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.

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Fri 01-Mar-13 17:55:20

It is a reason small businesses can be wary of employing women.

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Mar-13 17:57:38

They're not paying two salaries? Govt pays for stat maternity pay.

Well, if the alternative is to just quit, then of course you'd go back to work confused if you're entitled (I hate using that word here, but you know what I mean) to maternity leave then what's wrong with taking it?

CruCru Fri 01-Mar-13 17:59:14

Watching with interest. I am 2 months gone (after IVF), have been back four months. I have worked for the Company for 15 years but even so, my boss may not be thrilled.

Euphemia Fri 01-Mar-13 17:59:36

C'est la vie, live with it.

ceramicunicorn Fri 01-Mar-13 17:59:51

So you're saying you shouldn't work if you're trying for a baby?

sooperdooper Fri 01-Mar-13 18:00:14

Agree with Pseudo, government pays stay maternity pay, not the employer

It's legal. Whether it's ethically OK is another matter (personally I don't have a problem with it).

I was under the impression SMP is paid by HMRC and thus there isn't a loss to the company? Unless of course they choose to augment it, in which case I'm sorry but it's the company's problem not the employee's. <possibly bitter because I get SMP and that's it>

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Fri 01-Mar-13 18:00:55

They are perfectly within their rights to do this.

Maybe that's the reason I can't find any work at the moment,I live in a smallish town,lots of small business,cv's handed out to most of them. I am early thirties (look younger) ,had my children young and am most definitely finished. Would it be illegal to put "Finished reproducing,will not require maternity leave" on my cover note?

Gintonic Fri 01-Mar-13 18:01:12

Yes, YABU. You normally have to back to work after mat leave or pay back your mat pay. Unless the employer gives a very generous package they will not be paying "two salaries". SMP is paid by the state for the most part and is 500 per month.

X-posted. Glad I was right!

Ponderingonaquandry Fri 01-Mar-13 18:01:54

I'm going to be controversial here and say I don't like it, having 'worked' with someone who did it for 4 children....then quit at the end of her last lot of mat leave

Pigsmummy Fri 01-Mar-13 18:02:03

Is there an amount of time that you have to return to work for before entitled to maternity benefits again?

CailinDana Fri 01-Mar-13 18:02:27

Yes damn those women not having their children to suit the most important people in the world. Imagine actually having children when you want them! Don't they now there's money to be made?

A company does not pay two salaries when a woman is on mat leave. Find out how it actually works before making sexist comments.

livinginwonderland Fri 01-Mar-13 18:04:46

i know someone who did this. she had her materity leave, got offered back the same hours, rejected it, then not even a week later, found out she was pregnant and suddenly decided to accept her old hours again. conveniently, she has relatives in management -_- she's off on her second lot of fully paid maternity leave next month.

CunfuddledAlways Fri 01-Mar-13 18:05:41

yes you have to work&earn a certain amount between certain weeks in your pregnancy to get mat leave from my employer so if you went back after mat leave and where already pregnant by some months think you would just get goverment mat leave

Pigsmummy Fri 01-Mar-13 18:05:59

As people (like me) have children later in life this will happen more and more because women haven't got the time to hang around between children if they want more than one child. I might end up going back to work pregnant, I have been working full time for 22 years so it's not really so bad that I am taking my maternity leaves (hopefully) close together is it?

Pigsmummy Fri 01-Mar-13 18:07:02

Thanks Cunfuddled

ceramicunicorn Fri 01-Mar-13 18:07:31

I've worked for the same company for the last 7 years. I was ttc for 5 of these. I will be returning to work from mat leave in a couple of months and I'm already pregnant again.
I don't see why I should be made to feel guilty about this.

DH works for what was a startup. They've found employing people of childbearing age to be a good move: be generous, reasonably flexible and supportive and you usually get loyal hardworking employees with high morale. I don't buy this small businesses hurt by those nasty evil pregnant wimminz bollocks; smacks of lazy thinking to me.

stargirl1701 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:09:04

I have no issue with someone doing this twice, or three times.

A teacher at my school has done this 6 times. Enough.

manicinsomniac Fri 01-Mar-13 18:09:04

Does the government even pay for private companies? And in education where statutory pay is quite long?

MajaBiene Fri 01-Mar-13 18:09:07

I don't really see the problem.

Most companies that offer their own maternity pay schemes will require the woman to be back at work for a certain amount of time, otherwise it's just SMP. Most places only offer SMP anyway.

justabigdisco Fri 01-Mar-13 18:09:49

What's the difference between being back 4 months and being back a year before having second child? One might argue that it's better to get all maternity leave over and done with sooner. Or should women who work only be allowed to have one child??

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Mar-13 18:10:31

Statutory pay and period is the same for all women OP. That's what makes it statutory.

catlady1 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:10:38

Would you rather she stopped work and went on benefits instead? If she's planning to have more than one child, it doesn't really matter when she does it, the impact on the compny is the same at the end of it. And like others have said, the company can claim back SMP from the government, and any extra maternity pay from the woman if she doesn't return to work (well that's what most companies do, anyway).

MajaBiene Fri 01-Mar-13 18:11:04

manicinsomniac - SMP is for 39 weeks. Government pays for it regardless of who the employer is, though companies can choose to offer more if they want. Small companies can claim 104% of the cost back.

tethersend Fri 01-Mar-13 18:11:04


Perhaps the kids will grow up to work for the company.

One more! As I understand it you have to have been working for the same company for 26 weeks before mat leave to qualify for SMP; else you are entitled to Maternity Allowance based on your NI contributions.

Where I am confused is I also thought that mat leave counts as continuous service.

manicinsomniac Fri 01-Mar-13 18:12:40

ceramicunicorn - no but I think it's a bit different if you're trying for another baby while still on mat leave as you know that, if you are successful quickly, you will hardly be back.

Looks like IABU though, fair enough.

Tearsofthemushroom Fri 01-Mar-13 18:12:53

If you are going to have two periods of maternity leave then what does it matter how close together they are? I say this as someone who fell pregnant by accident and had to go back to work earlier than planned so that I could have time off with my DD. The other option would have been to leave my good job which I did go back to in the end. I did have to put up from a lot of amusing comments from the people I worked with though.

MajaBiene Fri 01-Mar-13 18:13:16

What difference does it make though if you are back 4 months or a year?

ChildoftheMonkeyBasket Fri 01-Mar-13 18:14:28

I was trying for my second from when my first was 11months old, I finally had DC2 when DC1 was 4. I didn't go back to work for that very reason, silly me.

MammaTJ Fri 01-Mar-13 18:15:07

So, she shouldn't have more children?

Or is it just the timescale that bothers you?

I don't see what difference it makes.

catlady1 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:15:10

Commander I'm on maternity leave from two job at the moment and my maternity leave will be added on to my length of service when/if I return as if I had been working as normal. I'm not actually sure whether I'd be entitled to the same rates of pay if I went back pregnant and left again soon after though, that's a good question, although I would think so - the guidelines just say you have to have been employed by the company for 26 weeks.

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Mar-13 18:16:14

My boss came back for only a few months before going off with her second DC. So I'll have no qualms about being back for 18 months!

Pickles101 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:17:21

I don't see the problem here at all.

HorryDrelincourt Fri 01-Mar-13 18:18:08

Someone who used to work with DH avoided several rounds of redundancy despite being in a totally redundant department and apparently being crap by running lots of maternity leave together. There was a lot of bad feeling about it, both that HR/management were too chicken to consider her for redundancy, and that she used the system to her advantage.

But they were only paying SMP so their financial loss was minimal. And the alternative - statutory controls on child spacing - would be repulsive.

If you've been on maternity leave for a year, on SMP, you'd only just or not quite qualify for full SMP the second time anyway, because of qualifying weeks which I only slightly understand. So it is usually financially better to work for a reasonable period before conceiving the next anyway.

angeltattoo Fri 01-Mar-13 18:18:09


And you sound jealous or bitter about it.

Andro Fri 01-Mar-13 18:18:27

It is perfectly legal but it also a management nightmare; not from the point of SMP (HR get to deal with the bulk of that), but finding suitably skilled temps/training/management of team morale/etc.

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound - one lady did something very similar (albeit in interview not on her CV), she certainly made an impression!

I'm sorry to point out something that should be really obvious, but you do know that not everyone who knows they're pregnant at two or three months gone stays that way, don't you?

If someone hasn't announced their pregnancy until late on it might well be they have good (and sad) reasons for doing so.

That's leaving aside the fact it's perfectly legit.

TheSecondComing Fri 01-Mar-13 18:21:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

munchkinmaster Fri 01-Mar-13 18:21:19

Smp is fully paid by hmrc for small companies and 92% is paid for larger companies. You also need to have worked 26 weeks by week 25 of pregnancy. I'm not clear if being on may leave counts as working?

HorryDrelincourt Fri 01-Mar-13 18:22:26

Oh and it's 26w from the 15th week before EWC" ie a clear week before your LMP by normal calculations/cycle length.

I may have missed this deadline by mere days with DC2. Was still well worth employing for those eight months though.

HorryDrelincourt Fri 01-Mar-13 18:24:00

Yes, it is "be employed by the same employer", not "work for". This can catch temp-to-perm workers who do the same work at the same desk, but for different employers.

idiuntno57 Fri 01-Mar-13 18:24:09

I can't see the problem. There may be many reasons why she came back pregnant and whatever they are why should she give up her long term job prospects for what is a relatively short period of disruption.

I am sure that if men could have babies too this just wouldnt be an issue in the workplace.

manicinsomniac Fri 01-Mar-13 18:24:35

It's a good point about the timescale.

angeltattoo - jealous? - hell no! I had two kids by accident 4.5 years apart and only lasted on mat leave for about 6 weeks. bitter? - about the extra workload, yeah, I guess I might be a bit.

bbcessex Fri 01-Mar-13 18:25:05

It's a common misconception that it doesn't cost employerd anything. employers can only claim back SMP.

They have to pay holiday pay (min of 5.6 weeks pay) themselves which women accrue during maternity. Ie approx 1.5 months salary.

They also have to continue to pay any 'perks' like childcare vouchers, company cars etc, which they can not claim back.

It's not just big companies that this affects...I had this happen for a nanny, which cost me nearly 2,000 in holiday pay whilst the nanny was oon mat leave. Which I wld have had to pay again had she come back for a short while and gone off again....n mat lea

paperclips Fri 01-Mar-13 18:27:57

what justabigdiscosaid. If someone has more than one child, what difference does it make how far apart they are spaced, they'll be off the same length of time. Or perhaps we women should quit work for good when we start breeding, and stop trying to have it all blah blah blah daily mail.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 01-Mar-13 18:28:48

A friend of mine was due to go back to work after a year of maternity leave this month, but she is now 32 weeks pregnant. She took her holiday allowance so that she could connect her two lots of maternity leave together. She is certain she will leave her job after her second baby is born, so this company is paying her 70% of her wage for two years, plus all her full pay holiday allowance.

Good on her I think, the company can afford it and she's worth it. But I don't think a company should have to do this. I know not all companies are as generous with their maternity packages, but ones that are should be applauded.

AScorpionPitForMimes Fri 01-Mar-13 18:28:57

I have a friend who did this - she had PCOS and it was two close together or only one. I don't have a problem with it, especially since, as mentioned many times, the government pays most of it.

LadyWidmerpool Fri 01-Mar-13 18:31:40

Men never get grief for having children close together, why should women?

bbcessex Fri 01-Mar-13 18:32:56

To point out again.. not all cost is paid or reclaimable from the government.

For a small company or individual employer this has a real impact.

Growlithe Fri 01-Mar-13 18:34:30

manic surely your extra workload is not the fault of your pregnant colleague. It is the fault of your employer. Your issue should be with them, not her.

bbcessex Fri 01-Mar-13 18:34:31

Fyi.. not against mat leave etc.. wld just like people to understand there is a significant cost to the employer that is not reclaimable!!!

PseudoBadger Fri 01-Mar-13 18:34:50

That's not what OP said though. She was moaning about "2 salaries"

Growlithe Fri 01-Mar-13 18:37:43

bbcessex but that is just the cost of employing someone, isn't it? When you employ someone you know it is going to cost you more than just their salary.

maddening Fri 01-Mar-13 18:38:30

I doubt many of those returning to work already pg did so purposefully.

Also - the statutory mat pay is the same wherever you work - (as you mention mat pay in education being "quite long" ) it is for 9 months where ever you are.

I don't see why you're bitter that you only took 6 weeks though?

Anyway - yabu the woman has the same time off regardless of time between each child - if it is all done in a shorter space that could be better

Andro Fri 01-Mar-13 18:39:37

surely your extra workload is not the fault of your pregnant colleague. It is the fault of your employer. Your issue should be with them, not her.

That depends! A specialised field of work, may make it very difficult to find a temp with the appropriate skills/training/accreditation/ the extra work load that can arise from covering anti-natal appointments etc if work is time sensitive.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 01-Mar-13 18:39:50

At least she went back! I know someone who worked the minimum number of weeks to get enhanced mat pay with her first baby then got pg with 2nd on the 1st mat leave and didn't go back, just took the next leave back to back. She then moved away (so no intention of ever returning to the job) and claimed enhanced mat. pay for the second mat. leave. Perfectly possible under the rules her work had but ethically very unfair. It's a good job that all working women who have kids don't do this.

