Employers obligations during pregnancy | Notification of pregnancy

It is advisable not to ask a woman if she is pregnant, unless she has formally notified someone, for example, her manager or Human Resources. She does not have to tell you until 15 weeks before her due date. 

Tell her about any policies you have which cover pregnancy, maternity leave and other parental leave rights. She may need advice about time off for antenatal care, health and safety risks and details of the information she needs to give you before her maternity leave.  If you are not sure what to do check your legal obligations on this website or for further information on employees’ rights go to: https://www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights.

Unless a pregnant employee needs adjustments to her working conditions for health and safety or pregnancy related reasons, you should treat her the same as any other employees.

Yes, you can talk to a pregnant employee about her pregnancy.  For example, you might want to ask:

  • How she is feeling, as this may be necessary to consider health and safety or other adjustments to her work, for example to the hours she works.
  • When she wants to start her maternity leave and how long she is likely to take; but you should not put pressure on her to make a firm decision before she is ready and has to do so.
  • When she wants to take her annual leave; this continues to build up during her maternity leave. (https://www.gov.uk/employers-maternity-pay-leave)
  • How she thinks it may be best to cover her maternity leave.
  • When to hold an appraisal if this is due during her maternity leave.

You should not put pressure on a pregnant woman to say exactly when she will start and finish her maternity leave until she has to do so (15 weeks before her due date). Do not make jokes about her pregnancy or maternity leave or allow other employees to do this.

Last updated: 12 May 2016