MANY small business owners will admit (amongst friends) the thought of one of their staff falling pregnant terrifies them.
Not only will they lose an experienced and competent staff member, they then have to find someone they can train to the same level and then fork out maternity or paternity pay.
For an SME whose books are just balancing, it can be crippling, and more than one business owner I have spoken admits they avoid employing women of a ‘certain age’.
However, offering childcare options, including links or discounts with a local crèche or nanny, could in fact help SMEs in the long run.
A spokesperson for Expert Market said: “Losing a valuable member of staff is always going to be a hardship, but there are steps SMEs can take to minimise the disruption and cost.
“By providing childcare options you are reminding your employee they are valued, which always helps with their productivity and loyalty to the company. It also means they don’t need to worry about their child, allowing them to concentrate more on the task in hand.
“It also saves you money. Have a trusted childcare option in hand encourages mothers to return back to work sooner, meaning you get your employee back sooner.”
Around one in five British businesses (18.3%) at least support their employees in finding, organising or financing childcare services.
The spokesperson continued: “While it is encouraging that almost one in five businesses help new parents with their childcare, we think the more that is done to help your employees, the greater the return you get as a business. So we would like to see this figure rise over the next few years.”