How to deal with requests for time off for antenatal care
Author: Tina Elliott
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- Be aware that pregnant employees have the right to paid time off work for antenatal care.
- Take into account that you are entitled to ask for evidence that an employee is pregnant and to see her appointment card, except in the case of the first appointment.
- Although antenatal care is not expressly defined, take into account that the safest course would be to assume that relaxation and parentcraft classes are included within the definition.
- Do not ask the employee to make up the lost working time.
- Encourage part-timers to make antenatal appointments outside working hours but appreciate that employees cannot always control appointment times.
- Understand that the reasonableness of a refusal will be a question of fact in each case, depending on the amount of time off requested, the employee's health and whether or not she could have attended appointments outside working hours.
- Be aware that the time off includes the employee's travelling and waiting time.
- Be aware that an expectant father, the partner of a pregnant woman, and surrogacy parents are entitled to unpaid time off to accompany the pregnant woman to two antenatal appointments.
- Appreciate that an unreasonable refusal of paid time off for a pregnant employee could result in claims for the pay related to the time off, constructive unfair dismissal and sex discrimination.