The Federation of Small Businesses has called on the Government to ease the burden of maternity rights on small businesses.
The government relies on employers to administer Statutory Maternity Pay, but bans them from asking mothers when they expect to return to work, making it impossible for businesses to plan ahead, the federation said.
The organisation is calling on the government to take two simple steps to relieve the pain for employers.
First, mothers away on maternity leave should inform their employer on a monthly basis whether and when they intend to return to work.
Second, Statutory Maternity Pay should be paid directly to mothers by the government.
Peter Firth, from the Equal Opportunities Commission’s pregnancy taskforce said: “The reality is that mothers and pregnant women can experience discrimination in the workplace.
“But the reality is also that employers find administering maternity rights a headache.”
“The government should take back responsibility for paying Statutory Maternity Pay, and open the door for more dialogue between mother and employer about when she expects to return to work.”