I am currently on maternity leave and plan to return to work around Feb, I work for a small business with about 5 staff including the owner. I am the first woman to get pregnant since she has owned the business (27 years) and to say she is clueless about the law would be an understatement. Before I left I said I MIGHT want p/t when I return and she looked horrified. I am trying to decide what I want to do and know I need to contact her to find out what the options are but am not sure how to put it to her, when I asked her what my rate of pay would be before I left she replied I would probably treat you as a locum . I can not plan anything until I know what my pay would be as I need to work out childcare costs, so How do I approach it ? I need to know, Pay-how much and how my bonus would work if p/t, Chances of getting p/t ? But I don't want to end up saying I want P/T and her not accepting then having to leave before I planned to start as I can't afford to loose SMP (if that makes sense?) How to I put it to her that p/t would be workable ? at the moment I am the only person doing my job but there is a trainee who is pretty competent and I think he could cope on the two quieter days on his own, she is always concerned about profit so if I work on the busy days only she would reduce costs but still have the staff when needed, is this likely to be a good suggestion ? There are loads more things I need to think of but any help would be appreciated.
You don't need to contact her to find out the options. You decide what you want to ask for and put in a formal request for it.
Your pay would be pro rata what you were earning before, so obviously if you were working 5 days a week and reduced to 3, it would reduce by 2/5.
Chances of getting it? No idea obviously, without knowing the ins and outs of your role and whether it will work. Chances will be much much higher if you can demonstrate why your request will be good for the business, not detrimental, and if you put forward an option that is easiest to accept.
Not sure what you mean by having to leave before you start if she says no.
You can't lose SMP once you've qualified for it - you don't have to pay it back if you don't come back to work.
Read this section of the government website to see how to make a flexible working request.
If the firm's finances are a bit of an issue then saying she would save money as she wouldn't need someone new to do the work on the other days does seem a good argument. Be careful you don't talk yourself out of a job - you don't want her to think the other person could do all of your work, presumably for less money.
In your position I would go through my finances, what I really wanted to do etc, then I would ask for an informal chat about it, rather than wading in with a formal request straight away (but you should make it clear to her that you have a right to make a formal request as she may not know). You could suggest something like a three month trial period.
I'm in a similar position to you. I also work for a small company with little experience of maternity leave / flexible working etc. After an informal discussion my boss, she basically said no to going 4 days a week after m/l. Gutted was an understatement!
However, I put forward a proposal a week later, including a 12 week trial (using holiday I will have accrued whilst on m/l). I stressed how much want to return to work, how I love my job, that I'm committed to the company etc but also how I need a day at home with LO. I also proposed a more junior member of the team (who will be covering some of my role whilst i'm on m/l) retains some of the responsibilities she'll be given, thus alleviating my workload and allowing me to perform to the same standard, just over 4 days instead of 5.
She seemed to take my proposal seriously, although I am still waiting for an answer! I don't expect one until I'm actually on m/l early next year, but at least I've been honest re my plans and got the ball rolling.
I would suggest doing something similar. Just try and put a positive spin on the situation and be honest. I always think employers appreciate honesty.