In fact as I left my previous employer they were just changing the maternity policy to prevent this from happening. If you went off for your 2nd mat. leave less than 18 months after the 1st they'd only pay you statutory minimum for the second leave - effectively planning your family spacing for you! It's cases like the one above and the one highlighted by the OP which employers say are justification for dreadful erosion of maternity policy such as this.

TheChaoGoesMu Fri 01-Mar-13 18:40:32

Dreadful behaviour. She should make a choice between having a job and having children obviously.

luanmahi Fri 01-Mar-13 18:41:44

Plenty of people have done this where I work, mainly because the women in my department tend to be in their 30s so don't want to leave to much of an age gap as they've left it later to have children.

You have to have been employed for 6 months before you get SMP so if you've been on maternity leave, you're still classed as an employee so it doesn't affect it. Also you don't have to pay SMP back if you leave afterwards. Some companies may want you to pay any augmentation they've given you but you'd need to check their policy on that.

I don't see why it's a problem. As someone else has said, what's the difference when you have your children. If you're going to have 2 children, they'll have to arrange cover regardless of when you do it. Unless you intend to leave your job and start working for a new company in-between each child...

bbcessex Fri 01-Mar-13 18:43:46

Grolithe... I guess for me it was a surprise.. I was also under the misconception that if a nanny went on mat leave I would only be liable for temp cover..

Put me off employing another nanny.because I just can't afford to pay two lots of hols etc. ( for temp and nanny on mat leave)

Growlithe Fri 01-Mar-13 18:45:47

Andro it is still not the pregnant woman's fault. She does not deserve to have bitterness directed towards her for simply getting pregnant, no matter what her line of work happens to be.

It is the employer's responsibility to manage the workload of the remaining staff.

Growlithe Fri 01-Mar-13 18:53:22

bbcessex there are lots of online calculators to work out the true cost of an employee to an employer. There are lots of hidden costs which need to be taken into consideration.

Echocave Fri 01-Mar-13 18:56:20

It's a problem for lots of employers although women are totally within their rights to do it. My boss (a bloke) gets fed up with it as it destabilises a small team of quite highly trained people who are difficult to replace.

Andro Fri 01-Mar-13 19:02:18

Growlithe - she may not deserve it, but she will receive it...irrespective of how good the manager is. As a manager you can set down expectations, discipline proven misconduct and organise cover as quickly as possible. What you can't do is force anyone to 'like' another person (all you can do is insist on basic standards of conduct), someone returning from mat leave pregnant will very often been seen as taking the mick and the atmosphere changes.

NumericalMum Fri 01-Mar-13 19:03:43

lady that is an excellent point. One of the (smaller) reasons I have not had a second DC is my guilt for taking maternity leave a second time. Nobody would bat an eyelid for my DH though. Being a working mum is impossible as the world is always against you.

TattyDevine Fri 01-Mar-13 19:05:17

Where I used to work you'd get 6 months on full pay and 3 months on statutory then 3 months no pay before you had to go back. It was easy to fall pregnant in that time and start claiming another 6 months salary without going back in between. And profit share bonus. Fab firm that was grin <<counts gold coins>>

TattyDevine Fri 01-Mar-13 19:05:58

Oh and then you cash in the holiday pay at the end, 10 weeks worth, ca-ching!

Alamaya Fri 01-Mar-13 19:10:20

this makes me laugh. I went back to work 10 weeks pregnant. A complete suprise after needing ivf for the first.

In response to we shouldnt come back. um heeelllo when you go on maternity you sign to say you will come back. If you dont you pay back any maternity pay you have been given.

I felt guilty enough as it was and it certainly wasnt planned. Luckily my colleagues were supportive!!!!!

A lot of companies have enhanced maternity pay policies which are linked to returning to the job and staying in the job. This makes lots of sense. I had to repay a "return to work bonus" when I left my previous job as I left within a year of returning to work.

Joiningthegang Fri 01-Mar-13 19:37:06

Yabu - i hadnt planned to be pregnant when returning to work after a year of with ds2 - but i am still there years later and work. Really hard.
I did feel a bit bad telling my boss but he was lovely x

CruCru Fri 01-Mar-13 19:40:38

A few people have mentioned that if you don't go back after maternity leave, you have to pay back the enhanced maternity pay (for some companies). How is this enforced? If someone isn't back at work then it's quite hard to take money off them. Sounds like an HR nightmare.

FantasticMax Fri 01-Mar-13 19:43:38

Hmmm... I know women are perfectly within their rights to do this but it doesn't sit right with me. Where a pregnancy is unplanned or you're in your late 30s and you want to get cracking, fair enough I suppose, but to actively TTC to work the system I don't agree with. As pointed out above, there are more costs involved to a company than simply SMP.

But I had an enhanced maternity package so maybe I feel a bit more loyal to my employer? I don't know. I'm undecided about trying for baby no.2 but if I do I would certainly wait a while between mat leaves, at least a couple of years.

MamaBear17 Fri 01-Mar-13 19:49:32

I think that some companies (certainly schools) buy insurance so that they can cover the maternity pay of the person on leave and the salary of the person they employ. The head teacher of our school said that it was only cost effective if he had one pregnancy per year and if he had more he could make a little money! It is difficult for employers, but I am firmly on the fence on this one. I couldnt do it because I'd feel guilty, but at the same time you cant tell people when they can have a baby or not.

CruCru Fri 01-Mar-13 19:52:50

I must admit that I think it is fair enough. If a company needed to make you redundant they wouldn't think twice about it.

Samnella Fri 01-Mar-13 19:56:43

YABU as you can hardly say to women they cant return to work in this situation. What happens if you were pregnant without knowing or got pregnant 2 weeks after returning? I think it may depend on the package the woman got though. If it was full pay for 6 months, return to work for 3 months and then another full pay for 6 months then I can see why others would think that unfair. I don't agree with enhanced maternity packages though. I think they are sexist. Why should a woman get 6 months full pay but not another member of staff needing time off for whatever reasons.

ChairmanWow Fri 01-Mar-13 19:58:10

Why is it any different whether you return to work pregnant or take a second lot of mat leave a year or two later? The company still has the same liabilities if it pays enhancements either way. It's up to women and their families to decide when to have their kids not peoples employers.

nannyof3 Fri 01-Mar-13 19:58:56

My aunt did this .... Mmmm.. Where do u work shock wink grin

nannyof3 Fri 01-Mar-13 19:58:57

My aunt did this .... Mmmm.. Where do u work shock wink grin

bigkidsdidit Fri 01-Mar-13 20:00:50

It doesn't sit right with me either, although I would try to suppress those feelings. We had someone do it and it was a bloody nightmare - training mat cover, who left after a year, then the member of staff announced she'd be off again in a few months, recruiting and training another cover; it was a real pain.

catlady1 Fri 01-Mar-13 20:10:38

But it's not really working the system though. At least not unless you're getting enhanced pay and not planning to go back. If you are going back to work then it makes no difference whether you leave ten years or two weeks between pregnancies. It might be a pain for the employer but that's got nothing to do with the woman playing the system or claiming more than anyone else would be entitled to.

herethereandeverywhere Fri 01-Mar-13 20:11:14

I ask again - what would happen if every working woman who had children chose to do it this way? Would it just become normal? Or would it encourage employers to discriminate? Or change maternity policy?

<Genuinely pondering this one>

BikeRunSki Fri 01-Mar-13 20:11:29

As the manager of someone who came back to work pg with DC2 it is actually easier in some ways as I just extended her maternity cover, didn't gave to recruit again. And the piers doing it got 2 years development experience instead of just 1. A few years down the line, she and I have both had 2 DC and two years' mat leave, but I have "cost" one more recruitment.

FantasticMax Fri 01-Mar-13 20:13:50

For me the difference between going back to work pregnant and waiting a few years is about 'earning' the second maternity leave IFYSWM. I'd feel guilty if I took two mat leaves in fairly quick succession, although I know logically the company has the same outlay each time. But then there was a woman up thread who'd worked for the same company for yonks so in her case I'd think fair enough. It's a tricky area!

Dirtymistress Fri 01-Mar-13 20:25:31

I went back to work pregnant after dc1. Worked for seven months. Have just finished and will have ten months off before returning. I have worked for the company for 11 years. Never had a day off sick, moved around to suit the company, worked every Christmas, taken on challenging roles that others wouldn't and generally given my all for a job I feel passionate about. Hopefully I will work for them for 30 years to come. So yes, you are being unreasonable. And do fuck off.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Fri 01-Mar-13 20:30:29

YABU, these are the babies that will pay for our pensions, gap makes no odds.

MadCap Fri 01-Mar-13 20:34:54

I agree with crucru Employers don't generally give a toss about their employees so why should anyone feel guilty taking leave that they're entitled to. I left my job after my mat leave and I didn't feel a shred of guilt.

LivingThings Fri 01-Mar-13 20:35:53

I did it - went back to work when #1 was 11 months however didn't physically return to work just took my accumulated leave to connect two lots of maternity leave and got full pay for another maternity leave. I am now back at work. I have worked for the same emloyer for 28 years so I don't think I was taking anything I hadn't worked for.

ChairmanWow Fri 01-Mar-13 20:45:06

* I'd feel guilty if I took two mat leaves in fairly quick succession, although I know logically the company has the same outlay each time*

Well then don't do it, but don't claim it's immoral for others to when it's clearly not so.

What about people who carefully plan their children to ensure they have been at their employer long enough to qualify for their employer's enhanced package? This must be pretty common. Do you think that is wrong too?

maddening Fri 01-Mar-13 20:50:11

actually thinking about it if an employer has trained a temp for maternity cover then it would be better to have a short gap so the temp can cover again with no extra retraining so it's one long upheaval instead of two.

Growlithe Fri 01-Mar-13 21:09:27

I've been on MN properly for about 3 years now. At first the parent and child parking space debate puzzled me. I mean, what's not to like about a perk for parents on a parenting site? But then I started to see the other side of the argument and thought, well does someone with small children really need an extra wide space close to the supermarket? So MN changed my mind.

But on entitlement to mat leave? On the ability to choose the gap between your children with no comeback from your employer? On the absolute injustice of the suggestion that bitterness from colleagues and a feeling of guilt on the part of the woman is the norm in these situations? Go on, put women back 50 years and convince me on that one.

RougePygmy Fri 01-Mar-13 21:21:43

Say you want 2 children, what difference does it make if you have those 2 children close together or years apart, you have the same total amount of time off!

I returned from mat leave after my first child 4 months pregnant, worked full time for 3 and a half months, then had a year mat leave and returned full time again.

They were close together, but, if I had had a bigger gap of say 4 years, would it be commented upon that I had 2 mots of mat leave, maybe by some, but nowhere near as much.

Second child was not planned, we had tried for many years for our first, then I fell pregnant with the second before I had had my first period following the birth of my first, as I was bfing.

MrsMeeple Fri 01-Mar-13 21:32:39

YABtotallyU. Someone should not go back to work after parental leave because they're trying to conceive???? What if it takes them years? What if it never happens? How long should they sit at home, trying???

If you happen to fall pregnant shortly before you are due back, should you forfeit those months' salary, that you would be able to earn before the next child is born? Just give them up and manage on no income? Go on benefits when you have a perfectly good job that you are capable of doing?

You don't 'earn' parental leave. It should be every parent's right. The fact that some employers offer a better deal to employees who've been there longer is unfortunate. The fact that women are made to feel like they haven't earned it is wrong.

It is hard on small employers, but if you can't afford to pay leave for an employee (sick leave, parental leave, whatever) then you should seriously look at whether you can afford to have employees.

And co-workers can of course feel the disadvantages to being in a team with changing personel, but that applies if someone goes on parental leave, gets sick, leaves for a better job, is promoted out of the team.... ... ... Don't dump on a parent taking parental leave as somehow being more culpable than anyone moving around in their working career.

It should be perfectly normal to take parental leave to look after small children. Part of a healthy work : life balance. Noone should be expected to plan their family around the needs of their employer. But that is unfortunately the picture of a perfect world, not reality.

SomethingOnce Fri 01-Mar-13 21:35:47

Bigger picture:

Babies + 16 years = workforce

Keep up the good work, women!

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Fri 01-Mar-13 21:41:01

In some cases, women play the system because the employer behaved like shit in the first place. I know someone who was an agency temp for 5 years. Five. In the same job, doing well, covering a vacant post, but the organisation never formalised her post because they couldn't be arsed. When they finally offered her the post she got pg within 3 months. She was about 34. She immediately got pg again, and, as it happened, quit because her husband moved for his job. So 2 kids within 2 years, not from choice but because she was scared she'd leave it too long and be unable to conceive.

AyeOopMoose Fri 01-Mar-13 21:46:10

If you want children close together, do it.

Does anyone really think that an employer would thank you for not doing so?

A job is just a job. Don't get me wrong I'm a very hard worker but family life is more important to me.

I went back to work after DC1 20 weeks pregnant OP do you know me??

