Does Your Employer Have Any Additional Obligations Once You Have Informed Them You Are Pregnant?
Discovering you are pregnant can be one of the most exciting times of your life and will lead to many changes ahead. Whilst many women choose to wait until after their first trimester before announcing their pregnancy to friends and family members, you may be feeling unsure about when to tell your employer your news. Depending on the type of job you do, the work you carry out may be, in full or in part, unsuitable now that you have precious cargo on board. This article looks at under what circumstances you may wish to tell your employer sooner rather than later that you are expecting a baby, what steps your employer is obliged to take to ensure your safety in the workplace and what you should do if you have any concerns about specific tasks that you being required to carry out.
If your job involves heavy lifting, working with chemicals or machinery, working with children or animals or simply involves standing for long periods of time, it may be advisable to inform your employer of your condition as soon as you find out you are pregnant. If you work in an office, whilst there is no evidence to suggest that prolonged periods of working at a computer may be detrimental to the health of your baby, it may be sensible to build in regular breaks to avoid sitting in the same position for too long. Again, this may be something that you feel you cannot do without consulting with your employer. Your employer may provide you with a lumbar support for your chair and a foot rest. You may be suffering from tiredness during the early stages of your pregnancy and your employer is obliged to provide you with a place to rest.
Once you have informed your employer that you are pregnant they have a legal obligation to carry out a risk assessment of your work station and tasks. This assessment will identify any potential and actual dangers and will allow your employer to make adjustments where necessary and remove you from certain tasks if deemed necessary. If your work is deemed unsuitable during pregnancy and no alternative work can be found for you, your employer must suspend you on full pay. Your employer is also obliged to allow you paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments.
It is important to remember that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a pregnant employee, therefore, you cannot be sacked, demoted or in any other way treated differently simply because you are pregnant. To check your specific rights and obligations as a pregnant employee, you will need to refer to your contact of employment or company handbook as, as well as doing what they are legally obliged to do, many employers offer additional benefits/promises to expectant employees.
Copyright (c) 2012 Robert Gray
by: Robert Gray