to think this is really not on (maternity leave)

(359 Posts)
manicinsomniac Fri 01-Mar-13 17:54:21

Having a baby, having your full time off, coming back for a month then announcing you're 4 months pregnant and will be off again. If you knew you were pregnant (or even trying) should you really go back to work, knowing that your employer was going to have to pay two salaries for one job?

I really don't know if this is standard practice and completely ok or whether it's unfair and cheating the system. It seems unfair and a bit immoral to me.

sarahtigh Wed 06-Mar-13 08:41:50

the rules state that generally max is 4 weeks per year in whole working weeks so if you work 3 days a week it is 3 days, it is per child not per job so if you have taken 8 weeks and you move jobs can take 5 with new employer, you need to have worked there a year before you can claim, unless child is disabled it should not be in less than 1 week blocks ( while an employer may allow this it is not really for 2 hours off to see scholl play)

you need to give 21 days notice

it can be delayed by employer for a good business reason ( ie would cause serious disruption) such as a company of 5 people when 2 were off already or say just before 5th of april if you are an accountant etc

but not by more than 6 months and not if by postponing would be after child is 5 so would not qualify, it can not be postponed if taken by father/partner immediately after birth/adoption the reson for refusal must be given within 7 days and a new start date suggested

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 16:36:45

its up to 4 weeks per year unpaid up to 13 weeks per child

EasilyBored Tue 05-Mar-13 16:28:38

It's up to age 5, or until 5 years after adoption, unless the child has a disability (and in receipt of DLA or what will be PIP), in which case it's up to 18. I don't now about taking odd days, but my employer allows you to take it in short bits or longer blocks depending on why you need to take it. Your employer is also required to give you 'reasonable' time off to deal with emergencies involving a dependent and to make longer term plans for childcare for example if your child minder suddenly quits or dies, and they can not dismiss you or victimise you for doing so.

sarahtigh Tue 05-Mar-13 16:18:15

you are not entitled to 13 weeks a year, you are entitled to a certain number of weeks per child between birth and either 12 or 16, these weeks must be taken as complete weeks,( ie no obligation to give odd days) the employer can turn it down say for instant 3 other staff weree off then but must give the requested number of weeks within 6 months

higgle Tue 05-Mar-13 15:33:56

What I really cannot cope with is how the present system encourages a year off in maternity leave but doesn't encourage employees to let employers know how they are progressing. In my business "I'm definately coming back" has in 100% of cases resulted in the employee eventually deciding not to come back at all, or to offer availability at a time of day when there is no work anyway.
Fortunately for me the applications submitted by older women tend to be beter made out and presented so we seldom get applicants under 40ish who get an offer.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 15:23:34

Easily - if you are talking to me i have not mentioned questioning people in interviews.

My clients are happy. My staff are happy. MN isn't happy.

2/3 is good enough smile

EasilyBored Tue 05-Mar-13 15:14:02

If a potential employer asked me about my plans for future children during an interview, I would walk out. Sorry, but it's so massively inappropriate you can only imagine what other kind of attitudes they hold. God forbid anyone take off the 13 weeks unpaid leave they are entitled to yearly if they have a child under 5.

The fact that you can't recruit and train someone to cover maternity leave is a failure on your part, you are not running an organisation very well if it is such a huge problem.

It pays to be a friendly, supportive employer; my employer bends over backwards to help me out and support me, so I return the favour.

