If you are a business owner, you will (if you have not already) have to be capable of managing employee pregnancy and maternity properly.
An employer has an implied duty of care towards its employees and this is particularly the case when working with pregnant employees.
It is important that as the employer you fulfil your obligation of duty and care towards your employee as well as being mindful of the complex and vast legislation which governs pregnancy and maternity.
Pregnancy and maternity leave creates complex legal duties for employers to contend with. You will no doubt be asked a variety of questions by your pregnant employee who understandably wants to know how this new chapter of their life will coincide with their existing work life.
If an employer is not informed of its obligations and duties, a business can quickly be subjected to a discrimination claim due to its failure to comply with a certain obligation that the business was in most cases, completely unaware of.
Our team of experts are well versed with the complex laws surrounding pregnancy and maternity and can assist your business in dealing with this change in your workforce.
The best advice that can be given to business owners in this situation is to contact our specialist Employment Team as soon as you have received notification of an employee’s pregnancy.
Contacting our team early means that you can ensure that you are complying with any relevant duties and legislation from the offset which in turn, should avoid or at least create less issues when it comes to your employee going on maternity leave.
You should acknowledge your employee’s news by ideally sending them a letter confirming their pregnancy and anticipated maternity start and end date and outline their legal entitlements to the likes of Statutory Maternity Pay/Maternity Allowance.
Our specialist team can draft this letter for you which will assist both employer and employee understand clearly what is expected from both parties moving forward for this new chapter in your employee’s life.
Frequently Asked Questions
An employee has asked to take her maternity leave. Do I need to accept?
Yes. Any employee (regardless of length of service with the company) is entitled to a period of maternity leave which is usually twelve months.
However, a shorter or longer period can be agreed by both parties.
Do I need to pay my employee whilst she is on maternity leave?
Possibly. Most employees will be eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP – a statutory payment paid by the employer to the employee) which is usually reimbursed by the government subject to the employee meeting eligibility requirements set out by the government.
In order to qualify for SMP the employee must have been continuously employed for at least 26 weeks by the end of the Qualifying Week (which is the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth) and have normal earning that are not lower than the Lower Earnings Limit (a figure that changes each) for National Insurance Contributions (NICs) purposes.
If the employee does not meet eligibility requirements then the employer must formally notify the employee of the same. An employee can still qualify for Maternity Allowance if they do not qualify for SMP, which is paid for by the Government. More information is available here.
If you are unsure as to what payments need to be made to your employee then do not hesitate to contact our specialist Employment Team for a free initial consultation on 0113 200 9948.
An employee is saying that she does not feel safe coming to work. What should I do?
You should contact our specialist Employment Team immediately so as to avoid a Health and Safety and/or discrimination complaint against the business. Our team can provide guidance as to whether the employee’s complaint is likely to be founded and practical guidance as to how to deal with such a complaint.
Further, our team can advise as to the relevant risk assessments which employers should put in place when one of their employees become pregnant.
An employee has complained of unfair treatment/discrimination. What do I do?
Pregnancy and maternity discrimination claims are complex and common due to most employers not being fully aware of the legal obligations placed on them when one of their employees becomes pregnant.
Ideally, you should seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of any complaint as, it may be possible to rectify the employees complaint without it going further to the likes of an Employment Tribunal.
If the complaint is not easily rectified and is perhaps already in the Employment Tribunal stages, it is strongly advised that you speak to our legal team of experts on 0113 200 9948 as soon as possible so that they can assist in defending any complaint early with a view to lessen the risk of being found ‘guilty’ in relation to the findings of any such complaint.
Why should I choose Oakwood Solicitors Ltd?
You will have a dedicated advisor who will see your claim through from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have.
Your case handler will also continue to provide regular updates until the conclusion of your claim, ensuring the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.
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