When you become pregnant you gain a raft of employment rights that are not available to anyone else and despite there being a wealth of information available on the internet, it seems that some employers are not even aware of the basics. Therefore, it is important that you know some of your rights.
You have the right not to be discriminated against because of your pregnancy, because of any illness related to the pregnancy or because of the maternity pay or leave that you take.
The maternity discrimination rights unlike other employment rights, start from day one of your employment, in fact, they are available to anyone who applies for a job and is unsuccessful because she is pregnant.
The legislation covers you from the time you become pregnant until you return to work or until you leave your job, if you decide not to go back to work after maternity leave.
Most people know that they are entitled to take a year off for maternity leave, but there are now lots of other arrangements whereby you can gift time off to the child’s father as paternity leave or shared parental leave, there is lots of information about that on the internet, you can see some by clicking here.
As soon as you advise your employer that you are pregnant they should perform a specific risk assessment to evaluate any potential problems, they should look at things which may cause stress as well as looking for manual handling issues or the need to stand for long periods of time. In some cases your employer may need to check that any chemicals used in the business are not harmful to pregnant women or the unborn child.
Maternity Pay and Leave
As long as you qualify for it, you will be entitled to maternity leave and pay. You should receive 90% of your normal pay for the fist 6 weeks and then the statutory amount for the next 33 weeks. At the time of writing this (June 2022) the statutory pay is £156.66 per week, this figure increases in spring each year. The Government website on maternity pay has more detail and a handy maternity pay calculator and it can be found by clicking here. In certain circumstances you may be entitled to maternity pay from your employer if you leave employment, before you maternity leave was expected to start, either through resignation or dismissal.
In most circumstances employees on maternity leave are also protected against redundancy and need to be offered any available jobs, case law has made this a particularly difficult area of law, so if you are worried about being made redundant please contact one of our experts at the number below.
Maternity discrimination can be a daunting area of law. The ACAS website has a wealth of information about maternity discrimination and other rights which you can access by clicking here, although this is generic information and if you would like some expert advice please call the specialists at Alpha Law, at the Nottingham Head Office, on 0115 856 1625 and someone will be happy to help you. There is also an interesting article on our website from a few years ago that show just how much an employer stands to lose if they do not that their employees fairly, click here to see the article.