The current rules for maternity leave for small businesses who employ specialist professional staff create real problems.
The problems are:
1. You can not hire temporary staff to handle the work. Suitable staff are looking for full time positions.
2. By law you need to keep the job open for 12 months and can then find that your employee wishes to resign.
3. Expecting other staff to cover for a prolonged period of time is just not reasonable and the business suffers as less work can be done
4. Dismissing the employee opens the business to a sex discrimination case and the risk of damages.