Maternity Leave Implications
One of the things which shocks many families when they take on a nanny is the fact that they become an employer. Many families think that recruiting a nanny is like hiring a babysitter for the night – cash in hand, say goodbye when you come home and see you next time.
Employing a nanny is much more involved than that – you are an employer, you need to pay tax, issue payslips etc. There is help at hand along the way, don’t worry, not just from me but from other organisations like the nanny payroll companies, however, one subject which still causes a stir, is dealing with a pregnant nanny and all that that involves.
One of the big concerns is maternity pay and there are two main options SMP and maternity allowance and I’ll talk about those but there are other points to consider too.
Let’s start at the beginning. As I always say, communication between nanny and family is critical and it’s no different when you’re discussing maternity leave, a subject surrounded by emotion. Remember that your nanny may be nervous telling you – she’ll understand that you’ll need to find maternity cover – but also, she’s likely to be very happy about the news too! As an employer, share in the happiness, quell any nerves and arrange to go through the details – when maternity leave will start, how it will work etc, say a week later once the news has sunk in and you’ve reread this blog!
Your nanny must tell you that she’s expecting, 15 weeks prior to her due date. Usually she will tell you before then but if she doesn’t and you suspect she might be pregnant, best to wait until you’re told.
Your nanny is entitled to attend medical appointments and still be paid.
Pregnant nannies are entitled to 52 weeks’ maternity leave. During that time, they continue to accrue holidays and pension contributions.
When it’s time to return to your family, your nanny should agree the date with you – don’t assume it will be 52 weeks exactly from the date they started their maternity leave! They may want to tag on holiday that they’ve accrued, they may want to return early. However your nanny wants to approach it, she must give you notice: returning early requires eight weeks’ notice. You may then have to give notice to your maternity cover nanny so it’s important it’s all in line.
The maternity pay
Just as you likely received maternity pay when you or your partner was expecting your children, nannies are entitled to the same. It falls to you as an employer to pay the SMP benefit but, and here’s the important bit, you can claim it back.
Statutory maternity pay (SMP) is paid to nannies who have worked for you for 26 consecutive weeks before the notification week (per above, 15 weeks before the due date).
• 6 weeks at 90% of nanny’s normal weekly gross salary
• Remaining 33 weeks are at the standard SMP rate (£145.18 at the moment) or nanny’s weekly salary, whichever is lower.
Nannies are not paid for the remaining 13 weeks that they’re entitled to take as maternity leave. You can pay more if you’d like but you can only claim back the SMP. To claim back the maternity pay, your nanny needs to provide you with a MATB1 certificate which they usually receive at the 20 week scan.
It’s important to note that if your nanny has worked for you for less than 26 weeks, she is still entitled to the leave but she’s not entitled to SMP. In this scenario, your nanny may be eligible for maternity allowance: there are several criteria such as has she been employed within the 66 weeks before her due date for 26 weeks?
Communication and contact
I’m a big advocate of communication between nannies and families – for everyday issues as well as bigger issues like having a baby! But when your nanny is on maternity leave, you have to think twice about how much you contact her.
Reasonable contact is to send good wishes when the baby is born and then towards the end of the leave, to initiate conversations about when she will return. I’m not saying you can’t contact your nanny more than that but it all depends on your relationship pre-baby – this is a good thing to discuss before leave so that she doesn’t feel neglected or conversely, harassed.
On the flip side, maternity leave includes ten KIT (keeping in touch) days. It is rare but your nanny can come back to work for ten individual days during her leave and it is considered work. She is entitled to her pre-baby rate of pay for the day or days’ work; remember that you will have to pay for your maternity cover’s day too even though she’s not working. As I said, the use of KIT days is rare.
Regarding returning to work, your nanny may suggest that she bring her new baby to work. This does happen and isn’t unusual but it isn’t an obligation that you have to fulfil. If you don’t want your nanny to bring her baby, then, sensitively, you must broach the subject when it’s raised. There can be positives to a nanny bringing her baby too so don’t dismiss it immediately – give it some thought.
A pregnant nanny can seem like a daunting prospect but it doesn’t have to be. Communication is key – except when she’s on maternity leave – as is managing expectations, both yours and hers about how the time will play out. If in doubt, you know where I am and I’m always on hand with maternity cover nannies should you need.