There should be a 9-month qualifying period for mat/pat leave.

(172 Posts)
garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 17:14:44

A few recent threads have made me think about this. I think it's hopelessly wrong that a woman can get a new job while knowing she's pregnant, then bugger off for a year's mat leave. AIBU?

Guntie Mon 20-May-13 17:16:25

My DH doesn't qualify for paternity leave as we got pregnant just before he started his new job.

ThePavlovianCat Mon 20-May-13 17:16:52

What makes you think it's wrong? I don't think you've explained your position on this.

DeafLeopard Mon 20-May-13 17:18:34

I thought there was. There certainly used to be. IIRC you had to have been employed for 26 weeks before they could take mat leave

Guntie Mon 20-May-13 17:18:45

"You must have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth (known as the ‘qualifying week’)"

riksti Mon 20-May-13 17:19:17

You can always get maternity leave but not statutory maternity pay if you're already pregnant when taking a job. I would think the latter is a significant restriction for a lot of people who are changing jobs when pregnant.

KatoPotato Mon 20-May-13 17:19:43

YABU I found out I was 5 months pregnant the afternoon after I had a job interview. They called to offer me the job the next day and I told them I probably couldn't accept as I'd just found out I was pregnant. The HR girl told me this was fine and was up to me and she sent the maternity policy etc. Of course I could only claim MA but she explained I was the best person for the job and they couldn't discriminate based on my pg.

AnythingNotEverything Mon 20-May-13 17:20:21

I think you have to have 26 weeks employment before you're entitled to enhanced maternity pay.

As per PPs - please do explain exactly which bit you have a problem with your post is unclear.

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 20-May-13 17:20:35


Society needs to support its own development and within that procreation.

With current employment law revisions potentially allowing men to share maternity why is it just the women who you're single out?

Lj8893 Mon 20-May-13 17:20:47

Yanbu in that it is very unfair for a woman to start a new job while knowing she is pregnant (although she will have to have worked for the company 26 weeks by the time she is 25 weeks pregnant to qualify for smp)

YABU in that a woman may start a new job and then become pregnant shortly afterwards, planned or unplanned.

Trazzletoes Mon 20-May-13 17:22:39

If you don't qualify for stat mat pay don't you just get the maternity benefit instead? (Can't remember what it's called) which is exactly the same, only you have to go to the job centre to get it?

bakingaddict Mon 20-May-13 17:22:51

Somebody (OP) needs to go and get possessed of basic facts before they come over all Daily Fail

Lj8893 Mon 20-May-13 17:30:41

Yes, they would qualify for maternity allowance instead but then they are not claiming it from thier workplace and won't get the first 6 weeks paid as 90% of thier average wage (which is what smp pays for the first 6 weeks)

I think as long as the employee makes it known to the employer when taking the job it is fair to do so. At the end of the day why should a woman turn down potentially thier perfect job just because they will be off for a period of time while they have a baby (one of the most natural things a woman can do)

Saying that a pregnant woman shouldn't start a job, is all well and good, as long as we give pregnant women, welfare benefits that match their potential working wage.

FasterStronger Mon 20-May-13 17:51:50

if they were a good hire, they would be well worth the wait. but I have 'tried people out' if the past and would be I a v bad place if they were pregnant.

makes me think about not trying anyone out as it increases your risk an an employer

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 17:54:04

I wasn't thinking about the money so much - you can get mat allowance anyhow - but the keeping the job open. If an employer hires for a permanent position, then finds out the employee's going off in a few months, they've got to hire a temp. So, basically, they've employed two temps where they thought they were getting a perm.

I agree it should be fine as long as you tell the employer but, actually, they're not allowed to withdraw their offer on the grounds of your pregnancy.

FasterStronger Mon 20-May-13 17:56:20

actually I tried out a man who turned out to have an eating disorder and you could here his stomach rumbling the whole time. he could not perform any useful task as he was clearly really hungry all the time.

moral of the story: only hire people who are worth it even if they have an undisclosed condition which causes you hassle.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 17:57:21

Baking, I certainly am not possessed of all the facts! I've only recent found out there is no qualifying period! <old gimmer>

CloudsAndTrees Mon 20-May-13 17:59:08

I'm torn on this one.

In a way, I think YANBU. It is unfair on employers and other staff who have to train up and welcome two new people into one job in such a short space of time.

On the other hand, I took a job not realising I was pregnant, and went on maternity leave six months after I had started there. But I then worked there for a further 9 years, so in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't seem that bad.

I think it's very wrong for people to take leave and pay when they know they won't be going back though.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:00:07

Mis, I'm altogether in favour of shared mat/pat leave and don't think the new proposals go far enough. My query would still stand for men, though.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:02:11

I think it's very wrong for people to take leave and pay when they know they won't be going back though.

Agreed - If it were possible to guarantee the return, it'd still be a problem but only half the problem it currently is. It's not reasonably possible, though; the effects of pregnancy & birth are so unpredictable.

Lj8893 Mon 20-May-13 18:05:09

Can't really use the same argument for patenity leave though, as if I am correct if they haven't been in the job for 26 weeks by the qualifying week (15 weeks before due date) they won't qualify for paternity leave?

My partner won't qualify for paternity but since he works for a family member he is able to have 2 weeks holiday (and is being allowed to take it at short notice so if I'm early or late he won't miss out)

I just doubt it happens all that often that a woman gets a new job when she knows she's pregnant but her employers have no idea even after interviewing her and then she takes a full year's maternity leave even though she's having to get by on MA.

If it never crossed the employer's mind that she was looking a bit fecund then the chances are they're going to get a good 6 months or so out of her anyway before she goes on ML. And the chances are that then she's (a) going to come back early because she'll run out of money (threads on here from women getting MA only tend to involve having to go back to work after less than six months for financial reasons, IME) and (b) going to come back and give them plenty of good years (IIRC all the research shows that women with families tend to be more loyal to employers who've treated them well and with flexibility and will accept lower wages as a result.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:16:56

Hmm - for one thing, they shouldn't be having to settle for lower wages.

I wasn't really aware of this until I noticed a trickle of threads on here by women who obviously had known they were pregnant when accepting a job, making sure they got the best value out of their entitlements. It's their legal right to do so, of course, but it did give rise to my first ever feelings of sympathy for employers who say they avoid hiring women!

I don't really see why a prospective employee shouldn't be required to at least intend to do the job for a year or so.

Yes, but is your magic wand-waving going to deal with the whole problem (lack of family-friendliness of most employers, likelihood that women will settle (not necessarily consciously, just that the way you tend to get salary increases in the private sector is by switching company so if you stay with one company (out of loyalty or whatever) you are statistically likely to end up on lower wages than if you move around), assumption that raising small children is women's work, men being discouraged from flexible working or taking extended paternity leave, lack of availability of good affordable/flexible childcare, etc., etc.? Or do you just feel that the one bit of the whole shebang that actually benefits women at the moment (their rights to hang on to their jobs) should be legislatively abolished? Do you think that that's the one aspect that's the single biggest problem?

Lovelygoldboots Mon 20-May-13 18:27:31

Pesky women getting pregnant, accepting job offers only to find there is no affordable childcare and her work doesnt pay. When will we stop shooting ourselves in the foot? A pregnant woman has a right to accept a job. You are being unreasonable.

ILiveInAPineappleCoveredInSnow Mon 20-May-13 18:28:06

I applied for a promoted post at my place of work, where I have been for the last 3 years. I got the post and took it knowing that I was pregnant. I love working here, but had I not got this post, I'd have been looking elsewhere after ML. I think in te grand scheme of things, they've had 3 years solid hard work out of me, I will be off for 6-9 months, but then they will get at least another 3 years from me before I look for my next step up. Not a bad deal for them I feel.