I took GREAT delight in telling my employer as they had been complete arses and refused my flexible work request. This encouraged our decision to have DC2 sooner rather than later grin

I would have no problem in doing it again if DH would agree to DC3. Systems in place to be used. To me it's like saying you have 25 days holiday a year but not taking them because you don't want to let the company down.

youmaycallmeSSP Fri 01-Mar-13 22:04:43

I wonder if there is a man out there motivated, organised, lucky, crazy and morally deficient enough to have 26 babies at 2-week intervals and therefore nab a year's worth of paternity leave?

Just an idle thought grin

Still18atheart Fri 01-Mar-13 22:15:12

This exact same thing happened to my dfs work oly this time it was a charity. they then left after the maternity leave for the 2nd baby was up

Sokmonsta Fri 01-Mar-13 22:27:16

<dons hard hat, flameproof suit a d wades in>

Morally it is unfair. Legally there is nothing the company can do provided you comply with their notice procedures.

I am doing this myself. We had twins for preg no 3. It wasn't expected and means I can no longer afford to work. We already have 2 dc.

I have worked for the same company throughout, been treated like shit and as a result no longer feel loyally to the company.

I only have to give 1 months notice. I have had my 12 months, am now using annual leave accrued while off and won't be going back.

Plumandpears Fri 01-Mar-13 22:35:20

Maybe we should recommend that these women should go on benefits instead and giving up work all together. That will really help the economy

herethereandeverywhere Fri 01-Mar-13 23:28:01

But doesn't the current system rely on not all women doing this? What if the women who thought "oh no I shouldn't" ALL came back to work pregnant? Would it matter? I actually can't decide!

BikeRunSki Fri 01-Mar-13 23:38:28

I like the idea of the man with 26 babies at fortnighjtly intervals.
One of the men I work with negotiated 2 x paternity leave or twins, on a technicality of the wording of the policy. He got it too.

tigerdriverII Fri 01-Mar-13 23:44:23

Of course it's fine and there are statutory rights to back this up. But from an employers' perspective, it really depends on the size of the business. I have had clients who are tiny, just a handful of employees, where someone has joined and literally in their first week announced their pregnancy. That's really tricky for the business, they have to get in a replacement a few months after the candidate started, it has to be a temp replacement, there is no continuity, it's disruptive and the employee who joined is very new, has no real connection to the business. Yes, the employer gets the SMP back but that doesn't tell the whole story. I hate discrimination of all sorts but there are some difficult decisions on this issue

Fanjounchained Fri 01-Mar-13 23:48:45

It's swings and roundabouts in my opinion. Went back to work when DS was 9 months (after my full 9 months mat leave) Found out I was pregnant with DD when DS was 14 months. I received SMP with DS. Unbeknown to me and my colleagues the directors of our small company had sold the company to a large London based group and I was subsequently made redundant when 8 months pregnant. So my new motto in life ? Look after me and mine...and screw everyone else....not nice but being out of work for the last 3 yrs has been a learning curve.

Fanjounchained Fri 01-Mar-13 23:51:56

Oh and I worked for my employer for 8 yrs before falling pregnant the first time. Received statutory redundancy after putting up with all sorts of shit "for the good of company" to try and pull us through a difficult period.

BratinghamPalace Sat 02-Mar-13 00:05:49

Reading this something feels a little off and I think it is this: why is this a woman's issue? This should be a fact of life that impacts all in working life as does job changing, companies being sold, promotions, external recruitment as against internal etc. it should not be a woman's issue. Do not know quite how it could be changed tho. Anyone agree that it seems off? For example most have said "my maternity leave" and the then "we tried for another." See what I am trying to say? Very garbled. Need help thinking it through Nelson do not have my glasses so cannot type.....

fromparistoberlin Sat 02-Mar-13 00:09:51

OP this is MUMsnet, the clue is in the name

try CEOsnet, or HRmanagersnet and you will get a more sympathetic hearing

MidniteScribbler Sat 02-Mar-13 01:06:47

I can see both sides of it. As a teacher in a system where you can take six years maternity leave and return to your position (yes SIX years!!!), this has had a very detrimental effect on the teaching profession here. So many teachers are stuck in temporary or contract positions due to the number of women who can take years out of the profession (you don't have to come back until the start of the next term following the sixth birthday of your youngest child), and unable to secure permanent teaching positions. This means lack of job security, lower pay (due to not being paid for the holidays, sick leave or being able to access maternity leave themselves). Teachers can finish the school year without knowing where or even if they will have a job the following year, or what grade they may be teaching, which means they can't use the term breaks to plan lessons. It has a horrible effect on the teaching profession, and is causing people to find alternative careers. On the other side of it, it means that teachers may (or may not) eventually come back to work after six - twenty years of leave and have no current skills or knowledge of the curriculum, which is not good for the students either.

I'm sure the original idea was to stop this sort of situation occurring (teachers coming back for a term or two, then going on leave again), but it's having a terrible effect on the profession, and ultimately it's the students who suffer in the long run. Legally, they may be doing exactly what they are allowed to do, but looking at the bigger picture shows just what an effect it can have on the industry, other workers, and in our case, students and their parents.

sashh Sat 02-Mar-13 03:23:58

Would it be illegal to put "Finished reproducing,will not require maternity leave" on my cover note?

Nope, you can do that.

I have a disability, interviewers are not allowed to ask about it other than making arrangements for interview. At the 'have you got any questions' stage I have been known to explain the impact on work and any days off I might need.

MidniteScribbler Sat 02-Mar-13 03:52:21

Would it be illegal to put "Finished reproducing,will not require maternity leave" on my cover note?

A better way would be:
"I am keen to continue to develop my career now that our family is complete, and this position ..... yada yada....."

nicewatch Sat 02-Mar-13 06:55:36

Well, before we all start feeling sorry for the poor companies that have to deal with back-to-back maternity leave, let's pause to remember that women make on average 80% of what men do in comparable roles (? haven't looked up the exact stat but I'm pretty sure that's in the ballpark).

So while a woman may or may not cost a company a bit more for, what, two or three years of her whole career, I am sure it stacks up when compared to a 20% discount over 45 or potentially 50 years.

nicewatch Sat 02-Mar-13 06:56:26

Even if the companies DID have to take the hit on mat leave themselves (which they don't), they would still do well out of the deal.

MummytoKatie Sat 02-Mar-13 07:42:41

Personally I will have just over 3 years between children. polishes halo

However I'm not convinced that doing this is any better for my company than if I had had say 18 months.

In my current scenario I had a year's maternity leave, went back to my old job (that I was really good at), worked in it for 8 months, got a promotion, started a new job where I didn't know what I was doing, was trained up, got good at it and just as I'm getting really good I'm going on leave again.

Where as if I had taken the 18 month child gap I'd have just gone back to my old job.

Either way - in my 13 year career (so far) I am going to have 2 years of maternity leave.

pleasestoptalking Sat 02-Mar-13 07:57:18

It's legal. I was offered a promotion when I was only a few weeks pregnant and actually took legal advice (we had a free helpline with work luckily) about whether I could take the offer or not. It was perfectly legal but in the end I decided against it as I felt I didn't need the extra stress.

I know people would have raised their eyebrows if I had taken it and then announced I was pregnant, but on the other hand I am very unlikely to have that opportunity again after having three children.

Women work, women have children. Luckily we are protected by law otherwise we would be very vulnerable to people who hold attitudes like you. Life is hard enough for working mothers who are often the one whose career suffers when having children - why do you want to make it harder?

Sisterhood at its best.

MrsKeithRichards Sat 02-Mar-13 07:59:28

Of course a woman is entitled to the same maternity benefits that company offers if she falls soon after, or even on, leave. You are still employed whilst on maternity leaves, all your in work benefits accrue as if you were there.

It seems some people know very little about their company's and overall maternity policies.

sarahtigh Sat 02-Mar-13 08:19:07

as bbcessex said it does cost even small companies the 104% of SMP is covered but not other things, like possibly training someone else to do job which is a distinct possibility in a 3-10 employee company, also may have to pay more out if need agency staff, or difficult to find temporary staff, advertising temporary post etc, all these expenses are legitimate and yet not covered

so it is not fair to say it is cost neutral to any company and it would affect small company more

that does not mean I think there is anything wrong in 2 lots of maternity I think whether they are close together or not is no-one else's business

I think maternity rights are good and we should have them without thinking it will adversely affect our job/promotion prospects but it does the cause no good by pretending there is no cost or inconvenience to a business because there is

the only problem soneone may have is not being back at work long enough to qualify for SMP from company as you need 26 weeks before 15th week from expected date ie you would need to be working before you got pregnant or not deliver until 41 weeks

CuthbertDibble Sat 02-Mar-13 08:26:50

fanjounchained if you were made redundant at 8mths pregnant, you should have received your full SMP as well as your redundancy pay.

Growlithe Sat 02-Mar-13 08:43:57

sarah but it is part of the cost of employing a person. Big companies have figures on the exact cost to the company of each of its head count. Small businesses are naive if they don't take this into consideration when increasing their staff.

It is just the same as SSP and jury service. You have to factor these costs in.

Fanjounchained Sat 02-Mar-13 09:17:34

Cuthbert Yes I got both...sorry should have pointed that out.

I had to laugh at the two other women who were made redundant at the same time when they commented "well it's ok for you, you've got your redundancy pay and your SMP too." Yes and I was f**king entitled to it too ! I had a two year old and a new born so my chances of finding a new job were somewhat slimmer than theirs being mid twenties and no mortgage or dependants to speak of ! Sisterhood at its best indeed...

sarahtigh Sat 02-Mar-13 09:48:19


most small companies do factor it in and hence some are reluctant to employ certain women

but some of the costs are not just the cost of employing a person, as most of the time employing temporary staff is more expensive than training someone for fulltime job, that is why I said costs are disproportionate in small companies as generally everyone has a particular job and if sue is away whether sick maternity or holiday there may be no-one else to cover that may not matter for a 1-2 weeks with sickness/ holiday but it is a bigger expense if for 9-12 months and then they may or may not return, quite a few companies do not pay you if you are on jury service you just get statutory payment which is almost certainly less than your pay, also in some areas of work it is very difficult to get temporary staff with right level of expertise, and most people in employment are actually working in small companies

even in some large organisations like NHS they do not always get maternity cover so colleagues have to work to cover their work as well as their own

Chunderella Sat 02-Mar-13 10:40:20

HereThere I'm not sure that would be a huge problem, because many women don't want two DC close together and even those who do will only be on maternity leave for quite a small portion of their working life.

If you think about it, lots of women who have DC1 and intend to have more actively don't want another one straight away. Some have medical reasons for leaving a gap, some want to get their career back on track, some take a long time to feel physically recovered, some want to get all the baby weight off before TTC again, some want to move to a bigger house or different area first, some just want to enjoy DC1 for a while before thinking of anymore. Obviously more and more women are having DC1 in their mid 30s or above, but the majority aren't. Average age now is about 30ish, so a substantial number of women can take their time over having another if they want to. And even if all the women who want two close together did so, it'd still only be a small portion of their working lives. One might expect a working life of perhaps 45 years, so 18-24 months is not a large percentage of this. It would only be a problem if every woman who wanted to do it did it at the same time!

HillBilly76 Sat 02-Mar-13 11:14:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

AlwaysBizzy Sat 02-Mar-13 11:29:00

I think this person is taking a gamble.
I hope they have assumed that after they have had their second child they dont want to return to work, or at least if they do, they dont want to return part time.
I've seen a couple of women make the move described above, then after #2 they ask for part time & are surprised when it's refused.
Employers are human, and will normally play by the rules. They can also enforce the rules and part time working is not a right.

Pigsmummy Sat 02-Mar-13 12:03:01

Hillbilly this isn't "abuse" of the maternity system though is it?

HillBilly76 Sat 02-Mar-13 12:08:36

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MrsDeVere Sat 02-Mar-13 12:14:39

I think we should stop employing married women full stop.
Unless they have the permission of their husbands to continue working and he gives a guarantee that there will be no 'issue' until an appropriate time.

Of course once the woman becomes a mother she should stop working and get down to her real purpose, thus freeing up her job for someone who really needs it.

A man or a spinster for example.

Really, all this women's lib nonsense has gone too far.

I am absolutely sure that the NHS, local Government, the service industries etc could manage perfectly well without all these silly, fecund women cluttering up the place.

lovetomoan Sat 02-Mar-13 13:01:42

YDNBU. How dare that woman not to have an abortion when she is obviously ruining her employer? hmm [sarcasm smile]

AnaisB Sat 02-Mar-13 13:08:48

hilllbilly what do you mean "abuse of the spirit of the system." What is the "spirit" of the maternity leave system - I think we understand it differently.

Growlithe Sat 02-Mar-13 13:11:45

Where will it end? They'll all be asking for flexible working conditions next.

Cabrinha Sat 02-Mar-13 13:30:06

But, but... these companies NEED us to have children!

We can all stop having kids, there'll be no maternity leave costs to pay. And in about 80 years time, no consumers. And declining numbers until then.

To continue as a society, we need children. As a society, we need to find a way for some people to provide those children. That includes maternity leave.