Given that men can take a good chunk of time off when they have a baby now, it would seem the sensible thing to do was to just not employ anyone of childbearing age. So men under the age of about 13 and women outside of the 13-50 age range are about your only hope hmm

You sound like a joy to work for.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 15:11:04

if someone leaves you know they aren't coming back so you have certainty and hire their replacement.

luanmahi Tue 05-Mar-13 15:03:31

Surely it's good business to expect to have to replace people regardless of who you employ. People leave for all kinds of reasons including the fact that they just want to move on. To particularly dread having to employ women because you don't want to deal with maternity is a silly thing to say (particularly on a website like this) when you could have to replace people for all manner of reasons.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 15:01:30

its not I didn't want female employees. I am in my late thirties. its now or never for me.

and on one else is going to put me first - fair enough i don't expect that from them - but i will do it for myself.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 14:53:26

I think you handed in your right to sympathy as a 'female employer' when you said you didn't want to employ females.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 14:42:55

grow - being relieved you don't have to deal with something is not discrimination.

hopefully, I will be able to have my own family, grow the business then as our required skills set broadens, maybe women will apply and be successful.

I do find it interesting the number of times women on MN are told to put their own families first. and how far away from that are the comments to a female employer.

FierceBadIggi Tue 05-Mar-13 14:33:45

What happens if you have had the conversation with employees, they have no plans for further/any dcs, and then an 'accident' happens? (Just read some threads of mumsnet if you think this doesn't happen often!). Do you suggest they terminate? And what if you have the chat with me, and I tell you I won't have more dcs, but am crossing my fingers behind my back as am currently ttc but think you are the type of boss to discriminate? Or you make plans based on knowing I'm ttc but then I end up have recurrent miscarriages?
I think such discussions are pointless and won't give any real info. I hope you're chatting to my dh too, as he's going to request part-time hours next year.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 14:16:38

Creating jobs in a recession does not make you above the law.

You have explored the possibility on this thread that would be preferable for you to go to a tribunal rather than employ a suitable candidate who may, at some time in her employment with you, go on maternity leave (all hypothetical of course because we all now know you don't employ women).

You do this on a site called 'Mumsnet' - with the tag line 'for parents by parents'. hmm

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 14:07:32

this is what makes MN so fascinating...

I create jobs in a recession ...
women don't apply for them because few women work in this area...
I sigh when they don't, because I want time to look after my own family & have my own DCs.

and yet I am so immoral!

I don't mind being total that my people who do more than me... but the rest, I do wonder about!

of course the less you do, the easier it is to do it perfectly!

thereonthestair Tue 05-Mar-13 14:06:50

I think that attitude of don't ask is a little naive and also rather sanctimonious. When having those conversations I know exactly what risks I am taking, I know when I am crossing the line, and when I may get sued for it. I also think if you read my post you would see at no point did I say I would ask women, I say I would ask staff. Now that may be indirectly discriminatory as a PCP which applies more to women than men, but even then to be illegal it would have to be to the particualr woman's disadvantage, or create an offensive hostile or intimidating environment for a woman (such as viewing porn at work). It is not a comment which is made because of a woman's sex, as such it is not contrary to the Equality act, unless it could be proven to only be being asked because of a woman's sex. As I can show I ask men too then that is going to be diffiuclt to prove as even if the burden of proof was reversed as it may be in a sex discrimination case I have facts to disprove the inference. As such even if it were indirectly discriminatory it is only unlawful (not illegal) if I could not justify my actions.

I have decided that that is a risk I am happy to take. It is not I also know that sometimes it is better to know and to be asked. When I was an employee I volunteered the information as I would rather my emplyoers knew what I was planning. That made work planning much easier for everyone concerned, and good employers can and do have these conversations in a way which engenders both trust and a sense of loyalty. It is much better to do that that to be faced with discriminatory attitudes which are hidden because people are frightened of the law. The law is there, it has to be complied with, but it is nowhere near as balck and white as many small businesses fear. It is all about balancing rights and obligations, and balancing different risks.

When employers are frightened of employing women they chose not to do so. If they ask staff sensibly and plan for different eventualities, it is much easier and IMHO makes for a much friendlier place to work

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 14:02:10

chairman - which I said upthread a number of times.

ChairmanWow Tue 05-Mar-13 13:58:05

You've spent how long on here arguing about how you'd have to pay a contractor £400 per day, work a 7 day week etc etc and you don't even employ any women. Oh. My. God.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the first male employee tells you he's taking 6 months paternity.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 13:55:46

chairman - I don't have any female staff. how can I resent them? hardly any women work in my area.

