If you are a pregnant employee of any company in the UK, you have the right to paid time off for antenatal care. This isn’t just antenatal appointments. It also includes any antenatal or parenting classes, if they have been recommended by your doctor or midwife.
Why are antenatal appointments important?
Antenatal appointments are a very important part of your pregnancy. They give the midwives time to check that everything is going well. You’ll be offered routine tests and checks, such as blood tests and ultrasound scans to check your baby’s development. These tests can pick up any pregnancy conditions, such as gestational diabetes, anaemia or pre-eclampsia, that need treatment so you and your baby stay healthy.
There may be reasons why you may need more than the routine number of tests. For example, if you’ve had complications in a previous pregnancy or you need more support in this one. You should be given time off for any appointment that you need and you should normally be paid.
Is it illegal to tell me I can't go to an appointment?
Yes. Your employer is breaking the law if they don’t give you time off to go to antenatal appointments. You should also be paid at your normal rate for this time off. If you have any concerns you should speak to your manager or use your employer’s grievance procedure, which should be in your contract.
Does my employer have the right to ask for proof of my appointments?
Yes, some employers may ask for proof of appointments. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to get a letter for your first appointment.
Does my partner have the right to time off for these appointments?
The baby’s father or your partner has the right to time off work to go to 2 antenatal appointments. Their employer does not legally have to pay them for this time off.
What if I work freelance?
If you’re freelance or an agency worker, you may not be paid for the time off.
Giving notice of appointments
Your antenatal appointments are arranged in advance with your midwife, so it’s a good idea to give your employer as much notice as possible. This will help them organise cover if needed and give you peace of mind.
More information and support
Maternity Action provides advice and information about your rights at work, benefits and healthcare.
Citizens Advice also has information about parental rights at work.
Getting the flu vaccine is safe and will help protect you and your baby. There is no evidence to show that the flu vaccine can cause miscarriage.
Back ache or pain is very common in pregnancy, but there are things you can do to reduce it.
You are likely to find that your second pregnancy has differences to the first time you were pregnant.
It’s common to feel unusually tired when you’re pregnant, especially in the first 12 weeks. Here's some tips for getting a better night's sleep.
The fact that you’ve had a previous abortion is not likely to affect your pregnancy.
Stretch marks are narrow pink or purplish streaks or lines that can appear on the skin during pregnancy. They don’t always disappear after childbirth but they should become less noticeable.
It’s unlikely you will have an internal examination (inside your vagina) until you go into labour unless there is a possible problem
Folic acid (vitamin B9) is very important for a baby’s health and development. You don’t need to take folic acid after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Giving birth is generally safe wherever you choose to have your baby. Here’s a few things to think about if you’re considering a home birth.
Getting the whooping cough vaccination is safe and will protect your baby from infection in their first few weeks of life.
Flying during pregnancy is safe up to a certain point if you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy. Check your airline and insurance policy for their terms and conditions of flying.
Most research shows it’s safe to colour your hair while pregnant. The colours in permanent and semi-permanent hair dyes are not highly toxic.
Gov.UK Pregnant employees’ rights https://www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights
ℹLast reviewed on February 22nd, 2019. Next review date February 22nd, 2022.