SME Owner Concerned About Maternity Leave Request
Charlotte Ratcliffe is the owner and director of Ratcliffe Resourcing, a health and social care recruitment company. Her small business has two employees and for a while she handled all HR duties herself, including contracts and leave entitlement. Having worked at a senior level and familiar with HR policies, practices and regulations, she was comfortable taking on the responsibilities. That all changed when an issue with an employee surfaced.
“I knew it was something I couldn’t deal with because I hadn’t had any experience of it,” said Charlotte. “The employee had just joined the business and asked for maternity leave. I realised it was quite a sensitive topic that I shouldn’t be doing myself.”
The legislation governing maternity leave is complex, and managing it can be challenging for any employer. There are so many aspects, such as pay, pension contributions, holiday entitlement and coming back to work. Owners need to know the full range of employment rights that pregnant women are entitled to. Not only is that fair to employees, but the legal consequences of getting it wrong can be serious. So, Charlotte reached out to Gap HR.
“Carolyne and her team are very confident and knowledgeable, and it’s good to have someone to talk to because running a business can be a lonely job. They provided us with a really good resolution that worked out well for both sides.
“It was great to have their support so I could give the employee the correct information. It is good to know what you can and cannot do and what you can and cannot say in that situation.”
But this wasn’t the only tricky employee situation Charlotte had to contend with.
“I also had a performance issue with an apprentice, a very young girl with all sorts of problems. It was a really sad situation and there were problems with how she was dealing with clients and candidates. We lost a few clients actually.”
Charlotte, once again turned to Gap HR because she needed to know how to handle the situation. The apprentice had been with her for eight months and she was unsure as to whether she had to honour the rest of her time. Or let her go.
“Carolyne said that we obviously needed to speak to the college, and she was really supportive. Like maternity leave, there are lots of rules and regulations regarding apprenticeships. The college agreed that we couldn’t really move forward with her.
“She had other problems she was bringing into the office and so we had to let her go. Carolyne helped me with what I could and couldn’t do bearing in mind the girl’s situation.”
In addition to helping Ratcliffe Resourcing out of a couple of potentially difficult staff situations, Gap HR has updated the company’s contracts and is on hand to offer advice when required. This is a service that Charlotte values highly.
“I’m aware that if there are any changes in legislation that could affect my business, Carolyne will get in touch. It is good to know there is support if I need it.”
Director – Ratcliffe Resourcing