I don't resent my friends having ML.

ChairmanWow Tue 05-Mar-13 13:54:36

* (I am an employer btw, and do have honest conversations about what staff are planning with respect of children*

Then please be aware that you are breaching the Equalities Act and your employees can make a tribunal claim against you. You have no legal or moral right to ask your employees about their family planning.

Some of the attitudes on here stink. You employ these people for x hours per week. By paying them a salary you have not bought the right to control any other aspect of their lives.

Anyone starting a business should be aware of all the machinations of becoming an employer. There are numerous liabilities. If you don't want to take the responsibility nobody is holding a gun to your head to start a business.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 13:52:26

Embark on a bit of succession planning to ensure that if the shit hit the fan one way or another you would not be left held to ransom by a £400 a day contractor?

Maybe your next recruit could be a trainee. I believe there are a few young people twiddling their thumbs at the moment. Do the old fashioned thing, train one of them. They will work for you for a lot less than £400 a day.

Then, if and when one of your guys (or gals) needs extended leave, there they are - cheap and cheerful cover.

Oh, I know. You can't afford to. So you are excused from employing women of child bearing age.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 13:51:29

where have I 'bemoan[ed] the fact that women can take paid leave to be with their babies'?

I don't expect to work a 7 hour day! good god!

if someone was ill, I would do what I could, for as long as I could and if they still weren't well, I would have to let them go.

ChairmanWow Tue 05-Mar-13 13:49:11

Plus from what I can see from your posts and the constant reference back to your own situation you clearly resent that your employees can take a year's mat leave. Otherwise you'd be saying 'yes it's a bit of a ballache for us small businesses but I absolutely support the right to take mat leave without interference from employers'.

thereonthestair Tue 05-Mar-13 13:47:29

I am reading through this, and want to ask whether we all think that 12 months leave is, in and of itself progress.

At the moment there is nothing wrong with having back to back maternity leave, it is a pain as an employer, but so are many things. In my field I would prefer employees did this, than came back for a year then off for a year as that would be much more disruptive. But it all depends. It is legal and not legal for a reason, but it does encourage the attitude of not employing women.

But this whole argument is predicated on 1. women taking the majority of the leave and 2. them being off for a year. Am I really the only one who remembers when it was a matter of weeks. Everyone managed, not ideal but we managed. Now as it happens I would personally prefer the state gave more leave, and paid for it and we all paid more taxes to cover the costs as havign children is a benefit to society. But given it will not do this and we do rely on business to create jobs, cover jobs etc I do wonder why some people are so naive about how much of a buggeration it is to be out of work for 12 months. It does disrupt careers, mine is getting slowly back on track 3 years later and I only took 8 months off. I actually wish I had taken less time but my husband had been allowed to take some of it - so far example we both carried on working and carride on working 2/3 days each that would have been easier to manage from an employment perspective. (I am an employer btw, and do have honest conversations about what staff are planning with respect of children, partly because if I want to take another ML I want to know it is not likely my assistant will also be off at the same time - as happened last time).

ChairmanWow Tue 05-Mar-13 13:46:13

If you start a business then you need to be prepared to put in the extra. It's not the same as working for a big employer, for example and I'd think it's naive to think you can start up your own business and clock off after a 7 hour day. It might sound harsh but that's the reality of being a business owner. The ultimate responsibility lies with you, but so does the ultimate gain when business is going well, which I'm guessing is what motivates many people to start up in the first place.

As has been said, SMP is claimable. If you pay enhancements you clearly think that's affordable. You keep mentioning £400 a day. The only way you can cover mat leave is through an agency or contractor? If she's taking a full year then surely you can recruit.

But still, it's not enough justification to come on here bemoaning the fact that women can take paid leave to be with their babies. What would you do if one of your employees suffered a serious illness?

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