Ideas/help for negotiating mat pay?

My company was a family company that's grown. The workforce is 90% male and a lot of them work on the 'shop floor' so the benefits are few and far between. My contract does not mention maternity leave. I enquired of the person who runs the HR files and she directed me to gov.uk. Not terribly helpful. My boss (owner of the group) will find it hard to negotiate with me (he doesn't like negotiation or confrontation, but loves to get his own way) and he was pretty peeved when I told him I was pregnant. He was polite, but pissed off. And I know he's made comments to others about it since.

I can farm out maybe 20% of my work to my team, but that's it. They'll need to get someone in from an agency. I am hoping to mitigate the need for this but potentially we're looking at a  lot of hassle for my boss and minimum financial cost to them of 15k, up to a heck of a lot if I can get a more generous package.

We have a new HR person starting next month on a p/t basis. I figure I can use them as a mediator in the process.

As it stands it looks like I am only entitled to Statutory pay, so 6 weeks, 90%. Potentially, if I'm rough near the end and forced to take those 4 weeks, it leaves me returning after 2 weeks (or maybe 3 if I have held on to some leave). Which is pretty depressing and I know I couldn't do it.

My contract entitles me to 8 weeks full sick pay and 8 weeks at half. I wondered about using that as a negotiating point and asking for 8 weeks fully paid mat leave on the basis that I am the only one in the management team not on a performance bonus, I have and will have delivered well, and therefore am a valued member of the team. So I would be looking for the 8 weeks on top of my 6 statutory, as a simple freebie.

Does that sound reasonable and not that I am taking the mickey? I always want to be in the position of giving more than taking and don't want to jeoardise my working relationship with my boss over this. I love working here and would like to be here for several years (which is an unusual position for me to be in).

Any ideas on how to approach or anything I am missing? Thanks for any help!

«134

Posts

  • Obviously I don't know the ins and outs of your role or your company, and my concern over this may be invalid because of that, but why does not receiving a performance bonus mean you are any more valued? I've not been in this position but I'd probably try and swing it more on a I'll be able to come back when I'm ready and put my all into everything again rather than having to come back because I have no option and resenting it, etc. But obviously a lot more 'work' appropriate - why its beneficial for them to pay me whilst I'm off etc.

  • I thought SMP was paid for up to 9 months?  So 6 weeks at 90% and then the remainder at 130 ish quid per week?

  • If an employee is eligible for SMP, for the first six weeks you must pay them at the rate of 90 per cent of their average weekly earnings. For the next 33 weeks you must pay them the lower of the following:

    •£136.78 for pay weeks commencing on or after 7 April 2013, and £135.45 for pay weeks commencing on or after 1 April 2012 and up to 6 April 2013

    •90 per cent of their average weekly earnings

    For an employee to be considered eligible for SMP, they must have:

    •worked for you continuously - full or part-time - for at least 26 weeks up to and into the 15th week before the week the baby's due (the qualifying week)

    •average earnings at least equal to the Lower Earnings Limit (LEL) for National Insurance contributions (NICs) in the qualifying week - for 2013-14 this is £109 a week and for 2012-13 this is £107 a week

    •given you the right paperwork confirming the pregnancy and sufficient notice of when they would like the SMP payments to start

  • I'm not sure why you say you will have to go back after 6 weeks ?   The legal requirement for statutory maternity pay is that you receive 6 weeks at 90% of your salary followed by the remainder of 9 mths at the SMP rate which is currently aroud £130ish.  

  • Pepperoni

    Obviously I don't know the ins and outs of your role or your company, and my concern over this may be invalid because of that, but why does not receiving a performance bonus mean you are any more valued? I've not been in this position but I'd probably try and swing it more on a I'll be able to come back when I'm ready and put my all into everything again rather than having to come back because I have no option and resenting it, etc. But obviously a lot more 'work' appropriate - why its beneficial for them to pay me whilst I'm off etc.

    I probably worded it wrongly! What I mean is, as the only one not getting a bonus, I think I should be awarded paid maternity leave. Instead of, as it were. 

    I get what you're saying about coming back early and feeling resentful but I can't really sell it to them as me coming back ready to put my all in, because it's expected anyway, if you see what I mean. I don't hmaxi hours stated in my contract because I'm to do whatever the role requires. If I can't perform the role, I can't stay. 

    I basically want an angle to justify extra money, that they'd find hard to refute.  :)

    I'm quite new here and assumed we'd either not get pregnant or it would take a very long time. This conversation (with my work) would have been much easier if it were later down the line.

