Citation Publishes New Guidelines for Expectant Mothers in Employment

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Employment Law and Health & Safety compliance specialists, Citation, provides info for pregnant women and their employers.

Citation PLC

Citation makes it clear that ‘pregnancy should not be equated with ill health and should be regarded as a part of everyday life’.

A recently published article by Citation entitled ‘New and Expectant Mothers in the Workplace’ has clarified the responsibilities of newly pregnant workers to their employer, and the responsibilities of the employer to their staff.

From a breakdown of the information that a pregnant worker must provide to their employer, by law, to the conditions deemed unsuitable for a pregnant woman to work in, the article presents all of the information necessary for businesses to ensure that they comply with current laws and legislation for these circumstances.

The ways in which a company manages maternity is more important than ever since women constitute a larger percentage of the workforce than ever before. For many, pregnancy can be a joyful experience, and a cause for celebration, but for others it can be stressful. They worry that an extended period of leave may affect their position in the company, or that there absence may cause problems, particularly in small companies with limited workforce.

But Citation makes it clear that ‘pregnancy should not be equated with ill health and should be regarded as a part of everyday life’.

The article advises workers to inform their employer of a pregnancy as soon as possible, and identifies three pieces of information which the worker must provide by law. The first is notification of the pregnancy itself, which must be provided before the fifteenth week of pregnancy is complete. Once this information is provided, the employee must also provide their Estimated Week of Childbirth or EWC. Finally, the employee must also disclose the date on which she intends to begin maternity leave. Their employer can request this information in writing.

Once these actions have been completed, responsibility passes to the employer, who must acknowledge notification of maternity within 28 days of receipt. Employers are duty bound to protect the health and safety of all employees, but there are a series of special duties in the case of pregnant employees.

Being pregnant does not prevent anyone from working or enhancing their career, but there are a number of conditions which are not deemed safe during pregnancy, which range from physical conditions such as heavy lifting or mental conditions such as extreme work related stress. It is the responsibility of the employer to control, eliminate or reduce identified risks. This assessment is amongst the most important parts of handling pregnancy in the workplace.

If potential risks for the expectant mother cannot be removed, employers must provide suitable alternative work, if this is not possible, the employer must place the expectant mother on ‘maternity suspension’ with full pay. Maternity suspension lasts until the fourth week before the EWC.

For more information on pregnancy and employment, see the original Citation article or visit the official Citation PLC website.

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Sophie Clough
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