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-You cannot be sacked for being pregnant. Your employer cannot change the terms of your conditions of your contract while you're pregnant without your agreement. Any form of discrimination is classed as sex discrimination and is illegal. Your employer cannot cut your hours without your permission, suddenly start giving you negative reports because of your pregnancy, give you unsuitable work or treat days off sick due to pregnancy as a disciplinary issue.

-You have the right to time off on normal pay to attend ante-natal classes and check-ups, although your employer is entitled to proof of your appointments. Try and organise classes outside of working hours where possible.

-When you tell your employer you are pregnant, he/she must carry out a risk assessment. If the nature of your job or your working environment is unsuitable for a pregnant woman, your employer must either offer you alternative work or place you on full paid leave.

-If you decide not to return to work you must give your employer notice in the normal way. Under the new regulations, women must now give eight rather than four weeks' notice of their intention to return to work. Your employer should assume you are taking full maternity leave unless you say otherwise.

-If your colleagues get a pay rise while you're away on maternity leave, you should get one too. You're also entitled to bonuses or pension contributions that are paid while you're away.

-If you are being denied your rights, talk to your employer first. If you have an employee representative (for example, a trade union official), they may be able to help. If this doesn't work, you may need to make a complaint using your employer's internal grievance procedure. If you're still unhappy, you can take your complaint to an employment tribunal.


Sarah Horrocks
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