  • Tbh I don't think you have much leverage at all. If a contract is silent on maternity leave I assume there is no enhanced package and the employee would be entitled to smp only. Obviously I don't know your working relationship but I cannot see why they would agree to pay you more than they are contractually obliged to. Obviously this is not ideal for you but is what you are entitled to. Good luck hopefully you can negotiate something more!

  • jelly baby

    I'm not sure why you say you will have to go back after 6 weeks ?   The legal requirement for statutory maternity pay is that you receive 6 weeks at 90% of your salary followed by the remainder of 9 mths at the SMP rate which is currently aroud £130ish.  

    Ah, I didn't explain that I'm aware of the SMP rate. That rate just doesn't help at all and isn't a factor for us making the decision. Our outgoings mean I need to be earning a wage :) We'll already feel is bit of a pinch with pay cut 10% but think there are some savings we can make that will mitigate that, although not cover it.

  • Kind of with JRJ. Other than pointing out why companies would pay others more than SMP (and I do believe its to motivate the employee to come back, personally) then I'm not sure what other leverage you can put out there.

  • I'm not sure of the ins and outs of the bonus and sick pay arguments. However, the point that you can use to negotiate on is this:

    I have worked here for xx years. During that time I have achieved xxxx and xxx.

    I have contributed xx and xx to the company.

    I really want to continue working here, and see this as the place I'd like to work for the next few years. I see that I can contribute in xxx way in the future which will benefit the company by xxxxx.

    Would you be willing to enter into an agreement with me whereby you pay me xxxx for xxx weeks on the basis that I agree to come back to work for xxxx period of time.

    Obviously you would need to fill in the blanks. This is basically the agreement that a lot of companies and places like the NHS have for enhanced maternity pay. You agree to have extra benefits on the basis that you will come back to work. Otherwise point out to him that he is obliged to hold a position for you and you do not have to resign until the end of your full maternity leave (depending on your notice period for your job). This way he will know you are coming back and you will be able to afford to take a bit more time off.

  • Cedar - thats how our place works. We get XX pay if we come back after XX time for XX period of time.

  • Strictly speaking we don't have a policy so I'm hoping they may even offer something more than the bare minimum once they've considered it. (Wishful thinking perhaps!!)

  • I would think that were an employer to negotiate an enhanced maternity package for one employee they would have to offer it to all.  

    Oh, and I know I have a chip on my shoulder about this so apologies, but to some people the rate of SMP is pretty much their wage ... and by some people I mean me ... so to say "I need to earn a wage" can be a bit insulting.

  • I'd start by asking for 6 months / a year full pay. Clearly he'll say no but might give him an idea of what you're expecting!

  • tbf JB, I just took "need to earn a wage" as "need to be earning my normal salary", it's just a turn of phrase?

    Counter could you not negotiate a performance bonus instead if you are only member of management team not on one?  And save that towards mat leave?  then you'd get that every year too, but doesn't give them a headache of coming up with a maternity policy whereby their staff would be entitled to 8 weeks full pay (because I can't see how they could do that for you but not for the other people in the organisation who could go on mat leave)

  • Could be worth looking at what other employers within your industry offer and using that as a bargaining tool.   Within my industry no one pays more that SMP because we are a female heavy, low paid industry so it just isn't worth their while.   Mr JB used to work in financial services, as do several of our friends, and the norm for them is 6 mths paid.

  • Oh Cedar, thanks! That's what I would do but I only joined 5 months ago! Which explains why he's annoyed :)

  • What JB said.

    Also, as you have already said your boss is not happy with you getting pregnant and you haven't been there long I'm not sure how well it will go down you trying to negotiate more money out of him.

  • Counter - very possible, our company only introduced a policy this year and it was because someone was pregnant.

  • I think you're trying to take the mickey a bit tbh. The fact that the workforce is mainly male is irrelevant; unless a specific maternity package is stated in your contract then SMP should be assumed, for which you already knew the amount (and Imp has quoted above). If you knew you could only afford to take 6 weeks off work while the pay was at 90% of your current wage, and you are aware that if you are ill with a pregnancy related illness you boss is entitled to force you to take that SMP from 36 weeks, then it was clear to you from the start that you could easily 'have' to return to work when your baby is 2 weeks old (what if you have a c-section?)

  • As the others have said. You are entitled to SMP after the 6 weeks. Pretty standard and if I was your boss I wouldn't negotiate over mat pay at all. Sorry but you haven't been there long enough really.
«134
Sign In or Register to comment.

Featured Discussions