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First employee pregnant, I want to do it right!

(10 Posts)
birdsnotbees Thu 12-Oct-17 13:32:10

I run a small, successful business, tough industry but a happy ship. My first employee told me off the record last week that she's pregnant - I'm really happy for her.

But I've never done this before and, worse, she's sworn me to secrecy and doesn't want me to tell my business partner until the 12 wk scans. But at the same time needs time off for appointments. So, how do I handle that one?

And can anyone give me any practical advice? I am worried about the impact on my small business - we're successful but we don't make mega-bucks (maybe we will one day but the company is 2 years old, so any profit goes into the business/investing in my staff). Will it knacker it?! Has anyone been through this process who could offer me a bit of a hand hold?! I know that sounds wussy but I've got NO ONE to talk to.

I want to do it "right". I'm making my business an inclusive, equal place but sometimes being the boss is a bit lonely.

mollifly Thu 12-Oct-17 18:58:21

Firstly, well done you for been a human boss that actually cares about employees!

The first thing i would say is that if you have said you will keep the information confidential then you must do so. Anything else would be breaking her trust and when you are pregnant it is really important you can trust people. The fact that she's told you shows she must really respect and trust you.

Have you got a maternity leave policy? If you what does this entitle her to? Legally you must give her time off for appointments related to the baby and you are in your rights to ask for appointment cards. You must also do a risk assesment when she informs you in writing. She won't get her MATB1 until 20 weeks and this is when she must start thinking of how long she will take. Look into Stat Mat pay to see if she is entitled to this. It's good to already be aware of it so when she asks you about it you're pretty set up.

You also need to start thinking about cover and how you will manage to either afford to pay someone to her job or without someone in the role.

I know this probably won't help but did not want to read and run!

prh47bridge Thu 12-Oct-17 20:33:18

If she is eligible for SMP you will be able to reclaim 92% of it from HMRC. If you qualify for Small Employers' Relief you will be able to reclaim 103% of her SMP. That won't help with any contractual maternity pay but it will minimise the impact of SMP. Depending on the role you may find that you have to pay a higher salary for a replacement because it will be a short term role.

You need to do a risk assessment to make sure you have considered any risks to her health and safety or that of her baby. If any risks are identified you must make reasonable adjustments.

birdsnotbees Thu 12-Oct-17 22:20:09

Thanks both, I really appreciate it. We don't have a policy yet but I'm looking into that now. ive told no one (not even my husband) but it doesn't sit well with me. I won't tell anybody though, how could I? I'm already giving her time off for appointments, that's fine. My biggest worry is keeping the business going, just really worried about whether I can afford to pay her and someone to cover... argh!

prh47bridge Thu 12-Oct-17 22:55:14

Unless there is something in her contract about maternity pay you don't have to pay her anything other than SMP whilst she is on maternity leave. You can choose to do so but you don't have to do so.

birdsnotbees Fri 13-Oct-17 07:21:03

Thanks, there isn't so we're under no obligation to pay anything other than smp. I'd like to make sure she has a good period with full wages. I'm going to do the maths today. I feel a bit calmer this morning! I love running a business but managing staff and balancing their needs with the overall business needs is hard. The worst thing is that it's just a job to them, but it's my whole bloody world (& I earned a lot more before I started it up!). But then I do love it and it was my choice hmm smile

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 13-Oct-17 07:25:06

Birds as a fellow small business owner I would love to pay OMP, but the truth is I would earn less money if I did.
Many, many business ( even very big ones) pay just SMP, so in the absences of a maternity policy your employee should have made her decision based on only getting SMP. Making her pregnancy easy by correctly complying with the law and being compassionate and ensuring that you handle maternity leave correctly is the right thing to do.

birdsnotbees Fri 13-Oct-17 16:01:16

Thanks Lonecat. I suspect the reality is that we will just pay SMP as there will be other costs like recruitment and training her cover, KIT days and so on. Good to hear from a fellow small business owner!

LonginesPrime Fri 13-Oct-17 21:03:52

Hi OP, firstly it's lovely that you're being such a compassionate boss!

I just wanted to put something else out there, for your own protection:

You said she's sworn me to secrecy and doesn't want me to tell my business partner

And it's great that you're keeping her confidence. Probably fine, but if you have any sort of partnership agreement/contract/arrangement with your business partner, I would just have a look at whether you have any obligations to disclose material things to your partner, or not to conceal them.

From what you've said, it sounds like this situation could potentially put some strain on the business, and obviously it will depend on the nature of your partnership arrangement, but you wouldn't want to be in a situation where your partner makes any decisions that would have been different had they known what you know.

ShiftyMcGifty Fri 13-Oct-17 21:07:17

She told one of her bosses but doesn't want the other to know? Er, she doesn't get to decide that.

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