As it happens, one child here, no back to back leave. But if I had? I will work and pay tax from 16-67. Yes - 67! Potentially FIFTY YEARS. And it really matters if I have 2 years on mat leave? Really?

toobreathless Sat 02-Mar-13 13:54:06

Not everybody has the luxury of time.

On the one hand women are being told that they are 'leaving it too late' and that their fertility declines after 35. On the other hand the OP and other people think that they should wait to try for a second.

So if you meet the right partner at say 36, marry at 38, have DC1 at 39 then you should wait until 41? 42? And accept the risks associated with increased maternal age.

Yes it might present a real difficultly to some employers but they need to STOP think of the bigger picture and work with the women and their other staff to find appropriate solutions while the women is away.

Oh and no personal conflict of interest here, I had my first at 26, and am 35 weeks pregnant with my second at 29.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 02-Mar-13 16:14:13

Someone earlier made a comment about why is this just a "women's issue" and how can that be changed?

I agree it shouldn't be and think that until it is as normal (or at least as acceptable) for a man to take a substantial amount of time off to look after children at a very young age as it is for women, we will never have proper equality in the workplace or more generallyin society. There are some proposals at the moment I think to make it possible for couples to have more than two weeks off together with a baby, and also to enable more flexible sharing of the year's stat leave. If this comes in and people actually start to use it I think it could eventually make our society a much more equal and ultimately more productive place.

Disclaimer - I realise I am talking about quite abstract stuff here so please do not bash because I appear to be ignoring a) breastfeeding which only a woman can do b) the fact that some people can't afford two weeks of two lots of stat pay c) the impact on businesses especially small ones d) any combination of the above or related issues. I am aware of all these, it is just that I wholeheartedly believe that it is best socially and economically to provide much more flexibility for parents in general (not just women) than currently exists. Fuller participation in the workforce has repeatedly been found to be of economic value at both micro and macro level.

FWIW I will be going on mat leave with Dc2 in early May having been back for nearly three years, following 10 months off with DC1 who was ebf and I am the major earner in our family.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Sat 02-Mar-13 16:16:14

Sorry in b) that should read two weeks (let alone more) of two lots of stat pay...

ceramicunicorn Sat 02-Mar-13 21:24:01

I still don't see the difference between having two kids close together or having a larger gap.

I work full time. I have worked for the same employer for a fair amount of time. I will take two lots of maternity pay in my working life. After whuch I will return to work full time. How the hell does the fact my dc's are being born 15 months apart make me immoral?

Growlithe Sat 02-Mar-13 21:51:19

This thread makes me so angry actually. Could I not expect everyone on this site to support the need for maternity leave?

It's not benefits. It's working people having children and being able to draw on their NI contributions in order to support this.

You cannot 'abuse' maternity leave. You work, you have a baby, you get mat leave. That mat leave of course accrues benefits as if you were in work. If it didn't that would be sexual discrimination.

Some of the comments on this thread seem to support sexual discrimination.

How odd. confused

ceramicunicorn Sat 02-Mar-13 22:27:36

Fully agree with growlithe.

This thread has made me feel really angry and upset that other women on this site feel that taking maternity leave is taking advantage of employers.

MrsDeVere Sat 02-Mar-13 22:53:47

Well the problem we are having now is a generation of women who are a little too far removed from the recent past.

In other words a.bit.spoilt.

They take for granted what some of us remember as hard won.

So they like to sit and kvetch about women 'taking advantage' of maternity leave and such.

But not to worry. Give this government a few more years and all this pc gone mad maternity leave, benefits, childcare, right to vote etc will be gone and there will be no need for anyone to moan about these selfish women anymore.

ChairmanWow Sat 02-Mar-13 23:07:12

^ This.

I hate this bitching about other women's choices. I wonder what the OP and those who agree would have as an alternative. Perhaps some of you could post your ideas on how you would stop this so-called abuse.

Think about what life was like for families before we had these hard-won rights. And stop being so Katie Hopkins about the whole thing.


FamiliesShareGerms Sun 03-Mar-13 12:12:58

I think it's possible to believe that doing this is not an abuse of the maternity leave system whilst also realising the negative impact that this has on a business (particularly a small business, but large ones can also have difficult HR processes to negotiate in order to get maternity leave cover agreed and in place).

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 12:28:58

YANBU, it's not the maternity pay. It's the disruption to the business particularly if the person is in a client facing role. In my line of work this would place our clients at risk and would be totally unfair on the business and the rest of the team. There needs to be consistency in relationships and it's not as easy as just replacing the person on maternity with someone else. Don't mean to sound judgemental but if someone is trying so quickly after going back maybe they should consider how their colleagues and business feel. Let's face it, people will be thinking "you are taking the mick and using the business". I certainly would consider the impact on the business and the wider team.

jellybeans Sun 03-Mar-13 12:49:41

YABU. If mothers are to carry on working this is the way it has to be. They SHOULD be allowed time off with baby (I think 12-18 months would be a good minimum time for those who want it) and to have as many children as they like.

Bogeyface Sun 03-Mar-13 13:13:53

I think it does take the piss and is the reason why many women of a certain age struggle to get taken seriously in their careers.

Every woman that takes the piss with ML and pay makes the rest of us look bad.

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 13:18:04

What would be not taking the piss Bogey - leaving 6 months between MLs, 1 year, 4 years? Only taking 1 ML with each company you work for?

ceramicunicorn Sun 03-Mar-13 13:21:31

Bogeyface how exactly is taking two lots of maternity leave close together taking the piss anymore than taking two lots of maternity leave with a longer gap?

There's the same problem with employers finding cover, timing has nothing to do with it.

I'm still struggling to believe there are so many people out there that think women are taking liberties by daring to claim maternity pay.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 13:34:59

Bogey face, I totally agree with you. In my company the client manager/director is essential to retaining the business. If there is constant change, inconsistency and disruption this does have a huge impact on clients and has resulted in our company been sacked. Nothing wrong with trying quickly between DCs but be honest with the business from the off so they can manage the situation.

I'm doing this, so thanks for that op. I told my enployer at 7 weeks and offered to do a different role so they could keep my mat cover on. they declined. so I'll be returning this week at 12 weeks. its just as inconvenient as if I went off at Xmas or whatever.

my just finished mat leave counts as continuous service so I don't need to return at all technically.

my maternity enhancement is negligible so is mainly paid by the gov. however as I've accrued so much annual leave ilk be paid full time but be 2 days a week. that's the great bit for me.

but funnily enough that's not why I'm spacing my family like this

ChairmanWow Sun 03-Mar-13 13:50:57

littlechickpea it is illegal for the company to ask you any questions relating to your intention to have kids or otherwise and therefore not incumbent on women to tell their employer voluntarily. Presumably you would want women to do this do they give their employer an opportunity to discriminate against them - also illegal.

Can you all please RTFT. Stat mat costs are completely recoverable. Enhancements would be payable whenwver the wonan chooses to take her leave. It is my understanding that some additional recruitment costs are recoverable too but I may be corrected on this. Small businesses rarely pay enhancements so this claim that they are disproportionately affected is complete nonsense.

The difference between coming back pregnant or taking mat leave a year or two later is negligible in terms of impact on a company. In fact as one PP pointed out it can be easier in some circumstances where the gap is smaller because the person who last covered the leave is more likely to still be available and up to date with the role.

Women arguing in favour of sex discrimination. It really beggars belief.

Bogeyface Sun 03-Mar-13 13:52:24

You dont think its wrong that someone can work for just 6 months and then get 18 paid months off and a further 6 months unpaid which the company has to subsidise, at the end of which they may not even return to work?

I am afraid that the "I'm alright Jack" attitude is incredibly short sighted when you think of the ramifications on the company. Like LittleChickpea said, it could end up with the company losing business and people being made redundant. It is never as simple as "They can afford it".

Goal Sun 03-Mar-13 13:53:43

IMO there should be no such thing as mat pay and mat leave. Would certainly lead to a more flexible work market. Work and get paid or don't work and don't get paid, fairly simple equation really.

PseudoBadger Sun 03-Mar-13 13:54:34


MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 13:55:22

OK, so how long should you have to return for between leaves Bogey?

Bogeyface Sun 03-Mar-13 13:57:47

Presumably you would want women to do this do they give their employer an opportunity to discriminate against them where did you get that from? She said that if the women were honest then the situation could be planned for long term and make it a better outcome for all concerned, instead of having to reactive all the time.

And I suggest YOU RTFT. As has been pointed out above, holiday pay, private health insurance, company cars etc are not recoverable and all (if they had been in place before the ML) are legally required to continue during the leave. That would cost a company thousands and thousands of pounds on top of what they are having to pay the replacement.

The difference between coming back pregnant or taking mat leave a year or two later is negligible in terms of impact on a company. And your evidence for this is what? In the last company I worked for ML had a huge impact because it was a small and specialised company and if one of the tech team went on ML they were nigh on impossible to replace on a temp basis.

Bogeyface Sun 03-Mar-13 13:58:46

I think that the same requirement that is in place for the first ML should be in place for all of them. So roughly 6 months before qualifying for paid leave.

ceramicunicorn Sun 03-Mar-13 14:02:51

If companies choose to offer extras such as company car, health insurance etc then that's a big bonus. Also one that they surely know they'll have to cover duribg ML.

Bogeyface can you please just explain how the timing of women taking ML upsets you? All objections seem to be about ML in general.

andubelievedthat Sun 03-Mar-13 14:03:51

And the govt. pays for any other female who happened to have 11 kids, an old nag, and be housed by the council, but look at that "sense of entitlement _not", best to be working to be screwing the state eh? least ways ,then its legit?

MajaBiene Sun 03-Mar-13 14:04:21

The requirement for the first ML is just that you must be employed the week before becoming pregnant. So basically what you are saying is you don't agree with coming back 3 months pregnant and working up to the due date, but coming back and getting pregnant a week later then taking ML from 6 months would be fine?

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 14:07:58

ChairmanWow I never said anything about the business asking questions. I said the woman needs to be open and honest with the business about their intentions and work with the business so the business can manage the situation and protect their clients (in our case). This has nothing to do with ML pay for me. This is about balancing the rights of the woman and what's in the best interests of the business. Bogyface is right if we lose clients we have no choice but to make people redundant. People need to consider that! BTW, I work for a global organisation. I feel sorry for smaller business because they have even less in terms of resource.

To be completely honest in our organisation it is much more damaging to the business for someone in a client facing role to have two close ML leaves than two with a 12 / 18 month gap. People may not like that but it's the reality of the situation.

Growlithe Sun 03-Mar-13 14:15:32

LittleChickpea I wouldn't want to do business with a global organisation that can leave clients exposed because it cannot deal with a member of staff going on maternity leave. That organisation is taking massive risks to be working in that way.

Teapot13 Sun 03-Mar-13 14:27:17

Then petition to get the law changed -- don't criticise women who are just exercising their legal/contractual rights.

The law is the way it is so that people will have children and women will be in the workforce -- this is a public policy position that the government has taken. You are thinking of the benefit to individual women, which is only part of the issue.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 14:28:26

Growlithe this is not about us not dealing with maternity. This is about the impact on the relationship between the business and our clients. We need consistancy and our clients expect consistancy. Again reality is clients don't care if someone is on maternity or not. They want continued consistancy. They pay Alt of money in fees for the service and advice and swapping and changing the lead on their account is unacceptable. It's not as simple as bringing someone in that can take over. It's getting to understand the business, their global structure, the global operations, legality and regulation in each of their global territories. The contacts, understanding the programme in place and markets. That's just the start of it! Ontop of it each client is totally different and most client managers/directors will have anything between 20/50 clients. For us to replace a client manager/director is not that easy. If there is no suitable internal applications recruiting externally is not easy. Most of the good people will be on 6 month notice periods. And do you think they will take a job where someone will be returning from ML.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 14:39:21

A small example, one of the things we use to attack other businesses in our sector is client managers / directors moving jobs, going on ML etc. because we know it causes disruption. So a client manager / director having two close MLs is a dream. And it's a small world in our sector so everyone knows what's happening in our market. So you may appreciate why this is so high on the agenda in our business.

Growlithe Sun 03-Mar-13 14:53:40

LittleChickpea there are more problems with working that way than mat leave. Surely working with that little flexibility leaves the client and the business greatly exposed by being reliant on one employee. The employee does at least usually give good notice of mat leave. What about sickness or accidents?

Also, structuring workload in that way can be detrimental on hopes of career advancement. If you are so indispensable within a role, how can you have opportunity to move on?

Succession planning is surely crucial to any business.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 15:08:02

Growlithe Our structure works well and we have the largest client base in our sector globally. Companies work with us because they know we structure our company/processes/employees to suit the clients needs. The client manager / director is the lead on the account. This is a vital role! There are others on the team but the managers / directors are key to all relationships. There are plenty of opportunity for progression but you need specific skills, qualities and experience to get a job in client management. These are difficult roles to fill. Not everyone wants to move into these positions because they are high pressure roles. And unfortunately the majority of client managers / directors in our sector are men which I believe is very much to do with the fact businesses don't want to take a risk on woman of a child bearing age. Incan assure you no one will ever admit to that because of the employment laws. The only way we will be ale to change this is by taking into consideration the needs of the business when we make choices as women. The impact our choices have on the business and speak to the business to manag these. I want more women in my world but it won't happen if we simply think industry will be ok with us going off without considering the business needs. I know people may not like what I am saying but i am been totally open and honest about the reality if the situation.