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 18:44:11

YABU - for lots of reasons, but here's mine - I took a new job whilst pg, not wanting to turn it down in case I had (another) miscarriage and then would have neither job nor baby.

needaholidaynow Mon 20-May-13 18:44:18


Having considered an abortion due to what others thought of me when I started my new job pregnant, people just like you, it makes me even more glad that I went ahead and had my baby. It makes me so sad and angry every time I think about how I felt back then due to worrying too much about other people in this world and their thoughts about me, but I am also so unbelievably relieved when I look at my baby boy that their ignorant views didn't cause me to make a decision that I really did not want to make.

I started my job when I was 4 months pregnant and left for mat leave when I was 8 months pregnant.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:46:40

Tolliver, you are familiar with my magic wand, I see! Yes: I want family-friendly working practices, compulsory 50/50 parental leave, required flexibility for both sexes, boardroom quotas, the lot! What I'm not too keen on is employers having to keep a post open for a little-tried employee who may or may not come back to it.

Boots, a pregnant woman has a right to accept a job, of course she does. But I wish she didn't have the right to have that job guaranteed for almost 2 years, one year of which she may plan to be absent.

Pineapple, my instinct is to say it's different for a promotion - even if it is a different job - because you already have an ongoing, mutually beneficial contract with the employer.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 18:57:35

But, holiday, why did your employer owe you a job?

I am NOT trying to say pregnancy is an illness, before anybody has a go at me, but, if you developed a serious health condition, your employer wouldn't be obliged to hold your job open for you while you spent a year recovering - no matter how long you'd worked there. They sure as hell wouldn't keep you employed, with a long-term sickness, if you'd only been there a few months.

But you're singling out the keeping a post open for a woman as the thing you've started a thread about (apologies if you've also started threads about the other issues). So do you think that that's the single biggest part of the problem? If not, why is it the one that you chose to describe as hopelessly wrong, over and above all the other bits of the system that mean that a woman who gets pregnant is massively disadvantaged in career and financial terms even though (the bit you want to start by abolishing) she gets to have her job kept open for her.

What other people said.

Most people don't move jobs knowing they are pregnant unless they think the new job definitely suits them. And most people don't leave jobs that definitely suit them if they have any choice in the matter.

If you are taking a year's maternity leave from a long term job, it matters not a jot whether that's after six months or six years, surely? It's a year out of maybe ten years - does it matter which year?

The minimal maternity pay you get if you do this is definitely not worth jacking in a good job for, of course.

That said, I left a shitty job for a nicer job and fell pregnant quickly afterwards, resigning at the end of maternity leave. Although it worked out nicely for everyone in the end (I was good at said new job, they were nice to me, for reasons outside everyone's control there wouldn't have been enough work for me to do if I had gone back, etc) I kind of wished I'd stayed at the old job if only so I could screw them over instead of the nice ones grin

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 19:03:39

I'm often discussing the other issues.

I think this particular provision makes it harder to sell the many other, more important, changes. It feels - to me - like an unfair advantage for women of childbearing age. That is going to help entrench prejudice, I suspect.

As I said, I only recently realised the provision was so generous. I wanted to find out why other MNers feel justifiably entitled to it. None the wiser so far ...

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 19:08:38

Granted you said "screw them over" in jest, Horry, but the knowledge is there that that's what you would have been doing!

It's a year out of maybe ten years - does it matter which year? - Yes, it does, imo. If you've only been there a few months, it's unlikely you'll be so well integrated to the job that you can effectively sort out your own mat cover, know which issues to deal with before you go and so forth. Also, when you have an ongoing beneficial relationship with your employer, you are more likely to trust each other.

Lovelygoldboots Mon 20-May-13 19:09:54

Maybe if you widened the discussion to ask the question Why dont women return to work? Your frame of reference is very narrow and in your last post you have used the word entitled in reference to mat pay.

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 19:09:57

I had a broken arm in dec 2011, i had been trying for a baby so before xray they did a test, it was negative. I got a job interview in dec (after xray) and got told i got the job on 20th dec. DH and i decided to put ttc on hold. Period due xmas day. Boxing day i did a test and i was pregnant. Started work on 3rd Jan knowing i was pregnant, felt shit, and not entitled to any SMP. I have taken the whole year mat leave and only had MA.

I feel entitled to it because i am legally entitled to it.

Ehhn Mon 20-May-13 19:10:03

I think the issue is probably that the system is too much dependent on women doing the right thing and whilst 99% of women do so, such as coming back and giving a number of years of good service, there are a minority who exploit the system or change their mind and give the rest a bad name. E.g. If changing mind... I think if you reckon you will be tempted to be sahm and you have just started a new job, you should test your feelings and resign shortly after birth rather than maximise the time off/cash. But the problem is temptation of money can override moral choices...

EasilyBored Mon 20-May-13 19:11:08

It's not an unfair advantage, it's a way of levelling the playing field. Women get their jobs held open for them because they are the ones who get pregnant and have babies. How about we give it up and be more like the Americans, who get a lovely 8 weeks off (with no requirement that they be paid) after having a baby.

What's a more important issue than ensuring women are not discriminated against because of their sex? Please do share - I'm all ears.

EasilyBored Mon 20-May-13 19:13:37

And employers can claim back most of the SMP anyway, so aside from recruitment costs it's not costing them a huge amount extra. It can actually be cheaper - iirc my mat cover was paid less than me as they had less experience in that role.

wigglesrock Mon 20-May-13 19:14:23

I did it. I went for an interview the day I found out I was pregnant and started 3 weeks later. The job I had been doing was finishing, I needed to work. I qualified for Maternity Allowance, took 8 months off and went back to the job. I'm not sure what else I could have done?

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 19:20:13

Ehhn - i'm not sure i understand about the temptation of cash - what cash would i be getting if i don't get any mat pay?

needaholidaynow Mon 20-May-13 19:56:27

garlic I was employed because my employer thought I was capable of doing the job- and I proved them right for 4 months! When I return i will do the same work again as i did before i left. Pregnant or not, it doesn't affect my ability. All it means is that I won't be there for a number of months, but could may well be there for the next 20 years!

That is why they "owe" me a job. Because I somehow impressed them.

Ehhn Mon 20-May-13 20:18:58

Mrs koala my oh's cousin started a new job, just made it to qualifying for mat leave then took the mat pay knowing full well she had would not go back to work. Didn't tell the employer until just before she was due to go back so they didn't have any contingency plan in place as they had covered the full mat leave with a contract worker to cover as they expected oh cousin back. The temp/contract worker had already got another job so they went into recruitment drive unexpectedly - this was not a big company and it left them short staffed. I know govt covers some of the pay but it was quite a blow to the company, as it meant their original recruitment drive had been a waste of time/money.

As I said in previous post, it is a tiny number of unethical people who spoil it for others. this is one incident and I only know of one other similar story, compared to many stories of women busting their asses to make working & small babies happen.

mumofweeboys Mon 20-May-13 20:30:35

Not sure about fair or unfair but can really suck for other people. We were/are horribly short staffed - working under immense pressure, work stacking up ect when management finally decided to recruit another bod. Fantastic we thought, light at end of tunnel, make situation 10x better, work actually would be enjoyable again. Problem was the person they chose was 4 months pregnant. She couldnt start for 2 months, then went on maternity leave a month and half later. Work wouldnt hire any one else (very skilled job) so we were left in a hole for another year.

Dont really blame her but she wasnt popular.

slightlysoupstained Mon 20-May-13 20:55:31

It doesn't seem to stop employers sacking 30,000+ women a year though does it?

TBH, I think the main problem is that it doesn't apply to men. DP and I had planned to share leave, but discovered that because he'd started a new role after I was already pregnant, he wasn't eligible for anything at all. (Fortunately his new employers were happy to offer 2 weeks unpaid leave, but they could have refused.)
The above is worth a read.

maddening Mon 20-May-13 21:00:54

ministering - surely you would be in that position whoever had left for mat leave if your employer does not provide cover for those on mat leave - blame your employer not your colleague.

