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Being pregnant at work - checklist for reps

NEU reps can use this checklist to work with members to assist pregnant teachers and support staff in schools and colleges.


Why is this important?

Pregnant women’s rights and needs at work are frequently disregarded. The NEU survey of women’s experience of pregnancy, maternity, and returning to work highlights unfair, unsafe and unlawful treatment of pregnant women working in education.

Members told us that their private information was shared indiscriminately. They were humiliated and disregarded when they disclosed their pregnancy.

They were denied risk assessments, shamed for pregnancy sickness, prevented from resting, punished for attending antenatal appointments and some were forced out of their jobs.

One member reported that she had to supervise 40 children alone while pregnant without a risk assessment. This was not safe for the pregnant woman, her baby, or the pupils.

Increasing awareness can avoid this poor practice. Many employers can and do support pregnant teachers and support staff. The NEU survey revealed that 42% of respondents found their line manager or employer’s response to their pregnancy supportive and 38% found their response to be extremely supportive.

We are calling on all employers and agencies to uphold pregnant women’s rights at work to privacy, risk assessments, safety, flexible adjustments to work arrangements, suitable rest facilities, support for pregnancy sickness and paid time off for antenatal appointments. Our checklist for leaders can be used to develop pregnancy and maternity support plans for expectant mothers in the workplace.

The NEU pregnant women at work resources have been developed to enable members and reps to demand better and work in unison to assert the rights at work of pregnant teachers and support staff. We aim for all schools and colleges to have policies, systems and support in place to back pregnant women at work. NEU reps are central to this goal.

Supporting pregnant women at work

  • When a member discloses to you that she is pregnant, ask her what support she needs, share links to the NEU Being pregnant at work resources at and encourage her to keep in touch with you.
  • Keep her information confidential until she has confirmed that she is ready to share her news more widely.
  • Be aware that many Black and Asian women will not be receiving appropriate individualised or culturally sensitive maternity care outside of work. This can impact on their physical and mental health at work. Seek further advice if a member is not receiving the support that she needs at work.
  • Make your NEU meetings accessible, consider hybrid meetings to allow pregnant women to join from home; for face-to-face meetings, make sure that the venue is suitable for pregnant women or that there is there is a suitable private, clean space for women to rest. 
  • Support pregnant women members in securing:

       - an individual risk assessment
       - suitable rest facilities
       - safe and fair working arrangements
       -rest breaks
       - appropriate cover if she’s experiencing pregnancy sickness
       - exclusion of pregnancy related sickness from any redundant or absence scoring
       - paid time off to attend antenatal appointments

  • Press your employer to allocate a suitable room for pregnant women to rest at work. A clean private office, or other room could be allocated temporarily until a permanent solution is found. Employers have a legal duty to provide suitable facilities for a pregnant woman or nursing mother to rest but often neglect this duty. If an employer’s failure to provide suitable rest facilities puts a pregnant woman’s health at risk, she must be offered suitable alternative work, and if there is no such work available, she must be medically suspended on full pay2 until the workplace is safe and suitable for her to return to work.
  • Support women in requesting suitable appraisal objectives or adjustments to existing objectives to take account of pregnancy-related absences and proposed maternity leave so that the objectives are achievable in the time available.
  • Work together as a school or college group to ensure that women members are not disadvantaged in pay progression or career opportunities or in any redundancy selections on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave.
  • If a pregnant woman discloses that she is experiencing domestic abuse, follow our domestic abuse checklist for reps - checklist-reps.
  • Liaise with your district office if a member needs help lodging a grievance about her treatment at work.
  • Check with women members going on maternity leave whether and how they would like to keep in touch about union matters, particularly in relation to any reorganisations or timetable changes, and include them in your NEU communications as appropriate.


Being pregnant at work – model policy

A model policy to help you secure risk assessments, suitable rest facilities, safe working conditions and fair treatment of pregnant teachers and support staff working in education settings.

Pregnant woman working from home on laptop

Being pregnant at work

The NEU pregnant women at work resources have been developed to enable members and reps to demand better and work in unison to assert the rights at work of pregnant teachers and support staff.

Find out more
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