Supporting Employees Who Are Parents: Health & Safety

Pregnant and breastfeeding employees require additional health and safety considerations in the workplace to protect their health and the health of their baby. In the UK, employers have a legal duty to assess the risks of their working environment and make any necessary adjustments to ensure the safety and wellbeing of pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Here are some key considerations for employers to keep in mind…

pregnancy health & safety

Risk assessments: Employers are required to conduct a risk assessment for pregnant or breastfeeding employees to identify any potential hazards in the workplace that may pose a risk to their health or the health of their baby. This should be done as soon as possible after the employee notifies the employer of their pregnancy or intention to breastfeed. The risk assessment should be regularly reviewed throughout the pregnancy and while the employee is breastfeeding.

Adjustments to work: Employers must consider making adjustments to a pregnant or breastfeeding employee’s work to avoid any risks identified in the risk assessment. This could include adjusting their work hours or duties, extra breaks, or providing suitable equipment.

Health and safety information: Employers must provide pregnant and breastfeeding employees with information about the risks associated with their work and how these risks are being managed. This information should be provided in a way that is easy to understand and should be regularly reviewed and updated.

Health and safety training: Employers should provide appropriate training to all employees to ensure they are aware of the risks associated with their work and how to manage those risks. This includes specific training for pregnant and breastfeeding employees on the risks associated with their work and the measures that are being taken to protect them.

Time off for antenatal appointments: Pregnant employees are entitled to take time off work for antenatal appointments. This time off should be paid and should not be deducted from their annual leave allowance. Employers should be flexible in allowing pregnant employees to attend these appointments during working hours.

Maternity leave: Pregnant employees are entitled to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave, regardless of their length of service. This includes 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and 26 weeks of additional maternity leave. During maternity leave, employees are entitled to certain rights and benefits, including maternity pay and the right to return to their job.

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