I take it when you had your wee boys that you left your colleagues in the shit also - so why does it matter how long you worked there?

maddening Mon 20-May-13 21:02:02

ministering = mumofweeboys

MrsKoala Mon 20-May-13 21:03:56

Ehhn - i think everyone qualifies for mat leave regardless of when you start. i also think you have to have worked for longer than the pregnancy to get pay, which means you wouldn't be able to be pregnant when you started, you would have to get pregnant after a couple of months of working. This is why i got no pay from the company i work for as i got pregnant 2 weeks before i started.

i was planning to go back so took the mat leave but circumstances mean it would be impossible. So they had a colleague from another dept cover me 'temporarily'. They will now have to advertise it as permanent.

maddening Mon 20-May-13 21:05:08

ehhn - the smp only lasts till 9 the so if your cousin had given her notice then 3 months before end of mat leave the employer would have had 3 the to find a hire?

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 21:12:48

Boots and Bored, I'm not questioning the principle of mat/pat leave - it's the lack of prior commitment that bothers me. It strikes me as unfair to employers, thus I think it works against women's interests wrt equality at work. It makes it look as though women want the earth just coz they have babies ... excuse lazy language, I'm not feeling too well.

Koala - congratulations smile Yes, you are entitled.

Again, I'm not questioning the entitlement (though I want to see enforced sharing between the parents) but the fact that this entitlement kicks in immediately. The employer's legally required to honour a commitment to an employee, who isn't required to commit to them.

This isn't about sex discrimination, Northern. There is no other circumstance in which a brand-new employee, of any gender, can say "Oh, I'm going to want a year off from the month after next. Get a temp in and I'll let you know if or when I'm coming back to this job." Being pregnant does give you the right to ride roughshod over common decency and respect for your employer's business, but I don't really think it should - it's undue privilege, imo.

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 21:18:17

Thanks for that Fawcett link, soup! Couldn't agree more smile

foreverondiet Mon 20-May-13 21:20:29

See it both ways - with dd I'd been ttc for a while - was told would probably need fertility treatment and then got made redundant! I found a new job and got pregnant (without fertility treatment shortly after) - are you saying that if a woman us made redundant in pregnancy she shouldn't look for a new job??

garlicgrump Mon 20-May-13 21:25:46

I dunno, forever. It's tricky. There's always going to be some unpredictable circumstance - especially nowadays. As employees are feeling less secure, though, so are employers. Something like several staffers getting upduffed at the same time can literally ruin a business. I don't have all the answers but am unconvinced this particular provision helps the cause of women's equality confused

Lovelygoldboots Mon 20-May-13 22:21:58

I think that it has to be as it is because it benefits mothers and fathers. Two people make a baby. If a woman has to look for employsment whilst pregnant what else is she supposed to do? Sign on? If a woman does not return to work why? Addressing a lack of affordable childcare would go a long way to resolving this supposed inequality by encouraging women to return to their jobs. People change jobs for all kinds of reasons. I found myself pregnant after being in a job for six months, as I had.been made redundant. I returned after four months mat leave. When I was pregnant again 12 months later I realized I was not going to be able to return to work ans left. I would have liked to very much but they did not want to offer me any flexibility. 8 years later I am working part time in a completely different role for a fraction of the pay. Rewarding, yes and my choice. But I think employers could think outside the box a bit if they want to retain the staff they employ. It seems to work in other countries.

Iggi101 Mon 20-May-13 22:41:30

"this isn't about sex discrimination"

Rofl here too. Yes it is about sex discrimination.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 00:23:30

Why is it? Honest question; I'm willing to learn.

Do you disagree that there's any undue privilege at play? (It is "due", strictly speaking, as a legal right, but my vocabulary isn't quite working atm.)

Boots, I agree, flexibility makes a lot more sense than conventional (patriarchal) business structures would like to admit. I think companies that don't implement enthusiastically family-friendly policies are stupid. And I would like them to be forced to do it.

lainiekazan Tue 21-May-13 06:30:44

I do feel for small companies.

There was a case a few years ago where a woman applied for a job at a caravan company which only had two or three employees and where the job was demonstrating the caravans. When she turned up for work she was pregnant and said she was unable to do the work. So she was fired, she sued and she won. The company owner was very bemused and considerably out of pocket.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 21-May-13 06:41:06

Lainekazan, can you link to some details of this case?

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Tue 21-May-13 06:54:44

There is no other circumstance in which a brand-new employee, of any gender, can say "Oh, I'm going to want a year off from the month after next. Get a temp in and I'll let you know if or when I'm coming back to this job."

No, but anyone could say "I am going to want some time off from today, I can't let you know for how long (so you won't have any idea of whether you'll need a temp or what sort of temp) or whether I am coming back to the job" if a serious illness strikes.

A healthy pregnancy and maternity leave is much more predictable. And a pregnancy is a part of life and companies should be able to cope with the not unheard of scenario of a woman having a baby.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 21-May-13 07:09:01

So what's your solution, OP? Fire the woman when you find out she's pregnant? Fire the man when you find out his partner is pregnant?

TiredyCustards Tue 21-May-13 07:14:12

So wrt automatic entitlement, what's the alternative? The woman has to come back to work straight after birth or lose her job?

And pp are using the word unethical - why would anyone place the interests of their employer,who could and would make them redundant at any moment, over the interests of their baby and themselves? If being a sahm is best for your family, then it's tough for the employer - they cannot be cushioned from everything.

Women should not feel guilty for availing themselves of their rights.

moominlike Tue 21-May-13 07:31:20

This has really struck a chord with me as I have just found out I'm pregnant a week after being offered a new job. I don't know what to do and feel guilty at the thought of accepting it, but am on notice of redundancy at my current place of work! I accept it isn't ideal for the new employer but equally don't really see what choice I have? As someone else said too the pregnancy is such early days that anything could happen and I don't want to end up without a job for potentially a year!

It's about sex discrimination because history shows us that unless women's employment rights are protected pre and after birth, they will lose jobs, lose promotions, be unfairly selected for redundancy and not employed in the first place. Even with these rights in place, this site abounds with stories of unfair treatment.

DoctorRobert Tue 21-May-13 08:29:07


I was made redundant from my job of 10 years when I was about 6 weeks pregnant, so had no option but to find another job. I started a new job when I was 5 months.

would you honestly begrudge me that? I didn't qualify for statutory maternity pay, but too right I was entitled to a year off and my job kept open!

this is 2013

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 21-May-13 08:52:04

Moomin, accept the job.

OP, women are the only ones who can bear children. To make an allowance for this is trying to make what is a biologically unequal situation fair. You never know, said woman might take the minimum biologically driven leave and then her partner take the rest, ESP if he had access to any pay over and above maternity allowance.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 21-May-13 10:53:58

moomin, another one who thinks you should take the job. You have been selected because you are the best candidate for it.

I don't really understand why you feel there has to be this prior committment to the job op? If women are not allowed to change jobs and take promotions because of pregnancy there will never be change in the workplace and women will always be on the back foot when trying to forward their careers. So their jobs should stay open. It not only benefits women, but men also as their partners can continue to work and contribute to the family income. What if the father of the child is made redundant during the pregnancy, a woman is then out of work also as she has not completed her "qualifying period" for materntity leave and the whole family is out of work? What becomes of them all? It benefits not just the women, but society as a whole to ensure that women have full employment rights whatever stage they are at with an employer. Otherwise women, whether they choose to have children or not will always struggle in the workplace, as they will always "potentially leave" and be therefore judged "unemployable". This is an untenable position for any woman in the workplace.

Lambsie Tue 21-May-13 11:10:10

This would have meant that I could never have changed jobs in the six years that I was trying for a baby as it was always possible I could become pregnant between applying for the job and starting it possibly six months later. Was I really supposed to put my life on hold like that?

BearsInMotion Tue 21-May-13 13:24:50

It's massively problematic because it's making a judgement on how the majority of women would behave based on the experience of a few. I want to progress my career, an ideal job comes up, I apply for it. If I'm the best candidate I get the job. Why should I not receive the benefits I'm entitled to (I.e. the job being held open for me if I'm pregnant) just because some women may not come back?

