Sustaining career through maternity leave
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The focus of this paper is the expectations and plans relating to their return to work and subsequent career management of health professionals following a current period of maternity leave. A questionnaire was sent to staff in designated health professional occupations employed by the Department of Health Western Australia and one private sector healthcare provider. Employees selected were on the payroll as on maternity leave on a specified date. Data obtained pointed to the interaction of systemic discrimination, embedded ‘technologies’ of work organisation and attitudes and practices reflective of broader societal attitudes to women, as factors restricting the potential opportunities for the longer-term career development of these women. The authors propose that the service delivery model in the health sector should be organised around formal recognition of a range of work-hours options rather than maintaining full-time as the norm for working hours. The objective in doing this would be to undermine current patterns of systemic discrimination which operate through restricted access to training and development for part-timers and the reservation of senior positions for employees working only one standard (full-time) set of hours.
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