There is certainly a lot of help on hand for the latter, whether you look at ACAS or use an HR Consultant to help you navigate your way through.
However you do have to identify two key factors for yourself; how you wish to interpret and implement what is legally right versus what culture you have and secondly how you plan for your business to continue to grow and flourish in a person’s absence. The second point is even more challenging when they are truly central to your business.
The law is fairly transparent over what a company has to do in terms of pay for antenatal appointments, when mat leave starts, holiday entitlement etc but speaking from not just this but my own personal experience of having two children, pregnancy is not always plain sailing for a person and can cause severe tiredness, feelings of being unwell but also uncertainty and fear.
What’s more, particularly when having a first child, the employee is going through one of the, if not the, most life changing experiences they will ever have and this cannot be underestimated.
Personally, I have felt that it is really important to try and be as understanding and flexible as possible and to be open and transparent with communication. It is key for both parties to be aware of each other’s expectations and keep chatting as things progress. I think it is fair to say that the circumstances can change very quickly and at any time so the sooner a plan is put in place the better!