Whether we like it or not, the beauty industry is one which is dominated by women. As the vast majority of your staff are likely to be female, before long someone will want to start a family and you will need to be sure that up-to-date with all the current maternity laws.
This blog is not here to outline all the laws and regulations associated with maternity leave, but it is important to stress that how you handle the situation is as important as adhering to the law.
When your employee announces that she is pregnant, whilst you will undoubtedly be happy for her, there is now the potential headache of dealing with maternity leave and cover. The first thing to do is ensure that you are fully aware of what you must offer, what is optional and the timescales for all of this.
You will want to make arrangements surrounding cover but it is important that you do not push to find out how long your employee will be on maternity for and whether she is intending to come back to work. These are all things that are subject to change as time goes on, and she may not know what she intends to do. A lot of mums need to see how they and the rest of their family cope with the new arrival before making any decisions about returning to work. Whilst it helps you to know these things, she has the flexibility of the law on her side.
You must be aware of what your employee is entitled to with regards to the amount of leave and what she will be paid. You should also familiarise yourself with other entitlements such as holiday and sick pay and how these will be handled. You need to be sure of what she is entitled to before she goes on leave, when she comes back and if she decides to return. You cannot claim ignorance on any of these aspects, as short-changing a pregnant woman or new mum is something that is taken very seriously.
In this line of work you also need to be clear on what treatments your employee can continue to offer and how long for. Contact your suppliers to check whether there are any products that she should not be in contact with, for example, some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. You will then need to make arrangements to work around this.
It is worth remembering that the laws for employed staff are different to those who are self employed. Anyone who rents a space from you rather than being paid a wage are considered self employed and will have to look into their own maternity arrangements.
The admin aspects of maternity leave may cause you a headache, but it is important not to let this impact on your employee. By working together and handling the situation sensitively, you will not only stay within the law, but also take a lot of the stress out of the process for both of you.