One of your employees has just announced that she is three months pregnant. What issues do you need to consider? Here are my top ten tips:
Be supportive, even if the timing’s not so good for your business.
Meet her to discuss maternity leave, pay and benefits. This might be the statutory minimum requirements or you might provide additional contractual benefits.
Advise her that she is entitled to have reasonable time off with pay during working hours to attend ante-natal appointments. Explain that you will need advance warning of appointments.
Explain that you need medical evidence of her pregnancy and of her expected week of childbirth. She should provide you with a maternity certificate form MATB1.
Your employee is required to notify you of the date she wishes to start her maternity leave period by no later than the end of the 15th week before the baby is due. This is also the date by which she must notify you of the expected week of childbirth.
Assess workplace risks to her. Tell her the results of the risk assessment and discuss any recommendations.
Take reasonable steps to avoid any risk by altering the employee’s working conditions or hours.
If it is not possible to avoid the identified risks, the employee has the right to be offered suitable alternative work.
Be aware that a pregnant employee can claim sex discrimination and/or automatic unfair dismissal if she is dismissed or subjected to any detrimental treatment.
Always consult with her before taking any action. Even if you are proposing to take action which you think is in her interests.
Charles Waterlow is a director of Abbey HR, www.abbeyhr.co.uk