Rights for Time off to Attend Ante-Natal Appointments
You can take unpaid leave to accompany a pregnant woman to 2 antenatal appointments if you are:
- the baby’s father
- the expectant mother’s spouse or civil partner
- in a long-term relationship with the expectant mother
- the intended parent (if you’re having a baby through a surrogacy arrangement)
You can take up to 6 1/2 hours per appointment. Your employer can choose to give you longer.
The right applies to all employees with no qualifying period. Agency workers are entitled to the time off once they have reached the 12 week qualifying period under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
Eligible employees and qualifying agency workers are entitled to accompany the pregnant woman to 2 appointments. The maximum time permitted per appointment is six 1/2 hours (which includes time for travelling, waiting and attendance at the appointment). The employer can choose to give you longer.
Employers are not entitled to ask for evidence of the appointment, such as the appointment card, as this is not the property of the employee but the pregnant woman.
However, the employer can ask for a declaration from the employee stating:
1. they are in a qualifying relationship either with the pregnant woman or the expected child; 2. are taking the time off to accompany the pregnant woman to the ante-natal appointment which has been arranged on the advice of a registered medial practitioner, midwife or nurse; and 3. the date and time of the appointment.
If employers do not permit the time off a complaint can be bought in the Employment Tribunal and if the complaint is upheld an award can be made of twice the hourly rate of pay for each hour that could have been taken off.
Employees and qualifying agency workers are also protected from any detriment arising from the exercise of their right to the time off. Dismissing an employee will be automatically unfair if the principal reason is for exercising their right to time off and the normal qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will not apply.
For more information please visit the Government website Click Here.
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