Time off - antenatal care

Pregnant Employees

All pregnant members of staff are entitled not to be unreasonably refused time off to keep appointments made on the advice of a registered practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor, for antenatal care. Antenatal care can include not only medical examinations but also antenatal and parentcraft classes, regardless of length of service.

Except in the case of her first appointment, the member of staff must be prepared to show her line manager, on request:

  • a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor confirming that she is pregnant; and
  • an appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made.

The member of staff will be paid her normal rate of pay during the period of time off if this is during normal working hours.

It will not be reasonable for the University to re-arrange a member of staff’s working hours or require her to make up the lost time so that she uses her own rather than the University’s time. The member of staff also has a responsibility to be reasonable in her requests for time off by trying to organise doctors’ appointments and antenatal classes at the start or end of the working day so as to minimise the time they are absent from work, where this can be accommodated.

A member of staff who has been unreasonably refused time off for antenatal care, denied her normal rate of pay during such time off or dismissed for seeking to assert the right to time off, is entitled to make a complaint in line with the grievance procedure or the appeal procedure within the dismissal process.

Other parents

An expectant father or the partner (including same sex) of a pregnant woman is entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to 2 of her ante-natal appointments. "Partner" includes the spouse or civil partner of the pregnant woman and a person (of either sex) in a long term relationship with her. The right applies whether the child is conceived naturally or through donor insemination. It also extends to those who will become parents through a surrogacy arrangement if they expect to satisfy the conditions for and intend to apply for a Parental Order for the child born through that arrangement. Employees accompanying the expectant mother to her ante-natal appointments are entitled to unpaid leave for 1 or 2 appointments. The time off is capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.

An employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the ante-natal appointments, such as an appointment card, as this is the property of the expectant mother attending the appointment. However, an employer is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment with the expectant mother that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife. There is no qualifying service required.


updated October 2014