Advanced search

mumsnet work

Find the perfect family friendly job

First pregnancy, first job in a new industry - please help

(1 Post)
Mrsmkat Thu 24-Jan-13 19:42:53

Hello mumsnetters, I hope you can help me. This is my first post on here so I apologise in advance for not following any required MN etiquette.

I am a chartered accountant who career changed last year. I spent a year full time at culinary school in 2012 and finished my qualification at the end of the year. I have just started (about 2 weeks ago) a new job as a pastry chef. I am also approx 14 weeks pregnant.

As this is my first baby and my first job in a food career I just have a couple of queries.

My new employer is great, I took the job as I like the work (good commute, cuisine I like and freedom for me to run the pastry section as I see fit) but it's a small team (3 chefs and it's very hands on). I went for an unpaid trial (standard) and they offered me the job on the spot. I was 11 weeks pregnant then. I was meant to have my 12 week scan the next week. It then took a little while to agree a start date so I started the job the same week as my 12 week scan (I was actually 13 weeks along by then). The day after I had the 12 week scan I asked to speak to my employer (my 2nd day at work) but he was busy and fobbed me off (he tends to do that quite a bit) and he only spoke to me when I insisted the next day. I told him that I was pregnant and I wanted to declare this up front as being such a small team I needed him to think seriously about how this would / would not work for him and/or his business (baby due July) before we went any further.

His reaction wasn't exactly positive - but he did congratulate me at the end of the working day. I put his awkward reaction down to shock maybe.

Anyway that was about a week ago. I have since worked every single day and clocked up about 60 hours of labour. I asked about paperwork and getting an employment contract set up and he was very casual about it - I asked again middle of last week and he said he would get round to it. I can't help but think he is dragging his feet as he doesn't know what to do about my pregnancy.

I then had another chat with him saying that while I understand we are allowed to eat anything from the kitchen as a lunch meal, I would like to bring in my own food (salads, fruit etc) from time to time as I need to graze during the day ((due to "morning" (which is really "all day")sickness)) and so I might have a quick snack (literally 2 minutes) in between doing one task and the next. I explained this was also because I have gone off quite a lot of food and don't always fancy the daily soup / hot pot / sandwich of the day served where I work.

I also had to mention that I would need to take an actual break at lunch (this is not standard - the other chefs, all male, barely eat, take no breaks other than multiple fag breaks and eat standing up) but I do really need a sit down half way through the day and I had to ask for a chair.

I am not very familiar with the law (not UK born) and have always worked in very corporate ie EXTREMELY compliant, formal enviroments where one would never start work without a signed contract, payroll forms completed, etc etc

It is starting to worry me (the dodging the contract bit), the not knowing my actual rights in this industry and honestly whether I can work these sorts of hours in that envronment while carrying my little one. Sorry to ramble. My questions are:

Is it unreasonable to request a proper break (ie half an hour - SAT DOWN - , actual break) when working a shift that is 7am to 5pm (this is standard) even though no one else seems to take one?

Is it unreasonable to push and insist on a formal employment contract / confirmation? I have already clocked up 60 hours with not even 1 form or paper filled filled - I am worried about making a fuss until they at least pay me (mid Feb pay date) because right now, legally, I think they could actually not pay me if I leave /if we fall out.

How do ante natal appointments work? When I asked the head chef about this he said he would schedule my days off on those days. I read that I am entitled to paid time off for them - is that the same as having my days off as well? That said, I am not sure if my days off are paid or unpaid as I have no contract? Do I have to take those appointment as my days off? That means I will never have a weekend off in the next 6 months as obv there are no ante natal appointments over weekends. A man would never be in that position so is that fair?

Please help any legal eagles / employment or HR experts / hospitality careeer veterans.

Thanks so much. Sorry for the length!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: