Advice required.. My business partner is pregnant just started up what are my rights?

Discussion in 'West Midlands' started by Mandarine, Feb 2, 2016.

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  1. simon field

    simon field UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    At the end of the day she's lied to you hasn't she?

    Once a liar, always a liar - I'd not continue in business with someone like that.
    Posted: Feb 5, 2016 By: simon field Member since: Feb 4, 2011
  2. Mandarine

    Mandarine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Simon never really looked at it that way but it is a fair point ...
    Posted: Feb 5, 2016 By: Mandarine Member since: Feb 2, 2016
  3. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Actually it's a load of crap, from what we read she never said she would not get pregnant and as the maternity leave is a long time away she has opened negotiations about maternity leave and has even offered to reduce the amount she takes

    So where is she a Liar

    The OP has months to sort things out and yes it will be a inconvenience at times as she will need additional time off for the infants colds and problems, but they are PARTNERS for better or worse and this was one of the most obvious scenarios that should have been thought out fully before they became partners. She owns 50% and so does he and the point is the word OWNS
    Posted: Feb 6, 2016 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
  4. simon field

    simon field UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    She said she would work. Now she says she wants time off.

    The two things are opposite, read the post.
    Posted: Feb 6, 2016 By: simon field Member since: Feb 4, 2011
  5. Mandarine

    Mandarine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    She had not offered to reduce the amounts she takes , and I am happy for her to be pregnant as her friend but it does not make business sense right now , she did say she would work and now going back on her word ... We are in the process of growing the business but had to put a hold to it so we can manage the situation and agree on what is best for the business and herself... I understand in the future she might need time off for sickness and so on with kids that is not an issue I am not an ogre just someone who is ready to get places, I have 2 children myself and waited for them to be older so I could dedicated myself to a business of my choice ...
    Posted: Feb 6, 2016 By: Mandarine Member since: Feb 2, 2016
  6. UXDesigner

    UXDesigner UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    if im honest i wander what kind of business partner you are . she is pregnant and you are already looking at ways to rid yourself of her. basically you never had any intentions of being a partner but were just looking at a way of setting up a business without incurring all the costs and now that things may not work out to your advantage you want her out .if it were me i would be happy for her and at least wait until the baby was born before i made any harsh decisions. maybe you will be lucky and the baby never be born, would that make you happy ?she could carry on buttering bread for you and never know how callous you are
    Posted: Feb 14, 2016 By: UXDesigner Member since: Feb 13, 2016
  7. consultant

    consultant Your Business Community Staff Member

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    First thing is that regardless of all of her intentions to not get pregnamt, she did - biology is an amazing thing and unless she has since told you it was planned or she was trying all along, it is just one of those things - you said that you are happy for her - let her know you are.

    As for the business, as there are no contracts, she is not an employee and, therefore, possibly does not have a right to salary (seek professional advice on that). You have done what to many other start ups do and not agreed on the details of the business relationship (shareholder agreement etc). So, you could let her keep her half, not pay her (so you can pay someone else) and she comes back on pay after maternity - who knows, she might not want to come back.

    You could dissolve the business and start again without her. If you took this route, you should reimburse her for all of her investments in the business.

    In your case, from the tones of your post, as hard as it is, the second might be the better option. You will lose a friend, but it will not be the last one you lose in business.
    Posted: Feb 14, 2016 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
  8. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    This is sounding stranger and stranger. You and her are self-employed people. You choose to take a regular drawing from the business, and hopefully this amount is always in the clear, and the business is, over the year, profitable. I'm sure at some point both of you have wondered where next months drawings are coming from? You are both aware of how much slack there is in your system. How on earth does she expect to suddenly find the extra running costs of an extra person to replace her. She's entitled to nothing from the Government. Exactly the same issue would happen if either of you were ill, or hospitalised. Have neither of you ever spoken to each other about how the business would manage illness? I'm a sole trader, have been totally this status since 2004, when I stopped working for somebody else and running my business part-time. I have always been aware that illness can cripple me in more than one manner! I created a financial 'cushion' as an emergency fallback - and I have used it a couple of times when I was injured while working. Having a month with no income hurt a bit, but I managed. Now I've got a friend in another similar business and we help each other - I take on some of his work when he is unable to do it and vice versa. You seem to have not planned for this at all. Pregnancy in relationships that often comes suddenly and without planning - hardly a one-off in the world. If you two are serious about the business, you have to talk about it - face-to-face and sort it out.

    IS the business buoyant enough to cover the cost of the maternity cover as an extra, not a replacement? If it is, and you value her input, suck it up. Then when you break your leg in a years time, she can cover you.
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  9. Paul Norman

    Paul Norman UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Indeed. Sensible post from Paul above. The facts are this - you have started a partnership/business relationship of some kind without properly setting out the terms. And now you have hit your first snag, you have to sit down and negotiate.

    Forget your first question 'what are my rights'. You have none. What are your responsibilities? Many.