My predecessor in this job was a man, who'd been in post for many years. He took three months paternity leave. The company thought, not worth getting in a temp, it's only three months. He didn't do any handover. He announced just before the end of his paternity leave he wasn't coming back. Left the company in a right mess. Do we deduce men with several years experience shouldn't be allowed paternity benefits? Or do we assume that the benefits to the majority make it worth compensating for the few cases where it doesn't work out?

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 13:35:07

moominlike - clearly you should go for the job. It is your right under the law smile Hope all goes well with both job and pregnancy!

I'm working through the other posts as it's a lot to think about. Scrubfowl - I did mention the unexpected illness scenario. Fact is, an employer can let a person go if their health makes them unable to do a job. Pregnancy is the only exception to this afaik, and isn't an illness anyway.

RunnerHasbeen Tue 21-May-13 13:50:44

I see it differently - by working there longer you become more valuable and important. If an employee is going to be taking a year off I would rather they did it early on. Why would six months longer make any real difference long term, when you look back over a five year period, say?

I know doctors in training who are almost encouraged to have children before they are full consultants, as their role is more easily filled while they are away. Most jobs are similar, the more experience you have of the role the harder you are to replace temporarily.

I always feel these discussions centre on the idea that ML is a privilege you need to earn and not a right that society needs to have in place.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 14:01:22

the idea that ML is a privilege you need to earn and not a right that society needs

I think my issue is that pregnancy doesn't just happen to you - not in the usual run of things, anyway. We aim to plan our life changes, including job changes and pregnancies, for best results. Doesn't always work out that way, but I'm thinking about responsibility. The pregnant employee and her partner are responsible for the pregnancy and have responsibilities to their employers.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 14:04:12

Sorry, forgot to directly answer your point there - I've not questioned the need for ML provision, nor that some employers disrespect it. My question is about whether it should apply from the very beginning.

sleeplessbunny Tue 21-May-13 14:19:42

There is still a significant gender pay gap. Women often settle for less (financially) than men, and have some feelings of guilt when taking maternity leave, even if they've been in the post for years and return to the same job (speaking from experience). It's because we are still measuring ourselves against a male-centric model of the working world.

(OK I have made some sweeping generalisations there but I think it makes sense)

Women have babies, men can't, that is something we are unlikely to ever change, so it is the workplace that needs to accommodate if women are ever to gain equality at work.

I agree it can be hard, particularly for small businesses, and I don't know what the "answer" is, but I believe recent mat/pat leave changes are in the right direction. It will take generations of tiny steps to change perceptions at work.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 21-May-13 14:29:59

What you are saying garlicgrump, makes it impossible for anyone to start a family. If an employer wants to start a business and make money from employees he or she is the one with responsibilities. An employee has to only abide by the terms and conditions of employment. Employee rights of any nature have been hard won and cannot be brushed aside under the belief that an employee has a responsibility to their employer. How can that be when an employee can be made redundant when it suits the organization?

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 14:55:22

An employee can't legally be made redundant just because it suits the organisation.

What I'm saying does not make it impossible to start a family! I'm just saying I'm not sure the law should support them starting a family whenever it suits them, even if they've only just started a new job.

Bunny: we are still measuring ourselves against a male-centric model of the working world. - I totally agree with this and am in favour of radical restructuring of working practices. What's bothering me is that pregnant people can start a job, knowing they're going to become unable to do it for a considerable time, and the law protects their position the same as if they were already a valued part of the workforce.

I have disabilities. The law says employers must make necessary adjustments up to the cost of recruiting & training a replacement.

If I'd already been working well for my bosses, the replacement costs would likely be higher as the new person wouldn't know the job as well as I did. So they would have to make more adjustments - this is what happened when I first got sick.

If I were to start a new job now, the employer only has to assess whether the adjustments would cost them more than recruiting someone else. (They would cost more, but even if they didn't the employer could say so.) Therefore it's up to me to evaluate what I can & can't do, so as not to piss off a string of employers by getting jobs that never start.

I don't feel the law owes me the right to start a job I know I won't be able to do properly. Why does a pregnant person not have to make similar provisions?

motherinferior Tue 21-May-13 15:00:12

I have applied for a job, and been interviewed for it, while pregnant. I'd have told them, I think, at the point of accepting it had I been offered it.

There aren't that many good, interesting jobs around in my field. I was a couple of months pregnant, still at a stage where it was quite likely I'd miscarry. I didn't feel I should pass up the chance.

Lovelygoldboots Tue 21-May-13 15:13:25

Yes it does, garlic. When you are TTC, you don't know when it will happen if at all. In the meantime you have to get on with the business of living your life and working. You can't just stop forging ahead. I was made redundant whilst we were ttc and had a mc whilst working my redundancy notice. I still had to work and find another job. You advocate cant advocate mat rights on one set of circumstances. It has to apply to all.

Kneebeefjerky Tue 21-May-13 15:34:40

I conceived 2 days before I started a new job. Had no idea till a good few weeks later when I had already started my new job and left the old one.

I had maternity leave but no maternity pay, only state maternity allowance.

OP what would you have suggested we did? My baby went into childcare at a few hours old and I went back to work?

Or perhaps I should have had a choice between abortion or the sack?

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 15:40:18

Oh, well. I'll have to give up on this. Good thing I'm not a policymaker, eh?!

It still seems to me that this particular provision is more likely to put employers off hiring and/or valuing female employees than any other. I've never actually worked with it - throughout my working life, maternity rights in the UK were an issue (there weren't any when I started.) Perhaps this informs my perspective. I am NOT saying parental rights are too much already - far from it! - just that I see this as particularly detrimental to employment of women.

Maybe I should be campaigning for fully protected disability rights. But employers have a right to expect work to get done. Oh ... <conks out>

Lovelygoldboots Tue 21-May-13 16:02:38

I know very little about disability employee rights. But we should all have a right to access gainful employment. What alternative is there otherwise? I do wish you all the best garlicgrump.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 16:08:59

Thanks, Lovelygoldboots smile

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 16:10:33

Small business employers get screwed every which way in all areas. It sucks that employees have all the same rights and entitlements when working for a small business (of say less then 10 employees) as a big company who hires thousands of staff where it is so much easier to accomidate all the differents entitlements.

For instance it is so much easier for a big company to hire a temp or get there hundreds of staff to muck in and cover the job then it is for a business who only has 6 staff members to cover leave, especially in a skilled job.

It also makes me furious when people say "couldn't you just get a temp" when talking about finding cover for someone in a skilled job where it takes months to train and that is if you can actually find someone who want to go to the length of training etc for the sake of a year. Plus you get left in limbo as to whether thet are coming back or not.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 16:16:44

Small businesses get a government kickback for maternity leave, don't they? No clue of the details, just recall seeing it on a Chamber of Commerce site.

garlicgrump Tue 21-May-13 16:17:33

... though I agree a couple of grand isn't the same as a person you've just trained into the job.

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 16:23:30

yes the employer can claim the money back but the money isn't the issue, it's the uncertainty of it all, the stress of re-hiring, training, finding someone who can/wants to actually go through all the headache of training for a job that is a year long etc then you are left in limbo whether or not they will be coming back. No one ever know where they stand on it all as the employee holds all the cards so to speak.

FasterStronger Tue 21-May-13 16:26:30

Small businesses get a government kickback for maternity leave, don't they?

the govt pays statutory ML and a very small amount on top to cover admin costs.

but it is not thousands and it is not a profit

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 16:30:42

Sorry i am just feeling abit peeved today because an employee, the one who does the job that without someone doing that job, the place doesn't function, told my dh last night that they are going in for an opperation next week and will be off maybe between 2-4 months or maybe longer and wouldn't answer whether they thought they would be back or not.

Trouble is to find someone to do this persons job is very rare because it's a dying trade and it will take months to re-train someone new and even then it is unlikely someone will do that knowing it will be for a few months. So my dh will be doing 18 hour days with me picking up the pieces in all other areas and i know this will not do my GAD any good at all. There is nothing we can do about it either, as the employer we just have to suck it up. I just wanna throw in the towel.

