Guidance on managing new and expectant parents

This guide is designed to help employers successfully manage, support and retain employees who are new or expectant parents. These employees may be pregnant themselves, the partner of a mum to be, or about to adopt. The guide covers a range of subjects, including health and safety, maternity and paternity leave and pay, adoption and other types of leave, and arrangements for return to work.

People are usually more dedicated, productive and motivated when they are happier with their working arrangements. This guide will help you to ensure that your organisation or business is a safe and welcoming place for expectant parents, and that, in turn, employees are able to continue to offer their expertise and commitment both as they approach parenthood and after they become parents. The guide covers:

Quick checklists for employers

Checklists provide a brief list of rights and actions for employers managing pregnant mums, fathers, adopting parents and same sex parents.

What to do before a pregnancy or adoption

Before a pregnancy or adoption is a good time to think about updating your policies, contingency planning and completing your health and safety risk assessment.

Managing pregnant women

Find lots of information about maternity leave and pay, managing antenatal care, health and safety risk assessments and organising cover.

Managing the return from maternity leave

Sort out leave entitlements, breastfeeding arrangements and shifting to part time work or other forms of flexible working.

Managing fathers to be and new fathers

Get clarity about the rights of expectant fathers and new dads.

Managing same sex parents

Find information on managing an employee who is in a same sex relationship and about to become a parent.

Managing adopting parents

Both adopting parents have rights to leave and pay. 

Managing employees who are from outside the UK

Find out about legal obligations and good practice.

Who is (and is not) an employee

Many of the rights in this toolkit are only for employees. If you have agency staff and other arrangements, check if your staff are considered employees.

Model policies and resources

Customise these model policies on maternity, paternity, flexible working, parental leave and breastfeeding for your business. Use the health and safety template with pregnant employees.

Business examples

How do other businesses support the parents they employ? What are the business benefits of family friendly policies? See how small and medium-sized businesses from across the UK have responded to the challenge.

Last Updated: 04 Jun 2009