What to tell work when pregnant

Posted: Tuesday June 26 2018

By: Abbie Coleman

Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of the most delightful things you can experience.  However as the news sinks in, there are lots of practical considerations to be made.  Here are some top tips to help you navigate some of the challenges ahead:

What to tell work when pregnant

By Jodie Hill – # What to tell work when pregnant

Tell your employer that you’re pregnant as soon as you can:

  • Your employer’s specific duty of care relating to your pregnancy does not come into effect until informed of your pregnancy;
  • Once your employer knows of your pregnancy you are entitled to reasonable paid time off for your antenatal care;
  • You are protected against unfavourable treatment because of pregnancy-related discrimination. Your employer must record any pregnancy-related sickness separately so that it is not used against you in any disciplinary, redundancy or dismissal decisions.

Legally your employer needs to know:

  • When you intend to go on maternity leave;
  • That you want to receive statutory maternity pay (see below);
  • The date you plan to start your maternity leave. The earliest your maternity leave can start is 11 weeks before your baby is due (if the baby arrives early, maternity leave will start the day after the birth).

Check where you stand regarding maternity leave and pay

Check your employment contract to see whether your employer provides maternity leave and pay over and above your statutory entitlement.

Statutory maternity leave (SML) facts:

  • 52 weeks of SML are made up of ordinary maternity leave for the first 26 weeks and additional maternity leave for the last 26 weeks;
  • You don’t have to take the full 52 weeks but you must take 2 weeks’ leave after your baby is born (or 4 weeks if you work in a factory).

Statutory maternity pay (SMP) facts:

To qualify for SMP you must:

  • Earn on average at least £113 a week;
  • Give the correct notice;
  • Give proof that you’re pregnant;
  • Have worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks up to the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth.
  • SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks. You are entitled to receive:
  • 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first 6 weeks;
  • £140.98 or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is lower) for the next 33 weeks;
  • SMP is paid in the same way as your wages (for example monthly or weekly). Tax and National Insurance will be deducted.  If you don’t qualify for SMP, you may be able to claim maternity allowance.

While on maternity leave, think about booking annual leave in advance:

  • As you continue to accrue annual leave during your maternity leave, you may return to work with a lot of annual leave owing to you;
  • You could consider giving notice to end your maternity leave early (you need to give eights weeks’ notice if you’re not taking all of your maternity leave) and taking some paid annual leave or using your annual leave to create a phased return;
  • You must agree any annual leave with your employer in the usual way. You cannot carry annual leave forward into a new leave year unless your employer allows it so it’s a good idea to plan when you are going to take your leave so that you don’t lose it.

Know your rights when it comes to having your old job back

You are entitled to return to exactly the same job as before you were pregnant if you have taken:

  • Only 26 weeks of Maternity or Adoption Leave;
  • Only 26 weeks of Shared Parental Leave (between both parents);
  • 4 weeks or less of unpaid Parental Leave.

If you are returning after more than 26 weeks’ maternity leave, you still have the right to return to the same job unless your employer has a good business reason why this isn’t possible.  Your employer can then offer you a suitable alternative job on the same terms and conditions.

If your employer does not give you your job back after maternity leave you may have a claim for unfair dismissal and maternity discrimination and you should seek legal advice.  You have three months from the date of refusal to make a claim.

Consider flexible working after maternity leave

All employees are entitled to request the following changes, provided they have been with the company for at least 26 weeks:

  • To their hours of work;
  • To their days of work;
  • To the type of work;
  • To their place of work.

Useful links:

The Government’s Maternity Planner can help you find out if you can claim maternity, paternity and shared parental leave and how much you will receive – link to https://www.gov.uk/pay-leave-for-parents

Using the NHS pregnancy to-do list is a useful way of making sure you keep on track throughout your pregnancy – link to http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/to-do-list-pregnant.aspx