Managing parental leave and maternity pay for a small firm may be difficult.
There’s a lot to think about: the employee’s legal right to quit and compensation, as well as the company’s overall requirements.
Many issues, such as maternity rights and parental leave, needed to be addressed quickly, so we decided to compile a list.
Rights to maternity leave
New and pregnant mothers should seek maternity leave in writing at least 15 weeks before their due date, with a MAT B1 form proof of pregnancy and a due date supplied after 20 weeks.
Many workers desire to work as long as possible before the baby is born, taking advantage of unused vacation time before maternity leave. So talk to them about it.
No of how long they’ve worked for the company, employees may take up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave — 26 weeks of regular leave and 26 weeks of additional leave – starting 11 weeks before the due date of their child. All of their contractual rights, including wage raises and vacation accrual, are preserved during this time.
Please keep in mind that although both terms refer to time off to care for a new baby, they do not mean the same thing.
After the term of usual leave, the employee has the right to return to work. If this isn’t possible after they go on further vacation, you must offer them a job with a comparable position, income, conditions, and expectations when they return.
Employees completing 26 weeks of employment before the 15th week and wages of £120 or more per week are entitled for statutory maternity benefit or, if not, maternity allowance for the first 26 and first 13 weeks of additional leave.. The next 13 weeks, however, are unpaid unless their contract specifies otherwise.
If they don’t seek it ahead of time, maternity leave will begin on the due day. After giving birth, the new mother must take two weeks off, or four weeks working in manufacturing.
Workers who work for an agency on a casual basis or a zero-hours contract are not eligible for maternity leave.
In the event of a preterm delivery, a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or a baby’s death after birth, your employee will still be entitled to statutory maternity leave.
Then there’s the “sickness trigger,” which allows for immediate absence if a pregnancy-related ailment occurs within four weeks of the due date.
Employer responsibilities in terms of payment and leave
The majority of statutory maternity pay may be recovered from HMRC – up to 103 per cent if you paid less than £45,000 in Class 1 NICs and are qualified for Small Employers’ Relief.
Payroll software can assist, and businesses with less than ten workers may utilise HMRC’s basic PAYE capabilities.
Employees who take up to 39 weeks of maternity leave are entitled to statutory maternity pay (SMP). Workers must earn at least £120 per week, provide adequate notice, present the MAT B1 as proof of pregnancy, and have worked at least 26 weeks with you by the 15th week before the due date to be eligible for benefits.
How much does SMP cost? It’s 90% of your employee’s pre-tax average weekly earnings for the first six weeks — earnings that include bonuses and commissions, not simply pay. After that, whichever of £151.97 or 90% of their average weekly wages is lower.
Even if you quit trading, these fees must be made.
Enhanced maternity leave is an optional perk offered by certain firms to their employees. Family-friendly policies have been shown to boost employee retention by encouraging a healthy work-life balance.
Parental leave in other forms
A biological father, the mother’s partner, or the mother’s husband who has worked with you for more than 26 weeks and will be helping to raise the kid may take up to two weeks of paternity leave, beginning after the delivery and ending within 56 days.
Returning rights are the same as during maternity leave. Employers may opt to give increased paternity leave in the same way they might offer extended maternity leave to attract and retain workers.
Unpaid parental leave is a legal right that lasts for 18 weeks for each kid until they turn 18. It must be taken in full weeks and is restricted to four weeks per year with at least 21 days’ notice. Employees who have worked with you for more than a year and are parents are eligible. When a kid is impaired, taking leave might be more flexible.
Shared parental leave regulations allow for up to 50 weeks of leave leave and up to 37 weeks of paid administrative leave after the birth of a child…. The six weeks following statutory maternity pay have the same eligibility and compensation. This is a lengthy process that needs advance planning.
Other factors to consider
Employees may work up to 10 paid “staying in contact” days during their maternity leave — they’re not required, and you can pay whatever you like as long as it’s more than the national minimum wage.
These may be beneficial in assisting a new parent’s return to work and may give an ideal opportunity for continued training and fulfil your requirements to inform workers about promotion possibilities and any organisational restructuring that may impact them.
Conclusion and our opinions
Apart from all the details of the regulation, which is complicated and varied, there’s a lot to think about for company owners.
The key worry for many business owners would be how to handle pregnancy and leave difficulties while keeping the firm running at optimal efficiency.
To protect your business, you might require pregnancy confirmation, prenatal clinic attendance, and paternity leave eligibility.
A good rule of thumb is to find a balance between being sympathetic to the anxieties of potential and new parents while also keeping them know that you have a company to manage. Allowing staff to communicate their objectives can help you regulate the process. You can’t ask whether they intend to return to work, but you have to assume they will. If they don’t return, they must provide you contractual notice. However, small business owners must balance discipline and pressure while considering the impact over-reach may have on the company’s future.
Employees want to feel appreciated and cared for, particularly when a big life event occurs, such as the birth of a child. Pregnancy, delivery, and the first few weeks and months of a baby’s existence can be an extremely emotional and hard period for everyone involved.
Communication is crucial, as it always is, in achieving beneficial solutions to all involved.