The information on this page is for you if you’re carrying the baby and are an ‘employee’ of your organisation. To find out whether you are defined as an employee or another type of worker, the ACAS website can help you work out your employee status.
Pregnancy can be a rollercoaster of change. Many people are excited about their pregnancy but have mixed feelings about how they’re going to juggle the next 9 months and parenthood alongside their job.
Some people feel they need to prove themselves at work once they become pregnant, but this can add a lot of pressure at a time when you need to stay calm and well rested, for you and your baby.
Every pregnancy is different – some pregnancies are straightforward and have no issues, and some are more emotionally or physically draining. Some pregnancies also involve several more antenatal appointments and scans than others. You won’t know exactly how pregnancy will affect you until it happens.
Try to establish a good relationship with your manager and let them know how your pregnancy is going and how they can support you. Keeping lines of communication open and raising any issues early will help you look after yourself in pregnancy and work within your limits.
Communicating with your line manager
By law, you don’t need to tell your employer you’re pregnant until the end of the 15th week before your due date (when you’re 25 weeks pregnant). But it’s best to tell them as soon as possible, especially if you have physical symptoms like sickness and need their support.
Telling them early means you will also give them time to plan risk assessments and any adjustments to your job.
Before you have the conversation, have a look at your employment contract and your organisation’s pregnancy and maternity policy. It’s also a good idea to look at the most up-to-date information on the GOV.UK website to find out about statutory entitlements such as maternity leave, keeping in touch days, shared parental leave and paternity leave. Many employers offer benefits that go beyond the statutory minimum.
Many people worry about telling their line manager about their pregnancy because of the implications of taking a longer period of leave. But try to remember that pregnancy and parenthood is a normal life transition and line managers have training and HR support to manage the situation. You are also protected by law.
Think about how your line manager might respond to your news. You could write down any ideas about how adjustments or cover might work, to help you prepare for the conversation. However, although your opinion will probably be welcomed, it’s not your responsibility to organise your cover. If you already have a lot to do, this isn’t something you need to add to your to-do list.
There’s no need to let them know when you’re thinking of starting your maternity leave and coming back from it when you start the conversation, but you could share early thoughts if you have them.
Once you’ve decided the date that you’re planning to stop work, it’s a good idea to tell your line manager. This gives you both a date to work towards for completing any projects and organising handovers.
You don’t need to tell them an exact date of return. Without a date, they will assume you are taking the full 52 weeks of leave that you are entitled to. If you decide to come back within this date, you need to give at least 8 weeks’ written notice.
What is the MAT B1 form?
The MAT B1 form, or maternity certificate, proves to an employer that you are pregnant and confirms your Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). Some employers request this as soon as you tell them you are pregnant, but legally your midwife cannot sign it for you until after your 20th week of pregnancy.
You must give your MAT B1 to your employer because without it you cannot claim Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or any other maternity benefits.