Employer Obligations When Notified an Employee is Pregnant

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Pregnancy
All employers are required to assess the health and safety risks that their employees may be exposed to when they are at work. Once the risks have been identified and assessed, there is then an obligation on the employer to put in place appropriate measures to control those risks. Included in this obligation is an assessment of specific risks to female workers who are of childbearing age who could become pregnant and any risks to expectant and new mothers.

Once an employer has been notified in writing that an employee is pregnant then they must immediately review any health and safety risks identified in their risk assessment and take any neccessary action to remove, reduce or control the risk.

If the risk cannot be removed, then the employer must consider and take the following actions:
  1. Make temporary adjustments to working conditions and/or hours of work, or
  2. Offer suitable alternative work at the same rate of pay if that is available, or, if both these actions are not possible
  3. Suspend the employee from work on full pay for as long as is necessary to protect the health and safety of both her and her unborn child.
  4. Although not a legal requirement, and depending on the nature of the work and workplace, we recommend that further individual risk assessments be carried out at regular intervals throughout the pregnancy.
If an employee requests more frequent rest breaks during their pregnancy, the employer should agree with the employee the timing and frequency of those breaks and review the situation on a regular basis.

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