Laura and her partner have had an exciting morning.
They just found out they are expecting their first child.
Over the moon, Laura practically skipped to work to tell her manager, Hilary.
Hilary congratulated Laura and told her that she would need to inform the HR team and the person responsible for H&S of her pregnancy so that they could carry out risk assessments and give Laura the information she needs.
The HR team have told Laura that she’s allowed to have paid time off for any pregnancy related appointments.
Laura asks “how long do I get off for my appointments?”
Hilary tells her it’s a “reasonable amount of time, but up to a maximum of 6 hours”.
So, Laura then asks if she can just take 6 hours off.
Hilary explains again that the time off is for her to get to her appointment, have the appointment, and get back. It’s not there for her to just take the full 6 hours if it only took her 30 minutes.
Laura then asks “well, how much will I be paid while I’m at my appointments?” and also “what if I decide not to drive to that appointment and take the bus instead? That will take 4 hours instead of 1 hour”.
Hilary says she will check with HR and come back to her.
“Yes, of course Laura is allowed to attend the appointments, and we absolutely would not ask her to make her time back. While she’s at her appointment she just gets paid as if she was here” is the response from HR.
Hilary then asks the question about public transport and the HR team are a bit confused (as I’m sure anyone would be) as to why someone would choose to spend 3 hours on a bus to go to an appointment. They confirm with Hilary that if Laura drives and has her car with her, then its reasonable for her to take her car to the appointment.
Ahmed has now completed Laura’s first risk assessment and is having a catch up with Hilary, where he tells her about any adjustments they need to make to Laura’s role to ensure she’s safe in work.
Laura works in an office, so there’s no risk in terms of any chemicals. But Laura works in admin and her job involves ordering stationery and putting it in the stationery cupboard when it arrives. Some of the boxes can be quite heavy. Ahmed has advised Laura not to lift anything heavy and to ask a colleague to do this for her.
Laura’s next meeting is with the HR team and Hilary to discuss her maternity leave. They discuss with Laura her maternity leave entitlement, the earliest date she can start maternity, if she’s entitled to maternity pay (or if she has to go to the job centre), what happens to her holidays and what happens with her pension.
Once all of these are out of the way, Laura informs Hilary and HR that she is planning on coming back to work after 3 months and would like them to put this in the letter confirming her maternity leave dates.
Hilary thanked Laura for the information and said to her that they were not going to be putting this into the letter.
Laura became a bit annoyed at this and demanded to know why.
Hilary explained that while Laura may feel right now that she will want to return to work after 3 months, having the baby may change her mind and Hilary did not want Laura to feel pressured into coming back to work after 3 months just because she’d said that before the baby had arrived. Laura asked what would happen if she wanted to come back early from her maternity leave and Hilary explained that she would just need to give her 8 weeks’ notice in writing.
That’s something people normally say to you on 31st December while giggling to themselves. Laura took great pleasure in giggling to herself as she walked out of the door on her last day in the office, with flowers and gifts to start her maternity leave.
Hilary and Laura had agreed that they would keep in touch by telephone and email during Laura’s maternity leave.
Hilary reminded Laura that if she wanted to come into the office to see anyone and have a catch up then she was more than welcome to. She also told Laura about keeping in touch days – days where she can come into work and get paid but it doesn’t affect her entitlement to maternity pay.
Hilary was conscious that she didn’t want Laura to miss out on any opportunities that came up while she was on maternity leave, so asked Laura for her personal email address and explained that she would send Laura details of any job vacancies that came up while she was off.
While Laura was on maternity leave a Team Leader job came up and Hilary sent her the details. Laura decided that she’d like to apply for this role and from there got invited to an interview, which she aced, and then was offered the job.
Before Laura came back to work Hilary arranged for her to come in and have a cuppa (and maybe a biscuit or two) so they could have a chat about what had happened in work while she was away, what processes had changed, and what would happen on her first day back. On her first day back Laura felt a bit overwhelmed, but Hilary was there in reception waiting for her and welcomed her back.
If you’ve just been given the news that someone in your team is expecting and you’re not quite sure what you need to do, just give us a call.