Pregnancy in the workplace

“He was going to give me a warning because of all my antenatal appointments”

Are we in the year 2016? Because lately I’ve spoken to so many women who were struggling with their pregnancies in the workplace due to ever-present philistine attitudes towards procreation. 

A couple of weeks ago I was speaking with one of my pregnancy yoga attendees and she told me how she was pretty much forced to go on maternity leave by her manager.  As her ‘too frequent’ antenatal appointments were disruptive to the workplace and as a result she was to be issued with a warning. It infuriated me as it just acted as a reminder that so many pregnant woman are working with little or next to no knowledge of their rights or entitlement within the workplace. So many employers are getting away with mistreating pregnant women because of the simple fact that women do not realise that they don’t have to accept it.

 One of my Aquanatal attendees told me she was fired, actually fired after she told her employer she was pregnant, But of course the reason for her firing was made out to be something unrelated. However with no previous problems in the workplace and a few weeks from being contracted as permanent, it was pretty suspicious that she was suddenly unsuitable for the role.  When I spoke to both women about what they were going to do about how they’d been treated, they were almost dumbfounded as though they were unaware that they had options, or a reason to fight.

So I wanted to write this to show pregnant women what they are entitled to and the services that are in place to help them. Working Families is a fantastic charity dedicated to helping families and carers. Below is a link to their Maternity Calendar detailing everything you’re legally entitled to during and after pregnancy. 

Did you know that your employer is suppose to do a risk assessment during the early stages of your pregnancy? Or that regardless of whether your pregnancy is considered high risk and you have two appointments a week, your employer is legally obligated to allow you to attend? These are just a few of your many rights during pregnancy. If you are mistreated at work and feel as though you have nowhere to turn, it’s always a good idea to talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau or if you have one, your union rep within the workplace.

Do not allow yourself to be subjected to mistreatment all because you’re ill-informed. Pregnancy can be hard enough without unnecessary additional stress. The mental and physical wellbeing of yourself is key, as those emotions stirred up in pregnancy can continue after you’ve given birth and affect your relationship with your baby. So be healthy and focus on what’s important, your family.

Working Families Maternity Calendar:

http://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/WF_A3MaternityPoster_v13-Mar16.pdf

Citizens Advice