I had a question from a Club last week which left me entirely speechless:
“My admin assistant is on maternity leave, has been for about 6 months I think, and is due back soon. How do I work out when she is due back?”
The problem with the question is that the date of return should have been agreed BEFORE maternity leave started.
We ensure all of our clients discuss and draw up a maternity plan with their employees, and once we have the MATB1 (at 24 weeks), we’re then able to finalise the dates for maternity leave departure and return; as well as what holidays will be taken and when.
But here’s the problem: in the golf industry (and other industries too), the majority of club managers are male, while the overwhelming majority of admin assistants are female.
This often means that when someone in the office gets pregnant, there’s an assumption that they’ll sort it for themselves.
And that was exactly what had happened in this case.
The admin assistant had been told to contact us to “sort out everything” regarding her maternity.
There was no check on whether she had actually done it or not, which meant that we didn’t know there was anything to chase.
All she had done was make a written note on a rough piece of paper in her own personnel file stating “Take all 2017 holiday before I go, come back 1 October???”.
In the end we were able to infer from her payslips that maternity pay had started on 1 January 2018, and in turn we were able to produce a return date and framework for all of them to work to.
You need to agree a return date before your pregnant employees leave.
Then you can plan for the length of cover, if you need it, and they know by when they need to submit a flexible working request if they want to change hours before they return.
Even if the pregnant employee works in the office with you, you need to be as much on the ball making sure everything is documented as you would be with someone in a different department getting pregnant.
DON’T delegate to them to self regulate, that is only going to end in (your) tears!
If you’re stuck or you don’t know where to start, we need to talk…