The perfect job: But what about maternity leave?
Posted on Friday, December 22, 2017 by MSS Team — No comments
It’s typical, you’ve finally managed to land your dream job after signing up to a recruitment agency. You’ve passed your three-month probation period with flying colours, and are just starting to find your feet in a role you absolutely love. But now you have to inform your employer you’re having a baby, will be going on maternity leave in a few months, and could be taking the next year off of work. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But don’t panic, you’re not breaking any rules.
Odds are employers, especially large established firms with lots of staff, would have seen many employees go on maternity leave over the years, and would have similarly seen employees come back from maternity leave, and settle into their full-time, or negotiated part-time positions once again.
Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), found that 28.6-years-old is the average age for a woman to have her first child in England and Wales, (33-years-old for men). Employers should automatically assume that a full entitled 52 weeks for maternity leave will be taken by their pregnant employee, unless stated otherwise, and rest assured you legally have the right to come back, employed, 52 weeks later.
However, there are legal processes that need to be followed. The thought of your beloved job getting taken on by someone else, or if you return to find out you’re being moved to a new position is scary! And technically, can happen.
If 26 weeks maternity leave, or less is taken, the employee is legally entitled to return to the exact same job role. Similarly, if more than 26 weeks is taken, the employee is generally entitled to return to the same job on the same terms, unless there is a genuine and good reason why this is not possible. This is called the “reasonably practicable” test. A good example is a genuine redundancy, or if the returning mother wanted to go part-time in her role, in which case, the employee must be offered a job which is both suitable and appropriate for her when she returns.
According to PwC, 1 in 4 (23%) women believe there is a negative bias on the part of their employer towards women with young children looking to return to the workplace. Yet enabling them and others to work on a flexible bias has been shown to reduce absenteeism, boost productivity and enhance employee engagement and staff loyalty. Josephine Fairley, the co-founder of Green and Blacks chocolate, found that women who returned to work after maternity put more of an effort into their working day than ever before.
There are now more women in the UK having babies over the age of age of 40, in comparison to those under the age of 20. This could be a new trend, one in which women are choosing to fully settle into their careers before starting motherhood.
If you’re looking for temporary maternity cover, or are thinking of starting a new career, get in touch today. MSS has a team of committed and dedicated recruitment professionals striving to provide the highest quality of service, to both employers and candidates.