Emsmaman Tue 21-May-13 16:31:37

Until pregnant women and those on maternity leave are better protected, then no, I don't think it's wrong. After nearly five years service I got made redundant whilst five months pregnant, so didn't get company enhanced maternity leave I had planned on living off, nor did I get SMP, just basic MA. Although legally I didn't have to tell prospective employers of my pregnancy I chose to only apply for short term contracts and be honest at interviews. 3 years later my pay is 25% less than before redundancy and I cannot find a permanent job for love or money. In hindsight I should have gone straight for another permanent job whilst I had a strong work record with no "career break" on my CV or dependants, had a job to return to when DD was old enough for nursery and have a good, stable income to cover childcare fees. BTW I get asked about my childcare arrangements/plan for DD's sickness at every interview, by males and females.

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 21-May-13 16:51:49

Emsmaman it must work both ways though because do you think you shouldn't have been considered for redundancy because you were pregnant? I am not saying a woman should be the first to be considered for redundancy because she is pregnant or on maternity leave but surely she shouldn't be illiminated from redundancy either because she is on maternity or pregnant? Surley that wouldn't be fair on the other employees that they are condidered for redunancy but a pregnant woman is exempt?

roseum Tue 21-May-13 22:30:37

Its really difficult, I'm being made redundant soon, and have started looking for a new job. We are also TTC, because we're not getting any younger, if we don't start trying now, we mayn't be able to have another baby (took us 2 years to start our first, and DS was conceived 2 years ago, our fertility is only going to have declined since then).

But what can I do? I can't not work until I get pregnant and have another child, that might be years out of the job market (or forever, secondary infertility isn't unknown). Also I can't afford not to work while TTC just in case I put a potential employer in a difficult position; both financially and in terms of keeping career going I need to work. Also, there is no guarantee that a pregnancy will proceed smoothly, I might have a mc.

But I do worry that we might be 'lucky' this time, and conceive fast, in which case I'll feel like I'm treating a new employer badly (if I get a job fast) or go for interviews knowing I'm pregnant, which I'll feel uncomfortable about concealing, which would probably mean I won't get the job if I tell them...

In an ideal world, we could all conceive precisely when we want to, whilst in stable employment, if only....

maddening Tue 21-May-13 22:32:40

fucking humans hey chocolate - dam them and their organic puny bodies!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 22-May-13 08:05:10

Chocolate, that is hard on your DH but that person may well not know how they will recover etc.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 22-May-13 08:13:03

OP, don't forget that interview processes can take several weeks, notice periods can be 1-6 months and people can be TTC for years. "just plan it better" is not a reasonable solution. Not to mention that an awful lot of families do bear this in mind for their own financial interest.

Also, people can't be made redundant on a whim, but they can for an economic reason.

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 22-May-13 08:21:07

maddening yes and what people forget is employers are also human too. We aren't all big corpartate businesses with HR and other assorted departments to fall back on, we are a just like you, we also have families to support and (especially my dh) have health problems also. The attitude some people have to their employers (i am talking about very small businesses) can be shocking. Again we aren't all big CEOs making millions, we are little fish in the big sea just like you trying to bring up a family and make a living.

ivanapoo Wed 22-May-13 08:33:07

Chocolate it was your choice to start a small business, which comes with both great rewards and risks. Suck it up and put loads of non business stuff through the books to reduce your tax like every other small business owner I know does .

To garlic YABU. Do you also think peo

ivanapoo Wed 22-May-13 08:36:28

...People with medical conditions, depression, who play risky sports should also not be hired as they might have to have time off?

No woman would do this on purpose unless she was desperate for the job or it was a dream opportunity for her. Either way you are very likely to get a dedicated hard worker.

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 22-May-13 09:06:13

ivanapoo unfortunately it wasn't my choice to start a small business - i married someone who has a small business, a business that has run in his family for 60 years so it was kind of put upon him that he would carry it on after his father retired. If i had a choice we would sell it tommorrow but unless we are willing to give it away for peanuts because no one is buying nor do they have the skill and know how because it is a dying trade so yes i do suck it up.

I would never choose to be self employed in a small business - ever.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 22-May-13 15:30:01

Chocolate, if it is that stressful, can your DH sell the business and himself too ie he doesn't get much for the business but remains doing his trade on a salaried basis?

Since around 50% of the UK workforce works for SMEs, the chances are a lot of people on this thread do work for small employers. I have worked in the senior team of a small business where there were a lot of health issues, bereavements etc, from the managing director downwards. People bemoan their bad luck, juggle, work crazy hours, get stressed - none of it is nice but there are no alternatives to employing people with outside lives.

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 22-May-13 15:51:42

The Doctrine i am not sure what you mean when you say "can your DH sell the business and himself too ie he doesn't get much for the business but remains doing his trade on a salaried basis?"

I guess there are different levels of being a small business. We are just a small business with a handfull or so of staff - no managing directors or senior teams, just a small family business. The place does get very busy and to be honest i think if the place had sold when it was up for sale it wouldn't survive long because my dh is the business if you see what i mean. He has the kind of attitude where he is happy to make a good living but he isn't greedy so tends to keep the prices lower thus way we get so busy because people get value for money. I could see a new person coming in and putting all the prices up and shooting themselves in the foot because they get too greedy. Alot of people get put off because they look at the business and want to just run it from a managment view but it is a hands on job so whoever bought it has to have the trade experience and be hands on - they couldn't just run it from an office somewhere and not get their hands dirty.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 22-May-13 15:54:47

Oh, I meant that the buyer would employ your DH, so he'd get to do the job but have fewer worries. Of course that might not work.

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 22-May-13 16:08:34

Also i don't begrudge maternity leave or sickness leave and i don't think many do per se but it's when people take the piss that people are bothered about - small businesses in particular are very vulnerable when people take the piss because they don't have the fall back like big companies.

For instance an employee who had a key role in the business ie: without someone doing his job the business won't function, went off with backache and was on SSP. 2 days before his SSP ended he called up and said he was better and could come back to work.

Now i understand that people have backache and it's horrible when you have it, but it seemed odd that this man had made a miracle recovery 2 days before his sick pay was ending. So we decided to go down the route of writing to his doctor to get it confirmed he was ok to return to work because it is a manual job with some heavy lifting (unavoidable to do the job) and a lot of twisting to your back too. He had laid it on so thick about his back for 6 months we had to be sure he was fit for the job.

When you write to an employees doctor the employee has the right to see and edit the questions first. Well the employee was very angry that we were writing to his doctor and thought we were trying to prove he wasn't really ill when actually we were quite within our right to prove he was fit enough for the job which is what we were doing, not trying to prove he ^wasn't" ill. He handed in his notice over it and if staff seeing him out and about he tells them he was good as sacked which wasn't true at all.

Through one of my dhs friends a few months later my dh was told said employee had come into some inheritance money around the time he went off sick and dhs friend had also seen the employee playing golf several times a week over the past year.

Whether he had backache or not we will never know but i am pretty sure playing golf would play havoc on a bad back...

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 22-May-13 16:14:05

TheDoc - i see what you mean and for some that works, such as the newsagent up the road was sold but the old owner was kept on as an employee. Unfortunatly that wouldn't work for us, plus my dh does over 60 hours a week which also puts people off because it's very early starts and late finishes rather than a 8/9am - 5/6pm type role.

Booyhoo Wed 22-May-13 16:16:18

<only read teh first few posts>

so op you want women returning to work 2 weeks post partem? is that what you are saying? because if you are saying there should be a 9 month qualifying period before being entitled to mat leave then what do you suggest happens to the women who are pregnant when they start a job? (it isn't illegal to accept a job whilst pregnant- thank fuck!) do you suggest those women either leave the job permanentley meaning more recruitment for the company or that the return to work 2 weeks after the birth?

garlicgrump Wed 22-May-13 17:44:30

so op you want women returning to work 2 weeks post partem? is that what you are saying?

No confused

Booyhoo Wed 22-May-13 18:10:56

so what then? being sacked?

Booyhoo Wed 22-May-13 18:14:05

you dont want women returning to work after 2 weeks since giving birth but you dont want them having any maternity leave. i'm struggling with this one tbh. what is it you think should happen?

