A Working Mum
If you are pregnant and working your employer has a right to protect your health and safety.
Pregnant employees have four key rights:
- paid time off for antenatal care
- maternity leave
- maternity pay benefits
- protection against unfair treatment or dismissal
Employers also have certain obligations to ensure the health and safety of pregnant employees.
Legally you must inform your employer at least fifteen weeks before the beginning of the week that your baby is due. This ensure that your employer will carry out their legal obligations towards you as an employee.
Once your employer is aware of your pregnancy they should also carry out a risk assessment of your work and if necessary move you to another post for the duration of your pregnancy. If that is not possible then you're entitled to be on home-leave for the duration of your pregnancy on full pay.
They should ensure that you're not
- lifting or carrying heavy loads
- standing or sitting for long periods
- exposure to toxic substances
- long working hours
Throughout the duration of your pregnancy they should also adjust your working conditions and/or hours of work to suit as your pregnancy progresses. What was a suitable working environment when you were pregnant initially may not be so suitable nearer the end of your pregnancy.
All pregnant employees, regardless of length of employment, are entitled to reasonable paid time off work for antenatal care. The time off must be paid at your normal rate of pay. It is unlawful for your employer to refuse to give you reasonable time off for antenatal care or to pay you at your normal rate of pay.
Your employer can ask for evidence of antenatal appointments from the second appointment onwards. Antenatal care may include relaxation or parent craft classes as well as medical examinations, if these are recommended by your doctor.
It is illegal for employers to treat women less favourably whilst their pregnant or because they take maternity leave. They cannot
- cut your hours without your permission
- suddenly give you poor work reports
- give you unsuitable work
- make you redundant because of your pregnancy although you can still be made redundant for other reasons
- treat days off sick due to pregnancy as a disciplinary issue
Your employer also can't change your employment terms and conditions while you are pregnant without your agreement. If they do, they will be in breach of contract.
You can find more details regarding working whilst your pregnant here