Before you go back to work

You have to give 21 days notice in writing to your employer: 

  • if you decide to return to work early 
  • before you go back to work — even if you're returning on your agreed start date.

Choosing childcare

Children learn a lot when they play with other children, so activities like playgroups, music groups, and toy libraries are great for kids.  It’s also good for all tamariki to have early childhood education.  It helps with their happiness, confidence, learning, and development, so looking for one that will work best for your child is important.  

It’s a good idea to start thinking about childcare well before you go back to work, because some childcare providers have waiting lists, especially centres that offer 20 hours free Early Childhood Education (ECE). It’s also a good idea to start settling them into childcare before you start back at work. Your child may need you with them for the first few visits. 

Facebook live chat: Transitioning to early childhood education 

Breastfeeding or expressing at work

You don’t have to stop breastfeeding just because you’re returning to work.  

Ministry of Health

You can: 

  • express (pump) and store breastmilk so someone else can feed your pēpi when you’re not there 
  • arrange childcare close to your work, so that you can go and feed your baby 
  • have your pēpi with you at work 
  • have your baby brought to you for feeds. 

Talk to your whānau and friends to see how they can help. PlunketLine nurse is available any time on 0800 933 922 to talk through your options with you, and to help you make a plan that might work for you.  

Even if you can’t breastfeed during working hours, you can help keep up your milk supply by expressing milk during breaks at work, and this milk can be fed to the baby while you’re not with them. 

Your employer is legally required to give you unpaid breaks to breastfeed your baby or to express milk at work, and has to provide you with facilities to do this. 

As soon as you know you’ll be going back to work, talk to your employer about breastfeeding or expressing (whichever you plan to do). 

Tell them you’ll need: 

  • a clean, private place with a comfortable chair 
  • somewhere to wash your hands 
  • at least two 20 minute breaks. 

If you’re expressing, you’ll also need:  

  • a power point - if you’re using an electric pump 
  • a fridge or somewhere to keep a chillybin with ice packs to keep the milk cool 
  • running water to wash expressing equipment. 
Read more about breastfeeding at work

Ministry of Health

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The Government's principal advisor on health and disability: improving, promoting and protecting the health of New Zealanders.

Your budget

When you’re working out your new budget, don’t forget to add the extra costs of working, including: 

  • transport 
  • childcare 
  • new work clothes 
  • convenience food if you need it. 

Also factor in the extra income you’ll be earning, and any subsidies you might be entitled to. 

Planning your time

Managing your family and paid work isn’t easy, and it takes some time to adjust and get into a routine. It helps to plan out your time to get things done – while trying to factor in some time for yourself.  

Think about: 

  • planning special fun time with your child 
  • planning to set some time aside for you 
  • planning how you and your partner or family and whānau will manage household and other commitments  
  • who can help. 

You don’t have to do it all. If you have to make choices about what you can and can’t do, focus on the things that are most important to you and your family. 

When your child is sick 

Ask your employer for their policy on sick leave and time off for visits to your child’s doctor, Plunket, or well child health provider. You also need to plan for what you’ll with your child if their caregiver is sick. 

Need free support or advice?

Call PlunketLine 24/7 on 0800 933 922