FarBetterNow Sun 03-Mar-13 15:08:23

I'm siding with 'Andubelievedthat' on this one.
ML is a State Welfare Benefit, the same way that HB is and being other Social Welfare payments.
It is quite amusing that women who are on ML several times over have a sense of entitlement, the same sense of entitlement as the woman with 11 children who is having a house built for her (by the state).
ML isn't means tested either, so families earning £200k plus receive it.

luanmahi Sun 03-Mar-13 15:13:30

I find this thread astonishing. Nobody is irreplaceable and you're naive if you think you are. In my job I like to think I have good relationships with the people I deal with however the truth is, the company's not going to grind to a halt if I discover I'm pregnant again just before I go back to work. I appreciate that for small companies it is more difficult than for large ones but if maternity and paternity rights were more equally shared it would share the burden around much more fairly.

Business is important for the economy but children are important for the whole country otherwise the country wouldn't exist.

Goal Sun 03-Mar-13 15:17:40

There is no relationship between maternity pay and people having children. People have children out of a personal desire, not for the benefit f society. You could stop all maternity benefits tomorrow and people would continue to have children. There is not such thing as mayernity pay for the majority of the worlds population, doesn't stop them reproducing !

Growlithe Sun 03-Mar-13 15:21:11

LittleChickpea I can't see there being a queue of women eager to enter such a sexist world which is obviously bordering on illegal in its lack of opportunities for them. Good luck with your career.

Sianilaa Sun 03-Mar-13 15:23:27

Biologically, someone has to have babies. That happens to be women. And I'd argue in the majority of cases, there is a man involved who is more than likely also working and therefore not "screwing the govt" by taking a mat leave to raise a child and recover from giving birth.

To suggest we evil pregnant women are out to screw companies and governments over by having babies and actually looking after them for a few months out of a probable 50 year working life is astounding.

Perhaps all working women should be sterilised? Oh and we can't have them scrounging off the state by claiming benefits either, so maybe women on benefits should be sterilised too. Only women with wealthy husbands are allowed to have kids because they can afford to stay at home and not accept any financial help from anyone, whether they are legally entitled to it or not.

It's sexism and discrimination whichever way you look at it.

What's your view on paternity leave then?

MrsSpencerReid Sun 03-Mar-13 15:29:03

My maternity leave ends in 3 weeks, guess its a good job I miscarried this week otherwise I would be going back pregnant

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 15:31:09

Growlithe there are women in my world (just not the pecentage i wish werenhere) and it's not sexist. It's not bordering on illegal, we just put client needs first. I have been fortunate to have a great career and love what I do. I am a mum to be and the business is aware. But this is my choice, and I fully intend to go back after 6 weeks. People may disapprove and judge me for that but I knew when I took on down my career path what the consequences were. I made that choice and I have a responsibility for my choice. If I decide that I want another child then I will need to consider alternative options because it would be unfair on the business that has given me so much over the years. Again reality....

luanmahi I am astounded at the feelings of entitlement too.

greenfolder Sun 03-Mar-13 15:31:14

i worked for a company with 400 staff- the majority of whom where of childbearing age (men and women 25-40 ish). we had a real churn of maternity and paternity leave. i often had female employees embarrassed about coming back from ml pregnant. my view was that if they wanted 2 children close together, that was their business and it made a lot of sense in many ways. it made no difference in that their entitlement was the same (we offered no enhancement). almost all of them came back after ml no 2 and stayed long term.

edam Sun 03-Mar-13 15:35:54

Women can't win. Go back to work pregnant and you are an evil drain on resources. Give up work and you are a lazy mare who is either a drain on the state or wasting your qualifications.

This country is actually facing a major problem with an ageing population. We need people to have babies. What's more all those companies who are pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by maternity leave depend on having a workforce, customers and suppliers - and guess where those people come from?

Maternity leave also creates job and training opportunities for other employees; a jolly good thing when we have high unemployment.

But hey, if people are determined to begrudge others, they won't care about the facts...

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 15:40:48

Sorry luanmahi I meant FarBetterNow

FarBetterNow Sun 03-Mar-13 16:00:26

I'm not begrudging any woman taking ML, but find it amusing that some of the same women may begrudge other less fortunate, who haven't got a job, their welfare benefits.
90% of a high income for six weeks, is an incredible benefit not to be means tested, in these days of austerity.
It is interesting that the government has not chosen (yet) to reduce MP, but have reduced many other benefits to the disabled.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 03-Mar-13 16:02:07

I went on adoption leave about two months after starting a new role. I had warned my prospective boss that we were looking to adopt, that if it happened it would all move quickly, and that we had no idea of timescales. He said he'd take the risk, as he really wanted me. Even though I had warned him, I felt completely shit when I gave him about ten days notice that I was going to be off work for a year. I'm not completely irreplaceable, but I do have a particular set of skills which meant that I was by far the best person for the job. I did feel that I was letting work down.

Adoption is different in that at least with pregnancy there is a few months notice, but similar in that it happens when it happens and there's not always much scope to plan.

I shrugged my shoulders and figured that no one would thank me for not adopting DD, and there was every reason to do so. But I was also acutely aware that I had put my boss in a really difficult position - and also giving managers who are so minded an excuse not to hire women of childbearing age.

Of course when men start taking longer off to share a period of parental leave, it will matter less when women take repeated periods of maternity leave, or go on leave at short notice. But until then I don't see what is wrong with acknowledging that sometimes exercising our statutory rights to maternity / adoption leave can be a PITA for the companies that employ us.

Sianilaa Sun 03-Mar-13 16:14:30

Yes absolutely, what a shocking sense of entitlement women have to expect not to be disadvantaged in the work place due to their gender and owning a uterus.

It's not really even about the money, but having your job held open for you.

What a depressing thread.

ChairmanWow Sun 03-Mar-13 17:28:44

Isn't it just. Feminism v capitalism all the way. Companies deserve to have rights more than women. God forbid that an employer should be inconvenienced. Much better to discriminate against women, or just erode our rights.

Any company that can't cope with its employees taking maternity leave when the statutory element is fully claimable is badly run, and anyone who thinks they are completely irreplaceable is arrogant.

I have to build up relationships with a number of different organisations and engage in complex negotiations which can run into months or even years. I've just gone on mat leave and just found out who my replacement is. She's excellent and is the person I would have chosen. She'll do at least as good a job as I did and the other parties I was dealing with wiil just get on with it. I received nothing but goodwill from the partners we dealt with prior to my leave. Some people seem to have come out of the dark ages, I guess.

aamia Sun 03-Mar-13 17:40:02

I think this is a situation generated by the ability to have a year off. I could only afford four months off. Consequently, although I would like to start trying for my second DC a year after the first was born, I will have been back at work for 8-9 months at that point.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 03-Mar-13 17:49:28

But for a lot of companies it's not just about the money, it's about being able to do proper succession planning so that they aren't left with gaps in their work force that expose them to risk; or about being able to allocate work fairly so that one area isn't overburdened while another is underused.

I work in the public sector, so not exactly a huge part of the capitalist machine. I have about ten people in my team at the moment. I know that one has moved heaven and earth to get pregnant, and I am thrilled for her that she is going to be a parent after so long trying. But the harsh fact is that I will be carrying a gap in my team because I almost certainly won't be able to get someone in to cover. That has an impact on everyone in the team - very few organisations are set up so that they can manage a 10% drop in staff without an impact on delivery.

I'll repeat my previous point that it's possible to believe in maternity / adoption leave and also recognise the impact that has on the employing organisation.

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 17:52:09

MrsSpencerReid, sorry to hear that.
People seem to forget that not everyone can confidently plan their pregnancies so as to least inconvenience work.

Can't believe OP thinks this situation is immoral.

I found myself in this situation. Towards the end of maternity leave with DD1 I gave my employer a months notice that I was coming back to work - we desperately needed me to be working again as DH's work was going through a lean patch. I unexpectedly fell pregnant 2 weeks later, and went back to work 4 weeks pregnant.

I made the decision to tell my boss straight away as I felt really bad about it. I didn't have to tell him but I thought it would help them with their planning. I went back when DD1 was 11 months old in August. I decided to take my maternity leave as soon as I could and add my annual leave on before it as well, so I left at the end of January. I was made to feel awful by other members if staff and it was horrible. I'm so glad i left as soon as I could as it became really stressful.

But you know what - I didn't break the law, I followed all policies to the letter and was made to feel bad about an unplanned pregnancy. It really soured the whole time for me. hmm

expatinscotland Sun 03-Mar-13 17:58:50

It's part of the reason women of childbearing age face discrimination in hiring practices.

higgle Sun 03-Mar-13 18:01:23

I think women who have children should only be allowed 3 months off.

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 18:19:51

Would make exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months (almost) impossible though wouldn't it?

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 18:21:20

(As in, the government can't really continue to support idea of 6 months ebf and yet make ML 3 months).

MrsSpencerReid Sun 03-Mar-13 18:23:41

Thanks fierce smile mat leave isn't covered where I work so people pick up extra shifts, I know I was glad of the chance of extra money when others were off and I know people were wanting extras when I went off to pay for weddings etc, I'm not going to be made to feel bad about my decision to have children or about what may be a sort gap in between, work is going to get many more years out of me yet!

expatinscotland Sun 03-Mar-13 18:26:09

I think you'll see more and more employers putting clauses into contracts to avoid this situation. Personally, I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way and mat leaves are far too long.

ChairmanWow Sun 03-Mar-13 19:06:55

I think you'll find that such clauses would breach the Equality Duty.

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 19:27:07

Alwaystimeforwine - unexpectedly fell pregnant. What does this mean were you ttc or taking precautions. I agree that mat leaves have become too long and you should have to work for a set amount of time before you qualify for a second or third period, this should actually be work and not using accrued annual leave.

AScorpionPitForMimes Sun 03-Mar-13 19:28:42

I do think mat leave in the UK is very, very long now - I had 6 weeks at 90% and 12 weeks at half pay (NHS, so better than basic terms) and I couldn't afford to take more than 26 weeks off in total - it was long enough for me.

However, I can see that might not work for everyone - mine were on solid food before 6 months though still bf - I expressed at work. I think that the government needs to look at offering tax breaks to companies who are family friendly - not just in terms of mat leave, but also in respect of flexible working, leave for fathers, carer policies etc. You have to make it worthwhile before you can change culture.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 19:34:18

I think industry tries its utmost to support women with ML. But in some cases people do / are playing the system. It's interesting to read how few people actually look at this from the employers prospective. It seems to be all about the woman's rights. What about the rights of the business and their expectation for a return on the investment they put into their employees? They don't just employ people for the love of it, it's so they can grow, increase revenue and protect shareholder value. Now i am not saying woman should not have children / take marternity but I do think they need to be honest about their intentions so the business can better manage the situation.

Ciske Sun 03-Mar-13 19:39:30

Women can't win: take only a little maternity leave and you're a cruel cold businesswoman neglecting her offspring. Take a lot of maternity leave and you're sponging off your boss, the state, your husband etc. Quit your job, and you're wasting your education and setting feminism back by a century.

My view is to take the leave you're legally entitled to. After all, we'll spend the rest of our working lives making sure other women after us can have the same leave, and facilitating the increasing paternity leave rights on top of it all. I don't begrudge anyone their mat or pat leave, just as I don't begrudge anyone that annual leave or their sick leave. We're all contributing to these rights so we're all allowed to take them.

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 19:43:47

LittleChickpea - spot on with rights come responsibilities
Ciske - it's not about taking all you are entitled to it's about playing the system that will prevent the next generation of Mums from getting a job in the first place

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 19:51:12

Maybe the baby wasn't planned? Even if it was though, what's the problem?

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 19:52:51

Or she might have wanted children close together? She managed to secure the job based on her skills and is therefore fully entitled to start her family whilst at work.

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:02:39

Mylittlespuds - just wondering how do you unexpectedly fall pregnant, are they not either planned or not

luanmahi Sun 03-Mar-13 20:03:46

Ciske this is absolutely right. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I think there is no more important job than giving your children a good start in life. You have the rest of your life to "pay back" what you've taken while on mat leave. I just can't get my head around the idea that you've got to make sure your company is OK before you make the decision to start a family. Your company won't take your personal circumstances into consideration if it needs to make redundancies for example or restructure your department and change your job description. And really that's right because it could lead to certain individuals being favoured over others for reasons that have nothing to do with how good they are at their jobs.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 20:10:23

I really think that the number of parents "playing the system" by having consecutive maternity/paternity leaves is about equal to those "benefit scroungers" with jacuzzis and Sky TV - there might be a few, but we shouldn't build a policy on them.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 20:12:46


I did. I was relying on, erm, natural family planning blush.

Had a 15 month old at the time. Had sex once. Once! Used the 'method' we'd used for years (until we decided we wanted DS).

