Pregnancy and family friendly work

If you become pregnant you have certain rights to protect you. It is illegal to discriminate against you because you are pregnant. Discrimination during pregnancy includes being made redundant or being sacked solely because of your pregnancy or giving you different or unsuitable work. You have the right for example to paid time away from work for ante-natal care, protection against unfair treatment or dismissal and 52 weeks of Maternity Leave.

As with all employees, pregnant employees have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. This should involve your employer completing a risk assessment to see if there are any risks to you or your unborn child. For example, an employer needs to look at things like harmful substances and heavy lifting. Your employer then has a duty to remove the risks from you, or to remove you from the risk, for example giving you suitable alternative work. If they cannot do either of these, you should be suspended on full pay.

More information at www.gov.uk and search for ‘maternity rights’.

If you have problems with your employer during pregnancy contact ACAS or one of the organisations listed here.

For more information about benefits see here.

If you are a new father you may be entitled to one or two weeks Paternity Leave and Statutory Paternity Pay. More information at www.gov.ukThis will depend on your average pay and length of service. Fathers can now be entitled to up to 26 weeks Additional Paternity Leave and Pay if their partner returns to work early.

All employees can now ask for ‘flexible working’ to be considered (not just parents and carers). This can include part-time working, flexi-time, working term-time, job sharing, compressed hours etc. Providing you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks, they have to consider your request, and there has to be a good business reason for refusing it. More information on www.gov.uk  (search for ‘flexible working’).

All employees have the right to reasonable (though unpaid) time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent, whether this is a child or someone else who depends on you for care.