Time Off for Antenatal Appointments

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From 1st October, 2014, under Part 8 of the new Children and Families Act 2014, those employees and agency workers who are in a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman will have the statutory right to take time off to attend antenatal appointments with the woman. This new legislation provides the statutory right to attend two antenatal appointments – not all of them and they are not entitled to take any more than 6.5 hours off for each appointment. In addition, the appointments must have been made following advice from either a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse. A “qualifying relationship” is considered to be:
  • The husband, partner or civil partner in the case of a same-sex relationship of the pregnant woman
  • The child’s father
  • The parent of the child
  • Intended parents in a surrogacy situation who meet certain specified conditions.
It is therefore possible that a partner may qualify for time off work to attend antenatal appointments, even if he is not the child’s natural father. A pregnant woman is entitled to time off with pay. However, those who are in a “qualifying relationship” with a pregnant woman will not be entitled to receive any pay for the time taken. It will not be possible for proof of an antenatal appointment to be shown to employers because the appointment would relate to the mother. However, an employer would be perfectly within their rights to ask for a written declaration from the employee confirming that they qualify as stated above, the time and date of the appointments, etc. Any employee who abuses this right and is subsequently found to have misled or deceived their employer, will be subject to disciplinary action.

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