Started a thread on here in fact when period was late, asking if 'natural family planning' was reliable...turns out no, no it isn't!!

Believe it or not I am an educated - sensible - woman but honestly this baby wasn't planned. We're thrilled, but it honestly was a surprise. So it's not always cut and dry. And proper contraception does often fail - a friend got pregnant on pill AND coil.

Luckily work was fine. I have been there donkeys and plan to go back after mat leave as love my job.

Ciske Sun 03-Mar-13 20:18:25

2048 - I'm not sure how you can play the system on this. You're either pregnant and entitled to maternity leave or you're not. I don't see any moral issues here, it's a right women (and men) have acquired and that we jointly contribute to.

As to planning your family around the needs of the business, if only nature was that simple...

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 20:25:37

I am on ML, taking the full year. No-one else I know is doing this, thinking of women who are friends/neighbours/colleagues - they have all taken less than a year.

expatinscotland Sun 03-Mar-13 20:27:39

'I am on ML, taking the full year. No-one else I know is doing this, thinking of women who are friends/neighbours/colleagues - they have all taken less than a year.'

Because they can't afford it!

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 20:37:10

Example of playing the system. Going on ML (arguments sake we say 12 months per leave), knowingly ttc DC2 whilst on ML, going back to work 3/4 months pregnant, then leaving business again after a few months on ML.... And so forth!

Someone could be out of the business 2 or more years and work less than a year. It's so disruptive and makes it difficult particularly in the current climate when businesses are running really lean staffing levels.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 20:39:44

How is it 'playing the system'? If they're entitled to it they're entitled to it.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 20:48:35

Well they are knowingly planning not to be in the work place for long. Not saying its wrong but if that's their plan then they should communicate this to the business before coming back so the business can cater for it. No point in us telling clients their relationship manager/ director is coming back only to tell them a short period after they re back that they will be off again. It's disruptive and can be extremely damaging.

I don't understand why some people do not want to have open and honest dialogue with their employers about this. Honest, open communication always results in gaining respect and trust with the employer.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 20:56:19

So tell your employer you're planning to have another baby?! That would just be weird! My boss would have been very confused, not to mention embarrassed, should a female collegue have kept him informed on her and her partner's family planning!

ceramicunicorn Sun 03-Mar-13 20:58:35

Ha! Can just imagine the conversation -'hi boss I know I've selfishly been on maternity leave for the last 6 months but planning to have unprotected sex with my husband tonight. Just wanted to let you know about my immorality. Don't worry though, I've had multiple miscarriages and had two attempts at ivf before I carried my ds to full term so you don't need to start bitching about me playing the system just yet.'

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:00:27

Why is it wired? Why would he be embarrassed? We would certainly appreciate and respect that level of honesty and thought. It would help us plan ahead for the employee and our clients. It's simply having a grown up conversation.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:02:43

BTW, I had a similarvconversation about this pregnancy with my boss...

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:03:55

Mylittlepuds and cera...
You just need to work, maybe 12 months before you're 'entitled' to more mat leave. As with anything there are responsibilities attached to rights. It will become more difficult for women of childbearing ages to get jobs with the current perception on mat leave

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:05:32

2048, you couldn't have said it better..

ceramicunicorn Sun 03-Mar-13 21:08:26

Ermm no I'm entitled to get pregnant whenever I want. It makes no difference when I do it. As shocking as it may be notevery woman can choose to have a successful pregnancy at the drop of a hat. I'm hoping and praying this pregnancy goes to plan even if some people clearly aren't as they think I'm playing the system.

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:10:33

You are entitled to get pregnant whenever you want, the debate here is the entitlement to mat leave.

Bogeyface Sun 03-Mar-13 21:11:30

One of the reasons that women of childbearing age are discriminated against is because of assumptions made by employers based on the very fact that we are debating. If there was more honest and open communication in all businesses about this then I suspect there would be less discrimination, not more. Sadly, nothing will stop the dyed in the wool bastards who will sack a woman for having the temerity to get pg, but a lot of bosses would appreciate the ability to forward plan and would therefore be less likely to think twice about employing a thirty year old (say) with no children.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:15:36

cera this isn't a personal attack on you or your circumstances. This is a debate about womens rights on ML vs the rights of the business to continue with their business objectives. Please do not think we are personally attacking you.

As with any pregnant woman we all wish each other a heathy and safe pregnancy.

People will judge me because I already have plans to be back at work after six weeks.

ceramicunicorn Sun 03-Mar-13 21:15:36

2048 sorry I've clearly misunderstood the whole thread then. The op is complaining that a woman had the temerity to come back from maternity leave already pregnant. I will be returning to work in a couple of months already pregnant. I've worked for the same comp for 7 years and will return after the birth of my second dc full time. I just really can't see the problem with that.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:17:05

BogeyFace, totally...

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 21:18:31

littlechick your suggestion about telling your employer you are about to try for a child is insane.

I've been trying since April last year and only managed 3 early mc. I managed to work through all but 1 of them with no time off.

For an unfortunate number of women ttc doesn't go smoothly and the idea of opening up to work about ttc would be agonising for a lot of women.

2048 what if a woman plans her pregnancy beautifully to fit in with your 12 months rule and then goes into labour 2 months early.

I do kind of see where you are coming from if a women gets pregnant over and over again with a very small gap. Can't see it happening in the private sector statutory mat leave is a pittance, if I tried it I'd be completely broke.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 21:19:17

Bogey, how do you provide employment protection for a would be parent who has disclosed their TTC intentions?

Little, I understand what your view is, I think the number of people who do it knowingly rather than eg forget contraception in bleary newborn haze, think it took medical intervention or nine months of trying for their first so will take a few months... and are therefore surprised themselves is really pretty low.

2048 Sun 03-Mar-13 21:20:48

You just dont see this, you are in the midst of x months of mat leave and you have already planned the next x months. I think there should be a requirement for a period of work between them. This is where the perception of playing the system comes from

expatinscotland Sun 03-Mar-13 21:25:58

'It will become more difficult for women of childbearing ages to get jobs with the current perception on mat leave '

It already is.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 21:36:30

Hang on...I'm sure my entitlement would have been less shoud I have gone back to work after DS pregnant with DC2. I think it's only because I've had nine months back there (whilst pregnant) that I'm entitled to the whole enhanced package again. Employers can set any rules with regard to enhanced packages as all they really 'need' to do is offer statutory. And even then I think there's a qualifying period.

Is there not also a case for 'getting it out of the way'? Having children close together could mean you're off for two/three/whatever consecutive stretches but when you return you return and 'mean business'? Just playing devil's advocate...

luanmahi Sun 03-Mar-13 21:46:10

I think people are forgetting that it is actually illegal for an employer to actively discriminate against a woman on the grounds that they think she might be off on maternity leave.

2048 - sorry for delay replying - dinner and all that.

We weren't ttc but it's a complicated tale! I fell PG by accident (idiotically) when DD1 was 3 months old. I was breast feeding and had sex once. hmm I had a termination which I hated. While we we waiting for my body to settle back down we were using condoms and it broke, so I took the morning after pill. It didn't work hmm. I didn't want another termination so I went back to work pregnant. 2 years after having DD2 we were using natural family planning and I miscalculated my days, still it was 6 days before ovulation, so I took the morning after pull to be sure. Again it didn't work and we ended up with DD3. Since she was born I've had another termination and one miscarriage. One while having the coil. So as you can tell - we are an extremely fertile couple and that brings pregnancy not as planned, and at times inconvenient to us and to our careers!

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 21:50:26

mylittlepudS, that could work for some businesses but its really difficult for our business in the client facing role. The problem for us is if someone is out of the business on and off for two, three years, it puts their book of business at risk. They have total responsibility for that book and the teams working with them. The knew that when they signed their contract and they fully understood the consequences if they don't retain it. If the business knows they can manage that. Its better than interupted relationships were the employee starts lossing clients and eventually that only leads down one road. This can be really stressful for the person involved and the business. No one wants that and businesses want to retain talent which helps them grow.

LineRunner Sun 03-Mar-13 21:54:02

Well, there's the hard fought for law on the one hand - you know, the changes that were fought for so that female teachers for example wouldn't be sacked the minute they got married on the presumption of impending maternity?

And then there's the strange smug ideological right-wing shit you sometimes get on MN disguised as 'common sense'.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 22:05:00

So does your business offer an enhanced package then LittleChickpea? If it does it is clearly supportive of women choosing to start a family. The business can decide to not offer the enhanced package to women who come back to work pregnant.

harverina Sun 03-Mar-13 22:06:35


Fair enough it might be a bit of a pain but family life has got to come first. You can't put your life on hold just on case you upset a few people in work.

I have a career that I have worked hard to achieve and there would be no way that I would be willing to give that up because it didn't fit in with other people's plans. Jeez people need to get perspective!

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 22:10:40

littlechick ok so in your line of work someone being off is problematic, it always is.

I don't really see how knowing that someone is ttc would help you manage that situation. The pregnant woman needs to let you know she is pregnant by week 25 (I think but could very easily be wrong) but typically you find out sooner than that. That gives you time to put measures in place to manage the workload.

Unless you plan to fire the poor woman who dares to ttc again I don't see how this ttc disclosure will help.

LineRunner Sun 03-Mar-13 22:11:07

No business has to offer an enhanced package. The State (ie the taxpayer) pays SMP.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:11:41

Our business will work with the woman and man (if they choose to stay at home long term rather than the woman) to ensure they get the support the need and we don't place business at risk. Sometime this may be moving into an equivalent role or some other solution (no pay cuts or demontions involved) but different responsibilities with a long term transition back into their original role if that's what they want. But to do this we need time and we need honest open communication with people. We have a high retention rate and very long term on employees. The worst thing that can happen to us is short notice communication.

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 22:13:34

Does it offer an enhanced mat leave package though?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 22:17:35


So you would consider 15 weeks short notice. To be fair I think you have a point about that. Typically though you have about 5/6 months to plan.

Is that enough time?

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:17:48

You get standard ML package. What's your point/query on that?

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 22:21:53

I think the point was that a family would very soon be bankrupt if they kept have a baby working a couple of months and then going off again.

Statutory mat leave isn't a lot of cash.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:22:20

WhenSheWasBad taking into account it's difficult to get the right people in our sector generally for these types of specific roles (near impossible on temp contracts) 5/6 mouths is challenging. So we find out, start recruiting/looking for a replacement, say takes a month maybe two, offer the job, security checks (maybe another month). The general notice period for these people is 6 months so they can't join us for six months following their resignation. it could be 8/9 months to find a suitable replacement.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:26:11

Oh then don't forget they then need to get into the business and start getting their head round the book of business this can take another 3 months... It's not easy..

mylittlepuds Sun 03-Mar-13 22:32:55

By standard maternity package you mean what the Gov pays? What line of work are you in?

My point is if your company offers an enhanced package then it clearly doesn't share your view.

Do you have children? What did you earn whilst on mat leave? The pay you get from the Government is around £120 a week.

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 22:37:29

Expat I'm not criticising people who take less than a year, my point was that the length of ML available to couples is not what is always actually taken, so it's not the norm for employers to lose staff for the full year.
As to whether others can afford it or not, well that all depends doesn't it - we continue living in our small flat, have friends who chose larger houses who therefore have to go back sooner to meet the mortgage - I consider myself lucky to have a good line of credit and a job to return to.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 22:37:42

Ok I get it that is tough. Your solution is still mad though. If I was employed by you I would have had to inform you in Jan 2012 that I was intending to start ttc again as soon as I got my period back (disappeared due to bf).

I only started ovulating again in April. Got pregnant but had an early mc. Got pregnant another 2 times but it was chemical pregnancy both times. Stopped trying at the end of the year as it was emotionally getting too much for me. Started trying in the new year and am only just pregnant again.

So from the employers point if view you would have been recruiting my replacement 22 months ahead of when they were actually required.
From my point of view the absolute worst time and most intimate time of my life would be common knowledge.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:39:48

MyLittlePuds, firstly it's a little bit off side to ask what my ML is/would be. That's no ones business. We are advisors working with national, multi national and global companies in every industry sector.

By standard I mean what the Gov pays.

I am pregnant and will be going back after six weeks, not because of the money but because I have responsibilities at work that I would find difficult to just leave. I will be getting the standard Gov ML. Again that's my choice.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:45:42

It is tough and I am not saying everyone should disclose chapter and verse. I am advocating open communication with employers. How can they be supportive if they are in the dark. I appreciate not all companies are like the one I work for and some are still stuck in 1920 but not everyone is like that.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 22:49:31

<how can they be supportive if they are in the dark?>

This isn't about your company supporting a woman who is ttc. Is so you can plan your portfolio management.

I don't think you appreciate how tough it can be for some women to conceive, it could take the poor woman years. Are you going to provide that woman the same employment protection as you would a pregnant woman for 2 years?

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 22:56:04

WhenSheWasBad, You are assuming that I don't understand how difficult ttc can be. You don't know that now do you?

And yes it is so we can protect our clients and manage the portfolio but it's also to ensure that the person has all options avalable to them and they make informed choices on what they want. Content And happy people make for a better working environment.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 23:00:54

No littlechick I don't know sorry. I was assuming you had not considered it much as it sounded like you would start recruiting as soon as some told you they were ttc.