    But first, you have to put the business onto a proper, thought through footing, and because both of you failed to understand this most basic concept at the outset, either or both of you will now be at a disadvantage in the negotiations. But you have to do it, because there could be further matters that need to be anticipated -what if, as mentioned above, you become incapacitated? What if either of you decides to call it a day? What if the whole thing goes up the wall? What if it takes off big time?

    A good partnership or shareholders agreement is vital from day one. especially if you are friends or family.
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: Paul Norman Member since: Apr 8, 2010
  10. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    What does that have to do with the price of fish?

    Women entrepreneurs start businesses all the time. If they then fall pregnant and need / want time out, they take the revenue hit. This is business, not a job.

    Is it your argument that because this woman has a business partner it should be the business partner who takes the hit?

    I suppose you think this is fair on the business partner (... and all those plucky women entrepreneurs out there who don't enjoy the luxury of having a man partner to pick up the slack and finance their maternity leave).

    To the OP: If your version is true, ditch her now. Wind the business up, cut your losses, move on, start again on your own. Don't, and you'll probably regret it later.

    This is from someone who's seen dozens of cases like this where early warning signs were ignored; it just causes larger problems later, especially when it comes to raising finance for growth or selling the business (which I what I help owners with and where I come across cases where both parties would have benefited if they had parted a long time ago).

    And the next time remember to draw up an agreement first.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2016
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  11. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    She does have rights a partnership is taken as the governments basic interpretation if no other agreements are in place
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
  12. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    I'm no lawyer but from, what I understand, The Equalities Act, 2010, if that's what you're referring to, is very limited in what protection it provides partners who go on maternity leave. And that protection expires two weeks after birth. She seems to be confusing this with a job.

    The OP said:
    My advice to him is still to get shot of her - any partner who doesn't care if the business survives or not is a partner not worth having. He does need to tread carefully to not appear discriminatory, but there are many ways to skin this cat.
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  13. simon field

    simon field UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

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    Well said.
    Posted: Feb 15, 2016 By: simon field Member since: Feb 4, 2011
  14. Nochexman

    Nochexman UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Interested to know what you decided to do, Mandarine?
    Posted: Feb 22, 2016 By: Nochexman Member since: Jun 14, 2011
  15. Mandarine

    Mandarine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hi all, I would like to thank you all for yours answers/ opinions on the subject.
    My business partner had a miscarriage so as you can imagine I am leaving her some breathing space so she can deal with her loss.
    In a few weeks I hope to be able to talk to her to see where she stands regarding the business and becoming a mum as I am sure and hope she will get pregnant again and have a successful pregnancy. I am seeing the last 2 months as a learning curve and stand by my belief that I want her to be dedicated to the business as I am.
    I hope we can find a way to agree on the future if not I will end the partnership to avoid anymore conflicts .
    i will keep you posted to let you know how it goes.
    Posted: Feb 22, 2016 By: Mandarine Member since: Feb 2, 2016
  16. billycan

    billycan UKBF Contributor Free Member

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    A perfect case study of reasons never, never ever enter into a partnership - ever!

    I got my fingers badly burnt some years ago going into partnership with a friend - he turned out to be too much of a sleeping partner whilst I never slept a wink at night trying to keep the business afloat. I have always worked on my own since - wouldn't have it any other way!!
    Posted: Mar 3, 2016 By: billycan Member since: Jun 29, 2008
  17. beasty

    beasty , Full Member - Verified Business

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    Too many posts to read them all but here is my take from the first few.

    You cannot force a split because she is pregnant!

    Life events happens, peoples perspective changes quickly, in the event you have an accident what happens? (Yes not exactly the same, but would she cover you>)

    presumably you can have a slow winding down of the hours and she is not needing time off right now

    Do you both want the business to succeed?

    What are here thoughts on how the business will move forward in the future? Personally i would want to understand if this might just be a 6month blip in a 25 year success or if it is actually going to lead to her looking for a way out.

    Really only you are going to figure that out, we cannot.
    You are equal partners, you are not her boss or employer, she has rights, like it or not, it is what it is.

    Trying to push her out due to pregnancy is a big no no!
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
    Posted: Mar 3, 2016 By: beasty Member since: Feb 4, 2013
  18. Mandarine

    Mandarine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Just a quick update after a long conversation about moving the business forward and our partnership expectation we decide it would be in our best interest for me to buy her out as she as no interest in the business... Thank you all for your comments...
    Posted: Mar 21, 2016 By: Mandarine Member since: Feb 2, 2016
  19. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Perhaps not what you intended, but if it ends nicely for both of you, and you still remain friends, its an all win situation. Best wishes. Thanks for the update - that often doesn't happen.
    Posted: Mar 21, 2016 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  20. Mandarine

    Mandarine UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Been running the business on my own for the last 2 weeks, best thing I ever done, I am glad to have addressed the issues early in the partnership... Thank you all again
    Posted: Apr 25, 2016 By: Mandarine Member since: Feb 2, 2016
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