Pregnancy at work: Know your rights

Thankfully pregnancy discrimination is not so common these days as they were 30 years ago. No manager is going to expect you to resign from your job just because you are pregnant. However it is still important to know your rights during pregnancy. We sometimes hear stories about women who are being ignored for promotions, or a company’s reorganising means their role change or even gets redundant.

If you go for a job interview while pregnant, you do not have to tell them about your pregnancy. According to the Equality Act 2010, an employer has no right to ask in an interview if you are pregnant or planning to have children.

You have legal rights while you are pregnant at work. According to Citizens Advice these rights can protect you from unfair treatment, make sure your work is safe and give you time off for antenatal appointments.

Paid time off for antenatal appointments: While you are pregnant you can take paid time off work for antenatal appointments, this includes appointments with your hospital, GP and midwives but also antenatal classes aimed at new parents. You should get your normal pay on the day you have an appointment. Your employer can not make you work extra hours to make up for the time you are away. You may need to show your employer an appointment card; details of your appointment, when and where it takes place. The father has the right to unpaid time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments. Please note you need to tell your employer about your pregnancy before you take time off for appointments. You must tell your employer at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due.

Health and safety: Your employer needs to check your job is safe for you and your baby. They will need to perform a risk assessment of your workplace. You should tell them any advice you have received from your GP or midwife, such as avoiding heavy lifting or standing for a long time without a break.

Maternity pay and maternity leave: If you are an employee you can take up to a year off when having your baby. Not everyone who gets maternity leave also gets maternity pay, so you should check what maternity pay you are entitled to.

Sick pay: You are entitled to sick pay if you get sick while you are pregnant. Please note that sick pay could affect your maternity pay, depending on whether it is related to your pregnancy or not. You can’t be dismissed for having time off sick because of your pregnancy as you are protected against discrimination while you are pregnant. Maternity leave will start automatically if you are off work for a pregnancy-related illness in the 4 weeks before the baby is due.

-You may receive extra maternity rights so do check your company policies. Some companies give you extra healthcare while you are pregnant.

If you need more information or you think you are being treated differently because you are pregnant, please contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help.

Working Forward Campaign

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a national campaign – Working Forward –  led by British business, that aims to […]