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Thread: Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment

  1. #1
    Registered User Josephine's Avatar
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    Feb 2009

    Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment

    Hi Ladies

    I came across the below on and thought it has some good advice about your rights for leave in regards to anti-natal appointments and sickness during pregnancy whilst at work.

    Factsheet: Pregnancy

    April 2006

    This factsheet is for women who are employees. If you are self employed or an agency worker please see our factsheet on atypical workers.

    If you are on maternity leave and pregnant again, please see our factsheet on Maternity Leave and Pay

    Telling your employer

    There is no legal obligation to tell your employer that you are pregnant until the 15 th week before the week your baby is due, when you give notice of your intention to take maternity leave and claim statutory maternity pay. (see our factsheet on Maternity Leave and Pay)

    There are, however, advantages to telling your employer early. Once you have told your employer that you are pregnant, in writing, you must be given a health and safety assessment and you also have the right to paid time off work for antenatal appointments. (see below).

    Many women wish to keep their pregnancy secret at first, and if you do tell your employer earlier than when you want others to know about it then you must make it clear that you expect confidentiality.

    Time off for ante natal care

    Employees have the right to reasonable paid time off work for ante natal appointments, which includes the time spent travelling to an appointment & waiting. You cannot be refused time off for the first appointment, but for subsequent appointments your employer can ask for written proof of the appointment and a certificate or note from your doctor or midwife, stating that you are pregnant. If you do not, when asked, provide these, your employer can refuse the time off. This is the only circumstance in which employers can refuse time off. They cannot ask you to make appointments in your own time, or make the time up later.

    An ante natal appointment is any appointment you make on the advice of your doctor, midwife or health visitor. This includes parentcraft and relaxation classes.

    Note that this right only extends to pregnant women, not to their partners.

    Sickness and health and safety


    If you are ill during pregnancy normal sickness rules apply, with a few exceptions. If the illness is pregnancy related it must be recorded as such, it does not count towards your sickness record & you cannot be dismissed for it. You should not be treated less favourably than other employees because you are sick, so for instance if your employer pays sick employees then you too must also be paid. If your employer does not pay sick employees then you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, in accordance with the normal rules. Note that if you are sick during your pregnancy & not receiving your normal pay this could affect your entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay, please see our factsheet on Maternity Leave & Pay for more information.

    If you are off work with a pregnancy related absence (this could include a health and safety suspension, see below) in the four weeks before the week the baby is due, your employer can insist that you begin your maternity leave. This is the only circumstance where your employer has any say into when your maternity leave starts.

    If you are not too ill to work, but your job is making you ill, or is not safe to do in pregnancy, then you are not sick, the problem is health and safety.

    Health and Safety

    Pregnancy itself is not an illness, but it can affect the things you can do. Employers who employ women of childbearing age have a duty to have a “general” health and safety assessment to identify risks to pregnant women. As soon as your employer has been informed in writing that you are pregnant (this can include a sicknote for pregnancy related illness), a personal health and safety assessment must be done for you. As every pregnancy is different, the assessment should be done in conjunction with you.

    The assessment will look not just the more obvious and dramatic risks, like heavy lifting and working with chemicals. The assessment looks at all risk to your and your unborn baby’s health.

    It might be helpful to ask your doctor or midwife what risks there are for you, for example some women’s ligaments soften making even light lifting a problem. For other women the issue might be the need to take frequent toilet breaks, or the kind of chair they use.

    Once the risks have been identified, they must be eliminated if possible. For example, if you are at risk of back pain from standing for long periods, you should be offered a chair. You must be given information on the identified risk & what is going to be done about it. If it is not possible to remove the risks then your working conditions or hours of work should be temporarily changed, if reasonable. If this is impossible, then you should be offered a suitable alternative job on similar terms and conditions which is reasonable for you to do. Whether or not the alternative is reasonable for you to do depends on the type of work, the rate of pay, the hours and times of work and the location of the work. Of course the alternative job must be safe for you to do. If there is no reasonable alternative job, or no safe job, you must be suspended on full pay so long as the risk remains. This is not sick leave, and should not be counted as such.

    Note that special rules apply for pregnant night workers. Also note that the duty to carry out the risk assessment described above also applies to women who are breastfeeding or who gave birth less than 6 months ago.

    A woman working on the shop floor in a supermarket can no longer lift produce onto the shelf. This is the bulk of her job, so it isn’t possible to remove the risk. The alternative offered is checkout work. This would be at different times to her usual job, and she does not have care for her other children at these times. It would not be reasonable for her to do this job, so unless her employer can find her a suitable alternative which is reasonable for her to do, she must be suspended from work on full (not sick) pay

    Dismissal during pregnancy

    It can be legal to sack a pregnant woman, but the normal rules of dismissal apply, and the dismissal must not in any way be related to her pregnancy or intention to take maternity leave. A dismissal because of pregnancy, birth or maternity leave is an automatic unfair dismissal. If you are dismissed while pregnant (or on maternity leave) you must be given written reasons for the dismissal.

    Unlike women on maternity leave (see our maternity leave factsheet), pregnant women have no special protection in a redundancy situation. However, the redundancy selection criteria must not take into account reasons connected to pregnancy (including pregnancy related illness) or maternity leave.


    You must not be treated less favourably because you are pregnant, or because you are going to take maternity leave. If you feel you are being discriminated against because of your pregnancy, please call our helpline on 0800 013 0313.

    To find out about maternity pay and leave, see our factsheet, Maternity Pay and Leave.

    Other things to think about

    There may be benefits available to you to help you while on maternity leave, or once the baby is here. For information on these see our What to Claim for a New Child factsheet.

    [b]This can all be found at;[/b]
    Mummy to an Autistic boy

  2. #2
    Administrator Urchin's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Third rockpool from the left.

    Re: Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment


  3. #3

    Re: Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment

    Thank you for this very helpful/imformative information

    Xander Inana Born 26/05/09 4 Weeks premature

  4. #4
    Registered User
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    Dec 2009

    Re: Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment

    Excellent info - thanks

  5. #5

    Re: Factsheet: Pregnancy - need to knows regarding employment

    Thanks for this. But I do have a question. We have the right to get paid for leaves when we get antenatal care. My husband insists on being with me for my weekly check-ups, but he says that he won't get paid for it. Is that true?

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