Tips for pregnant women : antenatal health facts

                          Employment rights,maternity leave, SMP .

Paid time off for antenatal care :

You are entitled to time off to attend antenatal appointment , including the time it takes to get to your GP , without losing pay .After your first appointment your employer may ask to see your appointment card and your certificate stating that you 're pregnant . Antenatal care can include parenting and relaxation classes and workshops ,although you may need a letter from your GP or midwife stating that these are part of your antenatal care .

Health and safety :

Employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their employees . This includes assessing any potential risks at work while you are pregnant and when you return to work .

Employers should do their best to resolve any risks to health and safety and if necessary offer you a suitable alternative job . If this is not possible your employer should suspend you on full pay as long as is necessary to avoid any risks . To get the full benefit of this legal protection as an employee , you should notify you employer in writing that you are pregnant ,have recently given birth or breastfeeding . For more information on your legal rights in the workplace see the pregnancy care planner .It is sex discrimination if your employer treats you unfairly ,dismisses you or selects you for redundancy for any reason linked to pregnancy ,childbirth or maternity leave .

Maternity leave :

As an employee you have the right to 26 weeks of 'ordinary maternity leave' and 26 weeks of 'additional maternity leave' .You should get this regardless of how long you have been with your current employer ,how many hours you work or how much you are paid .

The earliest you can start your maternity leave is 11 weeks before the expected week you are due to give birth .To qualify for your maternity leave you must tell your employer you are pregnant ,your due date and when you want to start your maternity leave .You need to do this at least 15 weeks before the start of the week your baby is due .If this is not possible ,because you did not know you were pregnant , you need to inform them es soon as possible .

For more information on money and work entitlements in pregnancy go to the directgov website .

Statutory maternity pay(SMP):

If you have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks before the end of the 15th week before your baby's due ,you will earn 90% of your salary .

Your employer may have their maternity pay scheme.

Paternity leave :

Following the birth of a baby ,if you are the father,husband of the mother or the mother's partner(including same sex partner) , you may be able to take one or two weeks leave from work to care the baby and support the mother .You are eligible for paternity leave as long as you expect to have responsibility for bringing up the baby and have worked for the same employer for at least 26 weeks by the 15th week before you baby is due .To qualify you must give your employer the correct notice and take the leave within 56 days of the birth of your child .

Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is paid by the employer for the one or two consecutive weeks leave you take. This is currently 90% of the average you earn weekly .Some employer have their own paternity leave arrangment ,normally included in your contract of employment .

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