Rights of expectant and new mothers

A pregnant employee is on the phone at work

Expectant and new mothers are protected by specific legislation and you have responsibilities to ensure their rights are protected. Key responsibilities of employers include:

  • Providing Statutory Maternity Leave for eligible employees.
  • Providing Statutory Maternity Pay for eligible employees (employees not eligible for SMP can apply for Maternity Allowance instead).
  • Protection of employment rights (the right to pay, holiday and returning to a job) and protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal.
  • Time off to attend ante-natal appointments.
  • Performing a health and safety risk assessment if an employee tells you she is pregnant, specifically considering any risks to the health and safety of a new or expectant mother and that of her baby.
  • Providing rest areas for pregnant and breastfeeding employees and a private, healthy environment for new mothers to express milk (a toilet is not suitable).

Help managing new and expectant mothers

By answering a few simple questions, this fast, efficient tool from the GOV.UK website will help you work out what maternity, paternity or adoption leave and pay your employee is entitled to. They will also help you understand your obligations when the employee returns to work.

Visit the GOV.UK website to use the interactive Maternity, Adoption and paternity calculator tool for employers

Find out about the rights of pregnant employees on the GOV.UK website.

Read an employer guide to Statutory Maternity Pay and Leave on the GOV.UK website.

Read about your health and safety responsibilities towards pregnant employees and new mothers on the Health & Safety Executive website.

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