Alisvolatpropiis Wed 22-May-13 18:47:18


maddening Wed 22-May-13 22:00:28

no chocolate - it was your attitude of being hard done to when your employee is going for an operation - hardly sounds like piss taking or taking advantage.

yes some people do take the piss but this attitude to all sickness or maternity due to a few twats is wrong. And if your staff feel essentially accused of piss taking due to sickness because a few years ago Dave with the bad back was obviously pulling the lead then a happy working atmosphere would be lost - it's called good will and it can in return breed good will and loyalty.

there are plus side and negatives to having your own business - if you don't like it close shop and look for employment

Lollydaydream Thu 23-May-13 00:00:08

Whilst I agree that this stuff is hard on small businesses I think government should find ways to support small businesses rather than make women feel guilty for the fact they bear children.

Society (or government) has decided that women bearing children is a good thing; it has also decided women working us a good thing and has found a way to support women in bearing and caring for babies and then being able to return to work. We also realise that there is a lot of uncertainty in childbearing that makes a time limit unrealistic. There is a time limit on SMP that employers often use for contractual pay. When on mat leave you have the right to return to your job, or a similar one - there is flexibility there for employers. When you become an employer you do have to bear in mind that employees can leave you, at whatever notice is specified, leaving during mat leave is no different.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 23-May-13 00:06:29

Yy lolly

ChocolateCakePlease Thu 23-May-13 14:47:32

Maddening I do not think said employee is taking the piss for having an operation, how horrible would that be. The annoyance is you would know well in advance that you up for an operation, especially the kind he is having, so telling your employer a week before knowing your employer would be working nights as well as trying to do their already 12 hour day and has a young family at home is wrong.

We try to work as a team so when one does this it effects everyone, not just my dh.

It is your attitude I hate - fuck the employer, they don't matter because I am entitled to it type thinking. We are human too with families at home you know and if it were me I would have told my employer months ago I was up for an op and told them as soon as I knew when it was and gave them all the information I could, especially if I worked for a small family business who have very young kids at home to think of.

So yes attitudes do matter - for the employee too.

ChocolateCakePlease Thu 23-May-13 14:52:08

Also I am sure if I started a thread asking employers of all business sizes to list all the piss takes they have had from employees regarding sickness it would be a long one.

"dave with the bad back" is not just the only one.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 23-May-13 16:46:16

Chocolate, I do see your point. But if, say, someone had needed to be let go between when the employee notified you and when their name came up on the NHS waiting list, might it have played a factor in the decision?
Not necessarily at your workplace but at some people's. All the Dave with a bad back stories have counterparts in different organisations where someone has been treated badly by an employer. Which is why the only way it can be handled is to set out employer and employee rights in law and stick to them- anything more than that is a bonus.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 23-May-13 16:53:57

It's a bit like Sheryl Sandberg saying "discuss your plans for children with your employer" - a good thing to do if your employer is good, a bad thing if not.

ChocolateCakePlease Thu 23-May-13 17:02:22

I can't speak for other businesses but in ours there are two key roles i:e the ones who do the skilled production then there are the other staff who work in the shop. Said employee is a key worker - in this trade they are rare as rocking horse shit so when you get one you don't get rid nor are they easily replaced. So if he had said months ago we could have prepared, made arrangments etc for his leave and he wouldn't have been let go of because he was up for an op.

A number of years back an employee who worked in the shop was up for a knee op. She told my dh, kept him up to date and there was an awful lot of good will about it because everyone knew where they were on it. She had the op, recovered, came back and all was ok.

When staff come to work for dh they tend to stay for years. We have had some in and out staff but the majority become part of the place and customers love to see the same faces and they get to know the customers etc. Everyone is a team which is why everyone gets annoyed when someone lets everyone down.

Dahlen Thu 23-May-13 18:26:19

Another one here who agrees with Lollydaydream

If women stop having babies, our species will become extinct. Women make up 51% of the population.

Having children should have no more effect on a woman's career and earning potential than it does for a man's. Presently that's not the case.

It's unfortunate that this can negatively affect some employers, but what's the solution other than to make the female half of the population suffer? As a society we have to find ways of allowing our species to have the advantages of procreation (survival of the species, future generations to make up a workforce and pay tax), without penalising only the one half of society involved in that process.

Fathers who are sole/primary carers often report the same detrimental effect on their careers as women, but what they don't suffer from is the disadvantage of being perceived as "of childbearing age" with all the negative consequences that has on a woman's career before she's even pregnant.

Apart from the initial physical recovery period, I'd like to see the abolition of maternity leave and see it replaced with parental leave, so that a man who starts a new job with his wife 6 months pregnant could opt to take it and be the primary carer while his wife returned to work post partum.

IMO that would do more to remove the disadvantages faced by women than anything else. Until men and women face the same choices about career v parenthood, society is not treating women fairly.

maddening Thu 23-May-13 21:45:53

well firstly chocolate - my attitude has never been "fuck the employer" - I was in my last job for 11 years (applied for voluntary redundancy when they offered it out as business up for sale) - I was rarely ill, I worked much unpaid overtime, I worked hard.

You, however have an extremely aggressive attitude to your employees/ employees in general v unpleasant and unsympathetic. It is likely that they were on a waiting list and a cancellation came up - but by the fact that your employee "Wouldn't answer" re his expected return post op indicates that you as employers are not pleasant to approach about such things - good employers manage to maintain good relationships with their employees.

ChocolateCakePlease Thu 23-May-13 23:32:02

Well he wasn't pinned down and threated to answer if he wasn't coming back! Me, aggressive, yeah right. I am probably the least threatening, aggressive person one could meet. I have only met him once because he works nights. My dh went in and had a polite chat with him, the employee has no idea I am annoyed and it isn't something I would express to him if I saw him. My dh asked casually if thought he would be coming back or not, not in a "you must tell me now" type of way. No poking at his ribs to get an answer!

We have long term staff, the staff seem happy, they gets lots of perks and my dh is very generous with free lunches, christmas cash bonus, all of christmas and new year off, every weekend off, every bank holiday off plus lots more. We get loyalty because he is a fair boss but can get taken advantage off. I have gad so tend to be more anxious about everything anyway. We will survive, our situation has been worse.

ChocolateCakePlease Thu 23-May-13 23:43:26

Also, we have had staff work for 24 years, 22 years and the lady who just retired and is greatly missed was with us for 15 years. So we must be doing someting right - I a even held a member of shop staffs job open so she could have a 2 month in australia on holiday unpaid over and above her entitled holiday allowance. She expected to give her notice because it is a long time to have off on top of normal leave but I insisted she had a job when she got back because she was lovely and she is still there now 6 years later. Real mean I am.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 08:44:54

Choc, I am a small employer and it can be difficult. I do see posters talk about their employer like they aren't human and forgetting that employee and employers both have rights and responsibilities.

Mr bad back seems like a pita. I have no idea how you become less dependant on him but this seems necessary.

My main problem which I recently seem to have resolved: I am a young looking female employer in a very technical role and used to find it difficult to get male staff to accept my guidance in solving technical problems (even though I had more relevant experience). (1) i used to try to convince them I was right, now I give them the reasons why we need to do x, y , z but if they start to disagree, I listen to them, see if we need to change the plan, but if not, just say I have heard their comments, but I have said what is a happening and we need to move on (2) I put together a company handbook and put lots of thought into the section about what constitutes misconduct. This means I can fairly easily and fairly get rid of bad staff. Also we have a clear holiday booking process.

Did mr back backs operation comply with your holiday policy? If it did, I don't think there is any solution. If it did, I would emphasis you are doing him a favour and next time he needs to let you know sooner so the business doesn't let clients down.

Can you split up mr bad backs role, or give parts of it to others? It sounds like its just a matter of time before he does something else.

