Danielle Grindlay claims that ABC wouldn’t let her work hours fit her childcare needs after returning from maternity leave. Former ABC journalist Danielle Grindlay had spoken out online, accusing the national broadcaster of forcing her to resign when she tried returning from maternity leave. Grindlay claimed in a scathing series of tweets on Tuesday that she had been told to resign after her manager would not allow the same rostering flexibility as their predecessor. “Today, I was forced to ‘resign’ from ABC instead of returning to Work from maternity leave. Resignation infers a degree of choice, of which I had none,” her tweet read.
“Management would no longer allow flexibility around childcare hours available to me: 12-hour days between 6.30 am and 6.30 pm.” The former features reporter and producer for ABC Wimmera in regional Victoria added how she had previously “successfully navigated this exact job under a former manager, with absolutely no issue”. The mum-of-three said bosses had insinuated such an arrangement was no longer “practical”. She went on to say that policies spruiked by the company inferring that parents would have access to part-time roles until their children were of school-age “means nothing if it’s ‘not practical’ for management”.
‘We all make choices’ is the line from a manager that continues to ring in my ears,” she wrote. Grindlay expressed how the situation was manageable for her family, given she was not a single mum of the household’s primary earner. I’m in a fortunate position and now have other career plans. Luckily, I’m not a single mother. Or the primary breadwinner for my family,” she wrote. If this is how ‘the most attractive workplace in the country treats parents, we’ve got a long, long way to go in 2021. The ABC issued a statement saying it was “committed to providing a flexible workplace for all staff, including those returning from maternity leave, subject to operational requirements. The ABC offered to explore flexible work options with Danielle,” the broadcaster claimed.
The sentiment of her tweet appeared to resonate with many other women in the media industry. Former Channel 7 presenter Jessica Ridley offered her support following her decision not to return to the network following maternity leave. So sorry to hear this, Dani. Be encouraged, though, as someone who made the decision not to return to a major news network after mat leave, that there is so much Work for you out there that will afford you greater flexibility and predictability for your family,” her response read.
Others expressed how they thought ABC’s handling of Grindlay was “not OK. “Employers talk about ‘wellness,’ ‘flexibility,’ and ‘real-life balance,’ but they don’t mean it,” one person wrote. That’s appalling – the ABC should be leading the way in flexible work practices,” another said. Many encouraged Grindlay to consider raising the matter with Fair Work or consulting the Media, Entertainment, and Arts Alliance union for advice.