Legal Article - Employment Law

Paid Time Off for Antenatal Care

An employee who is pregnant and who, on the advice of a registered doctor, midwifes or health visitor, attends a clinic or other place of ante-natal care has the right not to be unreasonably refused time-off work to do so, and to be paid for the permitted time-off.

Ante-natal care includes not only medical examinations but also, for example, relaxation classes and parentship classes.

These rights are available to all pregnant women from the first day of employment and irrespective of the number of hours worked per week, or whether they are temporary or not. Except on the first occasion on which time-off is requested, the employer is entitled to be shown on request,

• A certificate from a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor confirming that she is pregnant: and

• An appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made

It is not reasonable for the employer to avoid this right by rearranging the employee’s working schedule or requesting her to make up for lost time. On the other hand, employees are only entitled to enough time-off to travel to and from and to attend the ante-natal appointment NOT to have the whole day off if unnecessary.

The employee is entitled to be paid for the whole period of permitted time-off work, including travelling time, and if delayed from returning to work for any legitimate reason the additional time-off as well. The employer does not have to pay if, upon request to see a certificate of pregnancy and an appointment card (on the second and subsequent appointments) the employee does not produce them.
However, the employee only has to produce them if the employer requests her to do so.

Published: 27 May 2011

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