Even in your business recruiting 2 years ahead of schedule seems a bit much.

The employment protection issue still stands. I am assuming it would be necessary to offer a ttc woman the same rights as a pregnant woman.

FayKnights Sun 03-Mar-13 23:01:42

I did this to my employer. We were TTC for 5 years, I then had 2 children in very quick succession. Perhaps not ideal for my employer at the time, but now my children are older I remain loyal and hardworking to the company for treating me so well when I needed it most.

harverina Sun 03-Mar-13 23:02:07

I don't think that there are many women playing the system as it has been put. I think most people are just trying to juggle being mums, partners and having a career and that's not easy. They have to make decisions that are best for their family. It would be very different if women were still having babies in their late teens and early twenties.

Someone mentioned that they are going back to work early as they have responsibilities. Not judging you but the biggest responsibility you will ever have in life is your children. My work is very important to me, I love my job, I take it very seriously and give a lot to my employer. I am a loyal member of staff. But at the end of the day, my dd and family life is number 1 priority over anything else.

harverina Sun 03-Mar-13 23:06:50

Sorry littlechickpea but you are beginning to sound like a company handbook!

It is no ones business if a women is ttc! It is far too intimate to be sharing with your employer and so sad that this is what people are thinking. We are talking about real live people here!

edam Sun 03-Mar-13 23:09:23

Littlechickpea, have you got any children, or is this your first?

foreverondiet Sun 03-Mar-13 23:19:02

Its a bit strong to say "its not on". And I would say its totally fine for someone who has been in a job for a while before the first maternity leave. I have twice got pregnant in the first year of employment of a new job. Not ideal but some women can't time these things to suit work.....

However some companies do end up paying 2 salaries, as they pay enhanced maternity pay (which can't be claimed from the government) and then the cost of hiring a temp.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 23:24:20

It's my first and I probably do sound like a hand book. But there aren't many people on here looking at it from the employers prospective and we need a balanced view.

I hear people talk about equal employment rights which I fully support. This is my personal view. With equal rights come employment responsibilities.

It was me that said I woul be going back after six weeks but I have responsibilities and have no intention of letting those go. To be fair of my close friends three went back after six/ten weeks and two became full time stay at home mums. Horses for courses.

Yfronts Sun 03-Mar-13 23:26:33

I think it's just life. Some women have kids 10 years apart, others have kids 10 months apart. In the long term it doesn't really matter which as the total maternity leave is the same.

FantasticMax Sun 03-Mar-13 23:28:10

* I'd feel guilty if I took two mat leaves in fairly quick succession, although I know logically the company has the same outlay each time*

Well then don't do it, but don't claim it's immoral for others to when it's clearly not so.

Just checking back in on this thread - nowhere did I 'claim' it was immoral, I just said I'd feel guilty about doing it. Don't put words in my mouth. hmm

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 03-Mar-13 23:30:21

littlechick I hope your child sleeps better than mine did. Otherwise you are so screwed smile.

Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy.

FierceBadIggi Sun 03-Mar-13 23:32:17

Littlechickpea you don't know what kind of delivery you will have (I wish you a very easy one). You don't know if your baby will have any health problems at all (again, I wish you the healthiest of children). After even a routine c-section you might struggle to return to some jobs within the 6 week time span you have in mind. Your post does sound rather one-sided, with no mention of the baby really at all!

edam Sun 03-Mar-13 23:33:22

Littlechick, I hope you have a very healthy rest of your pregnancy, a safe delivery and a healthy new baby. Some things in life are just more important than the next business objective or major new strategy.

Perhaps your views may change when you have some first-hand experience of childbirth and early parenthood.

Finally, companies and the economy need women to have babies in order to produce consumers and workers. Do you have any idea how much parents spend?!

harverina Sun 03-Mar-13 23:38:57

Yes of course we need a balanced view. However most women would not feel able to return to work after 6 weeks even if they wanted to - Breastfeeding (if that is how u choose to feed) is barely established, you are barely getting any sleep at all and are most likely feeling totally overwhelmed!

However this isn't what the thread is about.

Maybe women should just give up any dreams of having a family and a career! The reason that we have better maternity benefits is in recognition of the important role that women play in industry/business whilst also recognising that they need time with their babies.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 03-Mar-13 23:39:59

Thousands and thousands, edam


<empties fluff out of purse>

MrsJackAubrey Sun 03-Mar-13 23:53:35

I own and run a small business. It isn't the money that is the issue the govmt does pay SMP. It's replacing the staff member with a maternity cover that hurts. Someone who has to childmind big projects the woman was leading on, who needs inducting before they are at full speed, who is jittery because of the nature of the job, will the woman come back or not. Recruiting a mat cover is time consuming and expensive, about 1500 for any advert route inc. Internet ads. Time taken to interview, communicate with all candidates... It's a pain in the arse. I would be pretty pissed off with the situation described by the OP tbh.

LittleChickpea Sun 03-Mar-13 23:54:58

It's been an interesting discussion. It's good to have a forum where these emotive debates can take place.

mylittlepuds Mon 04-Mar-13 07:21:02

Little chickpea you have judged women for 'playing the system' - you will find that motherhood comes with lots of judgement...and although you say financial constraints mean you have to go back to work after six weeks it's something you will be judged on. "she could manage without" "what's more important" etc etc etc etc

Perhaps you'll find you're more tolerant once becoming a parent - now seeing just how hard it is I am certainly more open minded. Unbelievably so. I 'didn't believe' in people taking time off work for depression/stress before I had children. Funnily enough after suffering PND I do now.

Congrats on the baby - it's quite a journey this motherhood thing smile

LittleChickpea Mon 04-Mar-13 07:52:51

Thanks Littlepids. Certainly motherhood may change my attitude on business and career. It didn't hange my friends my friends but it may change me.

I didn't say I was going back because of financial restraints. I am going back because of work commitments. I am very fortunate to be in a position to be able to get child are and work. Not everyone is that fortunate.

My notes have been to try and get people to see this from the employers prospective. Even if it has made me rather unpopular wink

MrsJackAubrey I totally understand where you are coming from. This would be a very difficult situation from a small business to manage.

mylittlepuds Mon 04-Mar-13 08:26:26

Oh God I should imagine it will. Biggest change in my life - massive, massive.

mylittlepuds Mon 04-Mar-13 08:33:56

Have to say I also shared your view re. Back to back mat leave pre having a baby AND didn't 'believe in' surprise babies until it happened to me.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Mon 04-Mar-13 09:26:27

mrsjack it does sound very hard for a small business. One benefit a lot of businesses get is they pay women less. Pay gap is around 15%.

So overall even when you include your extra costs for covering mat leave the business still pays less for a woman than a man.

LessMissAbs Mon 04-Mar-13 12:04:43

YABU to imply that only unemployed or casually employed women should be encouraged to have children.

YABU because maternity cover provides an excellent way of getting work experience for less experienced employees than would have otherwise been possible.

YABU not to restrict your comments to smaller businesses with say less than 20 employees and to encourage more progressive employment law change.

YABU because plenty of employees get away withnot pulling their weight in the workplace for all sorts of reasons, and at least pregnancy and birth are legitimate ones.

I speak having just been contracted to cover the cover the work of a male employee whose wife had a baby in December and who is struggling to cope, but who is still drawing a full time salary.

timeforgin Mon 04-Mar-13 12:31:33

Oh LittleChickpea - please come back and read this thread when your baby is five weeks old, I would be really interested to know whether your thoughts have changed.

I work for a very large company in the city where I have been for almost ten years. They effectively give me the equivalent of 8 months paid maternity leave, and anything after that up until a year is unpaid. This is obviously incredibly generous - let me tell you that it is generous for a reason, they ask an awful lot of their senior employees.

I came back in September after one year of mat leave, and I will shortly be telling them that I am pregnant with #2, and I want to start my mat leave earlier this time (mid July perhaps).

Do I feel guilty? A little bit, but I don't know if I should. I have worked incredibly hard for them for ten years, late nights (sometimes all night) and sometimes weekends, sacrificed any amount of personal commitments and done whatever they have asked of me. It is incredibly difficult to do my job as a working mother (they rejected my flexible hours request but I have an unofficial arrangement where I can leave at 5pm to relieve the nanny, then I continue to work - for however long is rqeuired - after the baby is in bed at 7pm) and every single day is a battle. I am completely exhausted all of the time.

Do I feel guilty about my contractual and statutory entitlement? Am I going to wait to have another child (I am early thirties) because it might not suit them? Erm no I'm not.

timeforgin Mon 04-Mar-13 12:34:33

PS by the way I am fully aware the situation is in practice quite different for large companies compared to smaller ones. My father owns and runs a small business, and when they have people go on maternity leave, the costs and practicalities of getting a temp are massive considerations and a relatively large line item for the year. Would he think that women should plan their families to fit in with his accounting / business needs? No he wouldn't.

Women have babies. They also often need to work. Companies, large and small need to accomodate this.

MrsKeithRichards Mon 04-Mar-13 12:43:59

I work in a small-ish team (14 people) and in the past 4 years there's been 2 women on maternity (myself being on of them) and 2 men on adoption leave.

My friend shared her maternity entitlement with her husband, she took 6 he took 3 after her.

Slowly but surely it's levelling out just a teeny little bit.

" I don't understand why some people do not want to have open and honest dialogue with their employers about this. Honest, open communication always results in gaining respect and trust with the employer."

Bloody hell that's naive. Not always no. I've had lovely bosses who I could trust with this sort of stuff. I've also ad some who would be using this info to screw me over. I consider myself to be one of the luckier ones.

Which is why we have laws to protect women from this.

Only women can get pregnant. Therefore by default its the woman who "screws over" her employer. While her oh sails through her pregnancy, takes two weeks off and then back into work bright eyed and bushy tailed to slaps on the back and congratulations. Your promotion is waiting for you.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:01:26

Totally agree OP. This behaviour means I think twice before hiring women- a man will be my first choice every time. And before I get flamed, running a family business in these times is tough and you need a committed workforce who won't be running off to have multiple bouts of maternity leave.

FierceBadIggi Mon 04-Mar-13 14:04:40

This could change a lot if more parents start to share their ML entitlement - it's just the last 3 months the man can take isn't it, or is it longer?
If men were just as likely as women to take some time off it would still inconvenience employers, but would reduce assumptions being made about women being the ones to leave.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:10:28

That's true but in my experience men never take extended paternity leave so they are the safest bet when it comes to hiring.

Growlithe Mon 04-Mar-13 14:12:55

itsall I'd be careful when and where you are admitting this attitude because thankfully it is against the law.

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:14:54

I think I'm probably safe on an anonymous Internet forum. Here you get to hear the truth. In RL, we can point to many reasons why the man was a better choice but they aren't always the truth.

Here to agree with SPB. My old employers were absolute unmitigated cunts when I mc and my career nosedived until I left them.

Well, I say my employers. Our office manager, who controlled things like leave entitlement and sick pay. What a hideous bitch she was.

Growlithe Mon 04-Mar-13 14:20:13

I'm glad you only employ men itsall. I'd never want to work for you. grin

itsallyourownfault Mon 04-Mar-13 14:23:22

You're probably one of the special treatment brigade that has little chance of having a successful career growlithe in which case I suspect you don't 'work' for anyone!

Meee ow
Mature response

Growlithe Mon 04-Mar-13 14:29:46

itsall I do like the 'special treatment' the UK Employment Law offers me.

Growlithe Mon 04-Mar-13 14:38:14

SPB I know. I'm picturing Sid James. grin

FasterStronger Mon 04-Mar-13 14:51:36

As a small business owner, I sigh with relief when no quality women apply for the technical roles I offer.

the roles are too complex for train someone up in less than 6 months so I would have to do my job plus their job and not see my own family then still might need to hire at the end of ML... no thanks!

I would like to see equal lengths of parental leave that was non transferable between the couple, with extra protection for the woman for pregnancy related medical conditions.

shorter periods of leave applying to both men and women and a shorter period of uncertainty.

in the meantime, employees are not doing anything wrong when they use employment law to their advantage, but neither are companies when they use the employment law that benefits them.

Ewwww keep your weirdy fantasies to yourself grin

FasterStronger Mon 04-Mar-13 15:42:09

Looking at the statistics, women don't tend to work for small businesses:

23.9 million people in the UK work for small businesses so together we are a massive employer but 4/10 women work in public sector jobs.

TooExtraImmatureCheddar Mon 04-Mar-13 17:05:53

God, this is depressing. It's not women's fault that most families can't afford to live on one income any more. Men have babies too, ffs. There is a reason why maternity leave is embedded in UK law - the government recognises that someone has to raise children and that it is no longer realistic to expect one parent to be able to support the other (well, maybe not this government, but previous ones). They make allowances for it. I realise that it is a large burden on small companies, but so is sick pay. There's a reason things like this are statutory, to prevent employers dispensing with them to suit themselves.

