Common myths on dealing with pregnancy and maternity leave

by Nadine De Souza

As an employer it’s important that you're on top of the current legislation in relation to pregnancy and maternity. Read on to find out if some of the common myths in this area are true or false.

Q.  As an employer, I’m not allowed to get in touch with my employee about work once she’s on maternity leave.

A.  False. You should keep in touch with your employee during her maternity leave. This is particularly important if she’s at risk of being made redundant. 

Before your employee goes on maternity leave you can ask your employee how she prefers to be contacted. Your employee has ‘Keep In Touch’ days, so you could use those to update her on workplace news.

Q.  I won’t have to pay my employee maternity pay if I make her redundant.

A.  False. If your employee qualifies for maternity pay and you make her redundant before she starts maternity leave but after the 15th week before the baby is due, then you still have to pay her maternity pay.

Q.  I make sure I treat all my employees equally, so there’s nothing else I need to do.

A.  False. Pregnancy is a special situation and your employee is sometimes entitled to be treated differently to make sure that she isn't disadvantaged.

Q.  If I am re-organising my business, then everyone has to apply for their jobs again.

A.  False. If there is a re-organisation and there are suitable alternative jobs, then these must be offered to pregnant employees and those on maternity leave.

Q. I can’t criticise my employee’s performance or conduct if she’s pregnant because that’s discrimination.

A. False. Although you must not underestimate pregnancy-related illness and fatigue, this doesn't mean that you cannot discuss your employee’s conduct.

Q.  I can’t make my employee redundant because she’s pregnant.

A.  False. If it’s a genuine redundancy situation and you’ve been through the correct procedures, then you can make your pregnant employee redundant.

Q.  I’ve only got ten employees, so the maternity protection laws don’t apply to my business.

A. False. The maternity protection laws apply to all businesses, whatever size they are.

If you want more in-depth information – from an employment lawyer – about all aspects of employment law, then read our guide Employment Law Made Easy. Packed with tips and expert advice on complying with employment legislation.

To protect your business, why not download our Maternity Leave Policy so you have a company procedure in place.

Other information

External links

Published on: March 20, 2014

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