PREGNANCY AND WORK - KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Published: 24 May 2017 By Lauren Edwards

Becoming a parent can be the most exciting and the most daunting of experiences. With so much to think about we provide a summary of the workplace advice most frequently asked at Thorpe Molloy Recruitment.

Nip the rumour mill in the bud by telling your line manager first, preferably in writing. Include the expected week of childbirth and the date you intend to start maternity leave. If you intend to claim Statutory Maternity Pay present your employer with a MAT B1 form which has been signed by your midwife or doctor too.

You must advise your employer of your pregnancy at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the baby is due. Although there is no obligation to do so, advising your employer earlier makes good business sense, allowing for a planned handover of work and responsibilities as well as early adoption of the employer's duty of care to conduct a risk assessment.

Pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable time off for antenatal care, including medical appointments and parenting classes.

Employees are entitled to 52 weeks statutory maternity leave which is composed of 26 weeks ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks additional maternity leave.

If you return to work after ordinary maternity leave you have the right to return to the same job you had before your maternity leave.

While on maternity leave employees continue to build up their holiday entitlements and up to 10 "keep in touch" days may be used to attend training, staff meetings or to return back to work gradually.

Returning to work full-time at the end of maternity leave isn't for everyone. Eligible employees can request to work flexibly with employers having up to 3 months to consider their decision.

As well as being legally entitled to paid time off for antenatal care; maternity leave and maternity pay (or maternity allowance depending on eligibility) pregnant employees are entitled to protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal. This includes being eligible for the same pay rises as other employees and being advised of promotion opportunities during maternity leave.

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