I realise everyone has been very polite about the decision of LittleChickpea to go back to work 6 weeks after giving birth. I'm honestly not trying to get at you as an individual, but I believe that the baby's needs should be put first. Maternity leave has been created so that women can work and have babies, and UK society has judged that it's not realistic for most women to return to work so quickly. They have therefore made allowance for this by paying SMP for a total of 39 weeks. I don't get why you would look at the rights given to them by law and say, in effect, "oh well, I value my child less than I do my job, and so I will waive my right to 39 weeks of paid SMP. After all, my job comes with responsibilities."

luanmahi Mon 04-Mar-13 17:17:14

TooExtra - I find it depressing too. I understand if you have your own business that it's another thing to have to deal with for the people who work for you, fundamentally though, aren't we all working for the same reason? Whether you work for yourself or for someone else, it's all to earn enough money to have a roof over our heads and for an acceptable quality of life for us and our families.

When it comes to the bigger picture, our family lives are more important than our work lives and if you don't agree, then I genuinely feel sorry for you. I've never heard of anyone on their deathbed wishing they'd spent more time at their desk or negotiating a better contract with such and such a client. There will always be more people in the workforce at any given time than will be on parental leave so replacements can always be found (admittedly, it might take a while for more skilled jobs) and business isn't going to grind to a halt. When did it become OK to criticise people who have reached the time in their lives that they have different priorities?

sarahtigh Mon 04-Mar-13 17:58:22


looking at the stats you quoted 60% of women obviously work in private sector ( if 40% in public) so that is the majority some of them will be self employed maybe 5% some will work for big companies 15% but actually probably 40% will be working for small companies

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 20:43:18

MrsJack, £1,500 to advertise a vacancy? Rubbish. You can do it far more cheaply if you want to - you are just exaggerating to bolster your ridiculous sexist approach. When you employ people, you have to handle recruitment. Employees can laeve. Employees can also get sick, have accidents, have to go to funerals - it's all part of the deal. If you don't want to get involved, don't have employees, try doing it all yourself if you wish. Otherwise, stop moaning.

maddening Mon 04-Mar-13 20:45:12

The thing is once mat leave is over then parents can be more stable as employees - they are tied to an area by schools, as households are less likely to change jobs etc as they have more to consider etc

I also think that mat leave gets focused on when in fact humans - whatever their sex and family situation - are prone to illness, death, ambitions, family breakdown etc
So men get considered dead certs as the person to hire above a woman but being equally human are equally liable to costing their employer money - eg better job offer/having to care for family/ fancying a move to another city/becoming poorly/dying as a woman - yet the mat leave gets focused on.

harverina Mon 04-Mar-13 20:48:15

faster, when my DH grows a pair of breasts and is able to breastfeed, then he is more than welcome to an equal share of my maternity leave. Until then Im claiming most of it. I assume you are a man?

"As a small business owner, I sigh with relief when no quality women apply for the technical roles I offer."

This is pathetic. I actually think that some people have lost the bloody plot. I really do think that people have lost sight of what really matters. FFS our children are far more important than any client relationship!!!!!!

harverina Mon 04-Mar-13 20:50:23

Exactly Edam, there are no guarantees that any employee will stay in a job!

Corygal Mon 04-Mar-13 20:54:43

If I had to choose between my baby's needs and my boss's, I know which would win.

In any job, businesses keep the profit - employees don't. You don't hear firms whining about that.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 04-Mar-13 22:58:58

There's no "profit" in most public sector roles...

For the third time on this thread I'll point out that it is possible to assert that someone taking two periods of ML in quick succession is entirely allowed within the current set up, whilst acknowledging that it can be a complete PITA for the employer.

MrsJackAubrey Mon 04-Mar-13 23:10:01

Edam, i would love for you to tell me how to recruit a 35k post for less than 1500. I am a good employer, excellent staff retention, pay and support for leave. One of our explicit values is that we support people through the ebbs and flow of family needs. I have 2 kids, I am not oblivious to the stresses of family,life. And on my deathbed I will among many other feelings also be proud of what I have built up in my company, and that in my life i have also created something that gave meaningful employment opportunities for others.

Consecutive periods of mat leave are hard on a small business, and I can express my experience without it being sexist. I wrote to BIS when this govmt was asking for ideas to improve things, to say they need to share mat and pat leave between the employers of the mother and father, as I also believe fathers should be able to take more time off to be with their kids. I am far from sexist.

edam Mon 04-Mar-13 23:13:34

It's not that hard, I've done it. Depends where you advertise - I used Gorkana and an online ad on a national newspaper's site. If you use a recruitment agency it will cost £££ of course, but that's your choice. I bet you can negotiate on rates for national newspapers...

Primafacie Mon 04-Mar-13 23:22:11

YABU. In many jobs, taking mat leave is an enormous career setback. Some women will want to have all their leave close together so as to mitigate their loss.

In the grand scheme of things, in a world where women are still paid significantly less than equally qualified men, where childcare costs are so high, where many women have their children later in life for all sorts of good reasons, the fact that some mums take "back to back" mat leave is just fine.

Can't you just be happy for her?

harverina Mon 04-Mar-13 23:23:25

Jack are you suggesting equal leave for mothers and fathers?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 05-Mar-13 00:02:54

This is a useful factual guide:

Haverina, parents can share maternity/paternity leavefrom April 2011

Kytti Tue 05-Mar-13 00:22:27

Happened to me. I took a year off, went back, realised I was pregnant. My manager asked me if it was what I wanted. I went into the carpark and cried. I suffered jibes and jokes throughout the entire pregnancy while at work.

I didn't plan it, but I wasn't sorry either. Especially when I heard all that hateful crap. I worked in a very male-orientated place.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 05-Mar-13 00:25:15

Your manager asked you if it was what you wanted?

Wow sad angry.

Something tells me there's a manager who wouldn't have behaved well if you'd raised your TTC plans first.

Illustrationaddict Tue 05-Mar-13 01:09:54

manicinsomniac - yes they do pay to private companies too, all working women are entitled to some form of SMP - I look at it as a form of tax return from HMRC. Just checking though - this is a UK thing, not sure how it works in other countries?

I've been with my current employer for 9 years now, and currently off with DC1, but thinking of trying for DC2. When I think of it as 2 maternity leaves in 9/10 years service, I don't feel like I'm taking my employer for a ride. Lots of women have babies older these days, its just that being older, if you want more than one child you have to speed up the process before your body gives up on the idea! wink

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 08:29:48

harverina I am a woman. of course children/family is important, but as yours is to you, mine is to me.

I don't ask/expect any employee to throw away their rights, but I am under no obligation to seek out female staff - In fact to do so would probably be discriminatory in itself, under current legislation.

if i took a year off for ML, i would have to shut down the company and make staff redundant. we are too small to survive without me.

you have to be tough to grow a business in a recession. it is easy to talk about your view of ML when you aren't the one paying for it. and the SMP from the govt is irrelevant to me - the cost of the replacement would be say £300-500 per DAY. and for weeks/months they would not be particularly useful

more jobs benefits everyone but it is trade not charity.

oh and before someone trots out that tired 'you shouldn't be running a business ' line. right because we need fewer jobs, less corporation tax now don't we?

on recruitment you can advertise a position for £200 but it can yield hundreds of incorrectly qualified candidates and not one you can interview. you can pay a recruiter around 17% of first years salary. last time that was 17% of 35k so about 6k.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 09:49:12

FasterStronger Do you discriminate against those with disabilities or life limiting illnesses too?

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 09:55:01

growlithe please quote where i am discriminating against a women

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 10:21:14

As a small business owner, I sigh with relief when no quality women apply for the technical roles I offer.

the roles are too complex for train someone up in less than 6 months so I would have to do my job plus their job and not see my own family then still might need to hire at the end of ML... no thanks!

Here, you imply that if a woman with the correct skills for your advertised position would be a hassle to you. It feels like indirect discrimination to me.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 10:37:12

"no quality women apply" therefore no discrimination

the legal definition of sex discrimination is different and less favourable treatment on the grounds of sex.

if they aren't applying, i cannot be discriminating.

luanmahi Tue 05-Mar-13 10:45:14

Growlithe - exactly.

Not advertising jobs where a lot of women are going to see them; not sending vacancies to people currently on parental leave (because even with the change in the law, it's still more likely to be the mother on leave than the father); not allowing reasonable adjustments to be made for flexible working (because again, in our society, it's still more likely for the mother to be organising the majority of the childcare). These are all examples of indirect sexual discrimination and are illegal.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 10:49:42

Yes, a clever choice of words, which does however imply that you would have a situation to deal with if a qualified woman did in fact apply. One which would have you sighing with relief when you are faced with such a situation, implying it would be a bad situation.

Now, I don't know, but I'm guessing you could, unwittingly of course, be wording your job adverts just as cleverly. Which could be the reason women aren't applying. If you aren't doing this, don't be tempted to start will you, because it can be deemed to be discriminatory. Which, of course, you have just proved you aren't.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 10:54:05

i advertise in the standard industry locations. there is no discrimination in that. anyone can look at the advert.

i have one person who works a 4 day week because that works for the business and him.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 10:55:32

its not clever words. it is a relief. i don't know what i would do in the best candidate was female.

why on earth should someone else's reproductive planning matter to you in the slightest?
And don't get me started on the feminist angle to this one... Walking away before my blood actually boils!angryangryangry

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 10:57:13

Surely you would take the woman on? With you not practising discrimination and everything?

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 11:00:46

growhtlithe - you are convinced that in my situation, you would hire the women. but you are talking in theory.

or do you run your own business?

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 11:09:23

Faster you should be convinced that in that situation you would definitely hire the woman. To not hire the woman in such a situation would be against the law. Just like not paying your corporation tax.

I don't run my own business. But I live my life within the bounds of the law. You cannot ignore laws that don't work for you.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 11:16:58

it is not illegal to not hire someone. the police wont come & arrest you. you wont go to prison.

the individual could take you to employment tribunal which is their right and you would have to defend your actions. i would not take any action i could not defend and would advice when appropriate to ensure this was the case.

if you lost, you would pay them compensation.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 11:26:14

and again you are looking at this theoretically: i have never had two candidates the same

the best women to apply so far wanted to work part time in a full time job but it was nothing to do with her sex, she was an artist and wanted time for her art. fine but the role was fulltime.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 11:26:42

Faster This situation would be illegal. It is against the law.

You could ride your luck and hope no one takes you to a tribunal and wins if you ever get into this situation. Or you could just employ them, and deal with the fact you may one day have to provide maternity cover.

You might find the second option may be cheaper. It's definately the legal option. And, if it were me, would sit better.

But, as you say, no woman ever applies for your jobs, so you are ok, aren't you?

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 11:30:13

Oh, and no, as far as I am aware, it is not illegal to no give a person a job on the grounds she would like to be an artist, as long as it was nothing to do with the fact she was a woman of child bearing age.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 11:31:53

sorry to disappoint you but she was not a woman of child bearing age.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 11:32:55

Were her pictures nice?

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 12:23:08

well i hope someone liked them. smile

looking at my options to cover ML:

1) i checked how much a contractor would cost to cost an absent member of staff and it is £400 per day and upwards. this is not possible unless i work for free.

2) we could not manage one person down

3) i cannot pick up their work because i cannot work any harder than i do.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 12:46:42

I'm sorry then, but like it or not you are running that business by the seat of your pants. What if one of your male employees got sick? Wouldn't you be in the same position (or arguably worse if you had no notice).

If I was in business, which as you pointed out I am not so can only talk theoretically, I would have a figure of the cost of an employee. This would not be simply that persons salary + any employers contributions to NI and pension. It would be uplifted to include these situations arising.

Would I be wrong to do this? I would feel like I was taking a gamble if I didn't. I'd certainly not want to gamble with employment law if I was in business. If I was after skilled employees I wouldn't want the damage to my reputation.

ChairmanWow Tue 05-Mar-13 12:50:36

Sorry but this is all reading as me, me, me. It's inconvenient to you therefore millions of women should have their hard-won rights removed from them. If you don't think claiming back all the SMP plus an additional percentage (if you're a small business) is enough then go to the revenue and complain. Campaign for small businesses to be given more support to cover mat leave.

Given we still don't have equal pay and women still lag behind in the boardroom it's sickening to read other women complaining about one area where we do have some rights.

I seriously hope more men start taking their share of the leave, then at least it will put paid to this sickening woman-blaming.

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 12:59:59

Quite, Chairman. It would appear that when you go into business, as a man or a woman, you are allowed to leave your ethics behind, by shrugging and saying 'I'm a small business and there is a recession on you know'.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 13:13:58

I have said I don't think other women are doing anything wrong using their rights - just explaining the realities of my situation.

if you think me not being able to afford £400 day (day not week) for one ML cover is bad business - really?

Growlithe Tue 05-Mar-13 13:18:52

Yes, financially, legally and morally.

FasterStronger Tue 05-Mar-13 13:29:15

so what should I do?

close down the business?
work for free?
work Saturdays as well as Sundays?
not have my own family?


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?

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 13:49:11

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'.

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.

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.

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.

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 13:58:05

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 14:02:10

chairman - which I said upthread a number of times.

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 14:07:32

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!

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

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.

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.

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 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.

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 15:11:04

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

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 15:23:34

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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