52
weeks. This may consist of paid and unpaid leave
and recognises the physical aspects of the later
stages of pregnancy, childbirth and recovery after
childbirth. It also provides time for initial care of
Defence is also considered to be an industry
leader in providing 14 weeks paid maternity leave for
personnel who have served more than 12 months.
Below, Defence Magazine talks to three women
from the respective Services who have utilised
maternity leave and put the policy into practice. They
are now in differing stages of raising their families
and, as such, have perspectives on prioritising the
additional aspects in their work-life balance.
How is your work and family life
Lieutenant commander stacey Porter:
I am a Training Specialist (TS) Officer and
have been in the RAN since August 1990. Since
December 2007 I have held the position of
Executive Officer HMAS Harman, having spent
the two previous years as the Training Manager in
HMAS Kanimbla. I have two daughters, Alexandra,
10, and Georgia, 7.
Lieutenant colonel Bronwyn Worswick:
I am an Army legal officer and am in my 15th
year of service. I am currently working as the Staff
Officer (Legal) to CDF. This is a two-year posting.
I came back to full-time work after having my
third child to take up this posting after it was offered
to me, as it is one of the most challenging and
rewarding legal positions for an ADF legal officer.
I have three daughters: Abigail, 5, who has
just started school, Isabelle, 2, and Miranda, 1.
Isabelle and Miranda are both at the Russell Hill
Child Care Centre.
Wing commander Bernadette finglas-
I have worked full-time as a Logistics Officer
since joining the RAAF 22 years ago. My husband
and I have four children (two independent adults
and two secondary school students).
How much maternity leave did you
take off and how did your work area
manage the shortfall?
In Alexandra’s case I returned to work when
she was four-months-old because my husband
worked night shifts and could share the workload.
At that time my workplace had no-one to cover for
me in my absence.
In Georgia’s case I returned to work after
seven months after agreeing to return earlier than
expected as there was a shortfall of personnel that
needed filling as a priority.
Whilst I felt it was extremely important to
have the time with both girls, my return to work
was a balance of RAN requirements vs financial
considerations vs maternalistic feelings, but I felt I
was ready in both cases.
I have had three periods of maternity leave.
For each child, I had six months off work and
returned to work part-time for a further period of
six months, and then transitioned back to full-time
work. For each of my periods of leave, I talked
extensively with my manager/commander before
going on leave in order to come up with a plan for
my absence that was workable and flexible.
In Army, legal officers are often sole-posted
to a particular formation or headquarters. This
means that if you are going to be absent for a long
period, a plan has to be place to provide command
with legal support. Because of the way military
establishment positions are managed, that plan
has to be pretty creative.
For each period of maternity leave, I found
that if I was open with my manager about
my plans, stayed in touch while on maternity
leave, and worked collaboratively beforehand to
help put in place a relief arrangement, I was given
a lot of support when it came time for me to return
Until eight years ago my husband was a
stay-at-home-dad and I was the only wage earner.
A working mother’s perspective on
By Michael Weaver
Coming back to work
full-time after having a
baby is a tough call for
a new mother. You need
a lot of support...You
also have to remember
that flexibility is a
two-way street. While
it is okay to expect
your workplace to be
flexible, you also have
to be prepared to be
flexible and help out in
- Army legal officer and mother
of three girls, Lieutenant Colonel
THE LAST woRD
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