All pregnant employees have a legal right to time off with pay to keep appointments for antenatal care that is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor.
In addition, from 1st October 2014, prospective fathers/partners of pregnant women and intended parents in surrogacy arrangements, have the right to take time off to accompany their partner to two antenatal appointments. We look at all the details here.
Employees will have the right to bring claims to an Employment Tribunal if their employer unreasonably refuses to let them take time-off for this purpose (and compensation would be awarded at twice the normal hourly rate for the period when the employee would have been entitled to be absent); in the case of agency workers, the Tribunal will split liability between the agency and the end-hirer depending on the extent to which each was at fault. An employee/agency worker can also seek compensation if they are subjected to a detriment for taking or asking to take time off. A dismissal of an employee for taking, or asking to take, time off will be treated automatically as an unfair dismissal.
Antenatal care may include relaxation classes and parent-craft classes. Except for the first appointment, the employee must show the employer, if requested, a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health visitor, confirming the pregnancy together with an appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made.