You have a statutory right to paid time off for your antenatal care no matter how many hours you work or how long you have been working for your employer.
There are quite a few pieces of legislation that give you protection at work during your pregnancy and whilst you are on maternity leave. The most important pieces of legislation are as follows;
You are protected against discrimination and detriment from the moment that your employer knows that you are pregnant. You don’t have to tell your employer (or prospective employer) that you are pregnant until the 15th week before your baby is due. This is the date by which you have to give notice to take maternity leave. It is a good idea to tell your employer earlier so that they can take action to protect your health and safety and give you time-off for your ante-natal appointments.
Once you let your employer know that you are pregnant, your protection from unfair dismissal, detriment and discrimination kicks in – Regulation 18 MHSWR 1999.
Section 18(6) EqA 2010 says that the protected period begins when your pregnancy begins and ends at the end of your additional maternity leave period, or when you return to work after the pregnancy (if you return earlier). It can also end two weeks after the end of your pregnancy, if you don’t have the right to ordinary and additional maternity leave.
If after the protected period you are treated less favourably because of your pregnancy or related illness, it will still be deemed as having occurred during the protected period, and will still be regarded as discrimination – section 18(5) EqA 2010
Unfavorable treatment outside the protected period is treated as sex discrimination rather than pregnancy and maternity discrimination – section 18(7) EqA 2010
It is unlawful to discriminate against you because you are on compulsory maternity leave – section 18(3) EqA 2010
It is unlawful to discriminate against you because you are exercising or seeking to exercise, or have exercised or sought to exercise, the right to ordinary or additional maternity leave – section 18(4) EqA 2010
Working Families – Time off work when your partner is pregnant
Maternity Action – Pregnant at work
Worksmart from TUC: Can I take time off work to attend antenatal classes?
Health and Safety Executive – Risk Assessments
Citizens Advice – Rights while you’re pregnant at work
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