Managing workplace issues around pregnancy and having a new baby can be tricky and complicated, especially when you may be feeling tired and overwhelmed.
This can also be a major source of worry in the increasingly difficult economic climate faced by young and growing Australian families today.
Monash University, in partnership with MacKillop Family Services, has come up with an efficient solution to make things easier for both staff and managers.
The Health in Preconception, Pregnancy and Postpartum (HiPPP) portal is an online portal for workplaces that provides a one-stop shop for resources and information about pregnancy and having a baby.
According to Dr Briony Hill, project lead at Monash University, “This is believed to be the first workplace portal globally that has been co-developed with researchers to support the wellbeing needs of women during pregnancy planning, pregnancy, postpartum and the return to work.”
The portal has been up and running at MacKillop Family Services since March this year. This is a large organisation with over 1400 staff around Australia.
“The HiPPP Portal was co-developed with direct input from MacKillop staff and management, and provides a simple, accessible solution to common pregnancy planning and return to work issues that are typically difficult to navigate,” said Dr Hill.
MacKillop Human Resource Change Manager, Donna Meechan, believes her organisation is ideally positioned to be piloting the portal, as 76 per cent of the workforce are women.
“At any one time there are at least 50 MacKillop employees who are pregnant or on parental leave. We are a family organisation and seek to provide flexible working arrangements to support staff with families, and to promote healthy child development,” she said.
“The HiPPP portal provides comprehensive information and support on pregnancy planning, adoption, wellbeing and self-care, leave entitlements, breastfeeding support and re-onboarding. It is a great tool to help normalise the many issues around returning to work for employees, their colleagues and managers.”
Stevie-Jane McMahon, MacKillop’s Area Manager for Out of Home Care in Barwon, will be going on maternity leave later this year. She has been using the HIPP portal to access information.
“I found it really helpful to have the leave entitlements, application forms and links to Centrelink right there in one place,” she said.
“I know for me personally, it can be overwhelming to work out how much leave I am entitled to and to navigate information on paid parental leave entitlements. The portal is user friendly and saves a lot of time trying to research the information on your own.”
Both staff and managers can access the portal 24 hours a day. It includes information and resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as LGBTIQA+ employees and those living with a disability.
There are plans in the pipeline to expand it to other workplaces in the future.