HopALongMcLimpyLegs Fri 24-May-13 09:21:37

I can think of quite a few situations whereI need medical treatment that would require time off at short notice and that I might not want to discuss with my boss. I have a right to a private life, and ifI was confident my boss was going to go home and discuss it with his wife, I might not be so keen to let them know it was happening that far in advance.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 09:31:49

if course you have a right to a private life - don't we all?

but you also have obligations under your employment contract. one of the reasons you have obligations is that your employer needs to plan so that the business can function.

you could just book an operation as holiday and no one need by any the wiser. you could resign from your role and no one need by any the wiser. but if you want your employer to do you a favour, they are going to need to know why. they also have obligations to your health and safety so need to know for this reason.

I think the starting point for each party is to act reasonably and expect to be treated reasonably. of course some people aren't...

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 09:33:00

if you want your employer to do you a favour = approve a holiday with less notice than company handbook states is required.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 24-May-13 09:34:20

Faster, wouldn't the operation be sick leave, not holiday?

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 09:38:19

you wouldn't just phone in sick the day of an operation would you?

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 09:45:39

how i deal with sickness is full pay is discretionary. so if someone gave warning for a planned operation, i would pay full rate, but if someone told me at the last minute they would have to manage on SSP after a small number of days (i forget the details of the contract)

as i said most people seem to be reasonable but people who are a pain really need getting rid of & i would not do them any favours. i would give them their legal rights and no more.

HopALongMcLimpyLegs Fri 24-May-13 09:57:47

My employer would not expect me to use my holiday to cover a medical leave unless I wanted to use it. And not only is it a small organisation, it's a third sector org do money is incredibly tight and my job is hard to cover. Two weeks notice is fair. Trekking them that you might need to go in to hospital at some point but don't know when our for how long so they can't make any actual plans probably doesn't even help the company.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 10:27:12

doctrine - i have done a quick check on the operation = holiday or sick leave.

and its not clear cut.

sometimes it will be better for both parties to agree it is holiday so the employee gets paid (whatever their contract terms regarding sick pay) and the employer knows in advance.

like most things, as long as everyone's sensible, something reasonable all round can be agreed.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 12:02:56

fasterstronger - you have gotten mr back mixed up with mr operation. Mr bad back left a few years ago after being appauled we wanted to write to his doctor to make sure he was fit for work because he got better as soon as his sick pay ended after laying the back problem on so thick for 6 months.

Mr operation is a currant employee. We treat holiday and sick pay as two seperate things. This employee will be entitled to SSP. SSP is done because you get payed from the 4th day you are off sick so it puts pay to people taking random sick days for a hangover/lay ins/can't be bothered days which used to happen often. Oddly no one has just one or two days off sick anymore - i guess when you know you won' be paid for 1 day off sick you think twice about it.

I want to get it across that i do not begrudge the poor man an operation and he has done what is required by law - given 7 days notice. That was not why i was peeved (i have calmed down nowsmile i was just peeved at the fact in this instance he could have been more helpful in the way he went about things. Phoning my dh up at 7.30pm in the evening and saying in a very grumpy unhelpful tone "i'm going in for an operation next week and i won't be back for 2-4 months or maybe longer" is not the way to go about things imo.

For instance the other employee last year who does a key role went for an operation on his hand meaning he was going to be off for a month because his job involves using his hands with pressure and he wasn't allowed to put pressure on it. He explained everything, said what was happening and when which meant the business could be planned around it and it all went ok. He had a completely different attitude and it all went smoothly because of it and i agree with fasterstronger when they say usually when an employee is helpful the employer is less enclined to do the minimum and more likely to to the favour.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 12:08:38

"I can think of quite a few situations whereI need medical treatment that would require time off at short notice and that I might not want to discuss with my boss. I have a right to a private life, and ifI was confident my boss was going to go home and discuss it with his wife, I might not be so keen to let them know it was happening that far in advance."

In our case my dh isn't just coming home and discussing it with his wife, i work there and i have a role in helping run the business, i do the wages and the bookwork as well as many other roles.

samandi Fri 24-May-13 12:13:31

Maternity LEAVE, no. Maternity pay, perhaps. I wouldn't disagree with shorter maternity leave though.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 12:17:03

"I think the starting point for each party is to act reasonably and expect to be treated reasonably. of course some people aren't..."

Yes exactly. For instance we have a (shop) employee who comes in, does the job, always helpful, does favours from time to time and acts reasonable and friendly to her employer. Last year she got married and was going to take a week unpaid holiday as holiday. We not only let her have the week off she wanted (that was outside her holiday allowance) but we also paid her for that week too so she had an extra week holiday. She is such a loyal member of staff and we showed gratitude.

Another (shop) member of staff has attitude, isn't nice to me, takes the piss at every oppertunity, won't dare start work 30 seconds before she has too, does the minimum she possibly has to so you know what, she gets the minimum from us required by law.

ChocolateCake you really need to stop digging.

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 13:10:01

horry you are a shit stirrer grin

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 13:28:52

What am i digging exactly?

I am reading your posts in some horror. You may think they show you in a good light but they don't all.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 15:29:50

Why because i reward good workers and not piss takers?

FasterStronger Fri 24-May-13 17:05:14

horry - which employment law do you think chocolatecake has broken?

I don't think she has but I am wondering what the issue is.

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 17:15:56

Sorry, I do sound very grumpy. I just get peeved off sometimes and let it all get on top of me. I am not mean to the staff, I keep my rants in my head. If something needs addressing work wise I will always do it in a polite manner and not show my annoyance.

One thing though, my dh went in to talk to mr operation about sick pay etc and said we would need a sick note or letter in the next few weeks and he said he couldn't provide one? I thought the doctor or hospital would provide one?

garlicgrump Fri 24-May-13 17:43:15

NHS guidance on fit notes, with links to govt info like this page.

Unless he thinks you're wanting him to bring a note in person, I don't see why he said he couldn't provide one! You need it by law, don't you?

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 17:57:14

Yes. Dh said he could post it and didn't give the impression he wanted it NOW, he just said casually in the next few week could he post it. Mr operation said he couldn't give one. Will have to look into this because it is very odd.

I think openly treating staff differently even if they take the piss breeds discontent.

I think discussing staff with other members of staff is unprofessional. Discussing your staff with your wife is normal, but once she works for you that line is blurred.

I don't think any law has been broken. I just don't think you're describing best practice by any stretch.

maddening Fri 24-May-13 21:09:29

It sounds like something major has broken down in that employee/employer relationship then - if he was always a v good and valued employee now suddenly being obstructive it sounds odd - is this a big life changing/risky operation? Maybe fear - I am recovering from a hernia op - v routine etc but even that brought it's worries and reovery has been tough so I could imagine that a big op could bring that out in a person - if he is worried about death, pain, how he's going to cope etc then questions about when he will be back and faff (albeit reasonable faff) about sick notes might seem like petty annoyances.

If you as employers and he as an employee are normally both reasonable and get on well then something is amiss - the only logical answer (if your husband's approach has been nothing more than appropriate and sensitive) is that the op man is shit scared?

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 24-May-13 21:36:03

Horry - I do not work for my husband, I am not his employee, I don't get a wage like the employees, the profits come in to our household from the family business. So no one is discussing staffs business with employees. We certainly wouldn't be discussing anything like that with staff.

Maddening he has been with us less then a year mr operation so he is a fairly new employee and my dh didn't see him that much because he worked nights. My dh discovered when mr operation left that a machine that only mr op uses has been broken through not using it properly. It is not a dangerous machine at all but it is going to cost a few hundred to replace a part for it. sad

TiredFeet Fri 24-May-13 22:06:42

I applied for jobs when pregnant last time, and didn't say. Because I have a condition that means I have a higher risk of miscarriage so there were no guarantees it would be ok. Why should I risk missing out on a job for something that in the early weeks is more a possibility than a probability?

garlicgrump Sat 25-May-13 16:59:15

Why should I risk missing out on a job

Well, I didn't suggest you should risk missing out on a job. I suggested you shouldn't take it for granted that your job would still be there for you, if you decided you still wanted it, a year and a half later.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 25-May-13 18:29:51

Op, so what is your reasonable alternative if a woman takes a new job when pregnant, or a man takes a job when his partner is pregnant?

