I believe having a baby is a luxury in the current economic climate and SMEs should not be expected to foot the bill.
Maternity leave was designed for large corporate firms. It can have a devastating impact on an SME. If you only employ three or four people and one of them goes on maternity leave, it can cripple your business.
I am calling on the government to look at the way it legislates for maternity leave and to recognise that we are not all multinational corporates.
I used to live in Central Manhattan. Here female employees typically get just six weeks of unpaid maternity leave when they have a baby. I think this is a much fairer system.
If someone wants to have a baby, then good for them. But it is their baby and their decision.
The employer was not consulted in the making of that baby so I am not quite sure how in the UK the employer has ended up being responsible for paying for it.
Having a baby is a luxury in this economic climate and if you want to purchase that luxury item you need to take responsibility for doing it.
I believe that the current UK system, in which employers pay 90% of a pregnant worker's salary for the first six weeks of maternity leave and must hold their job open while they take up to 12 months off, places an enormous burden on SMEs, in terms of cost, time and administration.
People tell me that the government shoulders the cost of maternity leave, but this is a nonsense. You have to pay for a temporary replacement to take her role and you have to pay a recruitment company to find someone to fill that role.
Your clients wonder where your employee has gone and who the hell is looking after them anymore, and you have to spend time training up a new member of staff that you never wanted to have to do. I am seething with rage about it.
If you find out you are pregnant you simply hop on-line and print off pages and pages of 'The Things You are Entitled to When Pregnant'. These include paid time off to attend antenatal and relaxation classes.
I took just two weeks maternity leave after the birth of each of her three children. I recognize that maternity legislation has gone too far. Women are effectively legislating themselves out of the game.
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