We know that it can be daunting for a small business when a female employee announces that she’s pregnant – how does maternity leave and pay work? How will we cope without her? What if she doesn’t come back to work? What if she does come back and her child is ill? The questions are endless. However, it’s your duty to make sure that she is treated equally. A woman’s decision to start a family doesn’t have to mean game over for their career.
It’s 2017, so you might think that we’re past the stage where these kinds of things are still burning issues. The statistics speak for themselves though. According to the World Economic Forum, it could take another 170 years to eliminate the gender pay gap. And the fact that women are more likely to take on childcare responsibilities can play a big role in how they’re able to pursue opportunities.
Ensure you’re embracing legislation
Legislation exists to ensure that employers fulfil their legal responsibilities and there have been several developments in recent years designed to support working mums; for example, shared parental leave.
Employment law can seem complicated and overwhelming, but it exists to ensure that there is fairness and equity in employment. Use it to your advantage, and in a way that supports your staff.
Search for solutions and opportunities instead of problems
If you run a small business and an employee announces that she is pregnant you might feel slightly apprehensive at first. Regardless of how much you want to support your staff, the reality of having to navigate through the changes can be overwhelming.
Instead of just looking at the potential problems though, examine the opportunities. Is there another member of staff who can step up and cover the role? Could this be an opportunity to introduce more flexible working practices? How can this situation be turned on its head to make your workplace a better place?
Speak to your staff
You already speak to your staff regularly, so this might seem a little bit obvious. But do you actually have meaningful, honest and open conversations with them about how you can support them as they navigate their way through key life stages?
New mothers are likely to be apprehensive about the changes a baby will make to their lives and they are also likely to be worried about the impact this little person might have on their job. Rather than assuming you know what she might want or need, ask her. It may be the case that small changes to your policies and practices could make a big difference to your workforce.
If you know that you need to make changes to give various populations of your workforce a better chance to thrive and succeed, then there’s no time like the present. Please get in touch by completing the Contact Form or calling us on 01604 763494 to arrange your no-obligation discussion about your options, and how we might be able to help you.