According to the Equal Opportunities Commission, around 30,000 UK mums-to-be lose their jobs every year because they are pregnant. For those who do return to work, many find that they are treated so badly that they have no option but to leave – or they’re demoted.

Mothers Who Work was started back in September 2007 to help bring the law to mums in simple English so that women would not be mistreated in the workplace because of a pregnancy or having children. It’s sad to think that the mistreatment of women still occurs on these grounds.

If you think your employer has started acting differently towards you in a negative way, we advise that you start keeping a diary and documenting al conversations, actions, emails etc. Remember, if your employer won’t see reason and is mistreating you because of your pregnancy, you can can the case to a tribunal – it would likely be classed as maternity discrimination.

Know your rights in the workplace

1. You don’t have to tell your employer about your pregnancy until six months into your pregnancy. Some women are blessed with a tiny bump that can’t be noticed, but the changes are it will become evident that you’ve eaten more than a few pies before then!

2. You have a right to attend antenatal appointments – you boss is legally required to give you the time off.

3. You are eligible for a year’s worth of maternity leave (52 weeks) no matter how long you’ve been working for your employer.

4. You can go back to work earlier or later than you initially agreed with your boss if you want or need to. Just let your employer know in writing (email is fine) eight weeks before your intended return-to-work date.

5. Keeping in Touch Days (KIT days) allow you to work for up to 10 days during your maternity leave. So, if you want to go into work for meetings, training, or just want to ease yourself in when your maternity leave is drawing to a close you can do that and get paid with the KIT days. Speak to your employer about this as is voluntary on your part and their part.

6. You are entitled to all your usual benefits while you’re on maternity leave – holiday pay, pension payments and anything else you received before going on maternity leave. If your employer tries to take them away from you, remind them what the law says.

Helpful organisations

Maternity Action
Tel: 0845 600 8533

Tel: 08457 474747

The Law Society
Tel: 0808 800 4444

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