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 01:08:33

Well, Doc, I gave up on reaching a firm position about halfway through the thread! Trouble with AIBU, hardly anybody reads the other posts; even the OP's own. Oh well.

I tend to feel that pregnant people who are just starting in jobs should probably be prepared to quit after/during parental leave. I still think they should get the pay they do now. Different employers would have improved policies, as they do now, and I'm sure most would be amenable to negotiation of some sort.

I can see this isn't ideal. As I also posted upthread, I have disabilities and am not protected to anything like the same extent. I realise pregnancy isn't a disability! But I recognise the reasons why I don't have that level of protection, and I'm not sure this particular concession to pregnancy is advantageous to women, in particular.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 09:06:39

Garlic, I did read all your posts and have just reread them all to make sure. But without an indication of what policy change you might be looking for, it is a bit hard to discuss further. So thanks for saying.

Do you see the point that, since it is only women who can get pregnant, provisions for pregnant women are not "advantageous for women", they are simply trying to level the playing field by providing protections for this natural disadvantage?

As women can be TTC for months or years, reductions in protections would make it less likely that a woman can advance her career by changing jobs etc if the protections diminish. Again, the protections are preventing disadvantage.

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 13:38:12

Sorry, Doc, my last post unintentionally seemed a bit stroppy. Yes, of course I see your points. I don't actually know what would be the best solution. Currently, I have some sympathy for employers who covertly discriminate against women of childbearing age because they have the right to go off on parental leave within months of starting a job.

It's an especially vexed question because all women aged under 50 are assumed to be of "childbearing age", therefore it becomes a matter of sex discrimination. Nonetheless, the current regulations do more than level the playing field. There's no other circumstance in which an employee can take a year off work, at short notice, and have their employment held open for them. It is quite a big ask of employers. It is certainly miles beyond what's available to other "naturally disadvantaged" employees.

The whole issue of childbirth & employment is complicated. It should really be addressed by massive forced restructures of working practices, imo, but for the moment I'm just looking at this little bit of the problem.

I don't know whether modifying the rules to re-instate a qualifying period would make a difference to the perceived employability of women. I assume this was evaluated before changing the law, so probably not. My post was prompted by a flurry of threads on Mumsnet, in which posters had started jobs while pregnant and seemed (to me) overly indignant that not everyone thought their right to continuous employment should trump their responsibility to their employers.

Under the current law a pregnant woman can, effectively, get a job nearly two years before she wants it, as insurance in case she wants to return to work post-baby. I can see why that might piss employers off!

You asked what policy change I might be looking for. I was looking for a discussion, really, not a policy change ... The idea I brought to this thread was that a qualifying period of 9 months would help to assure employers the women they hire are in it for the job, not as a pregnancy strategy. I still think people should get their money, just not the immediate future-proof guarantee.

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 13:38:34

Blimey, I'm sure I could have made that shorter! Sorry.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 14:41:39

Ok smile but honestly I think the statutory allowance is has to be the same for all. There aren't any other statutory rights that depend on length of service eg minimum holiday allowances, though employers can offer enhancements for longer service.

So if you were arguing that length of maternity leave should be less than a year for all, fine, but it doesn't make sense to vary the statute for some not others.

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 15:14:35

It's an interesting idea to model parental leave on holiday leave entitlements. Thanks for that! I just checked holiday rights on Acas. The conditions about leave accrual and notice could be useful. Obviously the length of time off would have to be much more for parental leave, but making the time proportional to length of service could work perhaps. I also see that statutory holiday notice is twice the time wanted on leave - if you translated this directly to parental leave, you'd be looking at two years' notice grin

Something on those lines might look more reasonable than blanket entitlement, though?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 15:43:20

Garlic, to be clear, I wasn't suggesting modelling maternity leave on holiday allowance, just noting that many employment rights have a legal minimum regardless of length of service.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 15:46:15

Where does the nearly two years come from? If a woman gets pregnant on day one of a new job, she will work for 7-8 months before having up to a year off, and it may well be less because of the lower pay.

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 16:03:09

YY, I said "a pregnant woman can, effectively, get a job nearly two years before she wants it, as insurance ..." 8 + 12 months = 20 months.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 16:23:54

But it's not "as insurance" because she is actually doing the job for 8 months!

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 16:34:01

Yes, and then not doing it for 12!

Iggi101 Sun 26-May-13 16:44:38

So 8 months of working in the post does not count as time when you're actually 'wanting it'? You aren't making much sense I'm afraid.
As far as other disadvantaged groups go, surely the point is that any female (gay, disabled, BME) can still be further disadvantaged by pg and maternity. It isn't about disabled women v. pregnant women.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 16:59:47

For up to 12. But it's still not nearly two years.

Lollydaydream Sun 26-May-13 17:29:17

'There's no other circumstance in which an employee can take a year off work, at short notice, and have their employment held open for them.'
Is childbirth, and childrearing not a fairly unique set of circumstances? (albeit universal) This isn't just about employers and employees needs this is about very young infants needs and the leave provisions at the moment recognise that young infants need their mothers (alter to parent if you prefer) and if society wants women to bear children, care for them in infancy and have a chance to recover from birth then it can at least guarantee them a return to their job (or similar role as I believe it is phrased).

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 19:34:31

I know. It's tricky confused

maddening Sun 26-May-13 20:12:56

And also after maternity leave the woman is able to do her job again - if you are never going to be able to do your job again then the employer/employee relationship cannot be expected to continue.

I do think that pregnancy and related laws are not comparable to disability laws.

maddening Sun 26-May-13 20:19:36

And the law being deficiant in one area doesn't mean it should be eroded in another.

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 20:47:09

Honestly, I don't know. I see all sides of the argument. Why should the leave entitlement not be proportional to length of service?

I don't fully buy into the "What if you get made redundant while TTC" or "What if you didn't know you were pregnant" style arguments. We've fought long and hard for control of our fertility. It is imperfect, but so is life: you can't always choose when you get pregnant, as you can't always choose when other big life events happen. The majority, though, do have control and laws are made for the majority.

Why is it so wrong to say "If you were TTC when you joined, and got lucky in your first month here, congratulations and we'll hold your job for 3 months (say)"? Is it really bad to suggest people sometimes need to take responsibility for balancing their priorities?

The questions would be different if we were frantically trying to repopulate the country. But we aren't.

Iggi101 Sun 26-May-13 21:00:38

You ask why leave could not be proportional to length of service. Maybe the length of leave is for the baby, who has no control over employment. If I had 3 months off only, I could not possibly have ebf my baby till 6 months.
One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage; but as you're only concerned about the 'majority' something affecting 20% presumably won't interest you hmm

garlicgrump Sun 26-May-13 22:49:10

I could not possibly have ebf my baby till 6 months

What did people do before maternity entitlements were this good? What do Americans do?

I don't see how miscarriages impact on the discussion. (Not still births or premmies, there are special provisions for them.)

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sun 26-May-13 23:02:16

Garlic, employers are allowed to provide enhanced maternity pay based on length of service if they want.

There was a BBC article several years ago saying 40% of pregnancies were unplanned.

Finally, it still goes back to the point that women are put at a disadvantage by being the child bearers and so the law is simply trying to level the playing field. A woman who is TTC will already be influenced by the SMP entitlement and/or any enhanced maternity pay to stay put whilst TTC rather than look for a new job. This already means she is at a disadvantage compared to a man TTC (though less so now perhaps with shared leave) who may feel free to look for new jobs throughout.

Iggi101 Mon 27-May-13 09:41:09

Our government, through the NHS, recommend ebf till 6 months, so it would be at counter purposes to this is maternity provision did not all ow for this for those who want to Different countries have very variable laws; I've no interest in copying ones with worse records than ourselves.

Can you seriously not see how mc impacts on a discussion of supposedly entitled women taking on new jobs whilst pregnant? My life was made hard enough by my rmcs without having to postpone applying for new jobs indefinitely while they were happening. You have a rosy view of how controllable fertility actually is.

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