The 4 Laws ALL Employers Must Follow With Pregnant Staff

May 5, 2016

As an employer, you need to familiarise yourself with all UK employment laws.

While all of your employees deserve fair treatment and a safe working environment, certain staff are legally entitled to rights that you need to be aware of.

In this article, we will go over what legal rights pregnant employees must have.

In the UK, pregnant staff have four rights:

Antenatal Care PTO

Pregnant women must be allowed to use their paid time off (PTO) for antenatal care.

This includes a variety of things, such as doctor appointments, prenatal massages, hospital tours, parenting classes, etc.

Furthermore, the father or partner of the woman should be allowed to use his PTO for two prenatal appointments of his choice.

Both parties have to be paid at their normal rate or salary.

Maternity Leave

All women who work in the UK are entitled to a maternity leave upon the birth of their baby.

Should the staff have a pregnancy-related illness within four-weeks of the due date, she is allowed to start her maternity leave early.

Statutory maternity leave can last up to 52 weeks.

The first half is called ordinary maternity leave, and the last half is called additional maternity leave.

While some may choose to forego their statutory maternity leave, it is vital that the employer enforces a mandatory two-week leave after birth, or four weeks for factory workers, per UK law.

Maternity Pay

Once maternity leave ensues, the employee must be paid a fair wage.

Eligible employees are entitled to up to 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay (SMP).

They should get 90% of their average weekly earnings (AWE) before tax for the first six weeks, and the lower of amount of either 90% of their AWE before tax or £139.58 for the other 33 weeks.

Tax and national insurance needs to be taken out of that amount. provides an SMP calculator to calculate how much SMP your employee is entitled to. It is important to remember that certain professions, such as people that work in education and agency workers, have different SMP calculations.

Job Protection

Pregnant women cannot be unfairly discriminated against, mistreated or dismissed because of their condition. It is illegal to fire a pregnant staff, or lower her responsibility level because she will be taking maternity leave.

Don’t make yourself liable to get sued. Follow the UK laws on treating pregnant women as they should be treated.

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