You should be able to disclose your pregnancy without fear of being disadvantaged or discriminated against, but it is up to you whether you wish to give notice of your pregnancy in the early stages.
You are fully within your rights to ask your employer or agency to keep the knowledge of your pregnancy - and any related information - confidential only to those who need to know for health and safety purposes.
Information about your pregnancy and health is special category data, which means that in the absence of your explicit consent, your employer or agency may share the information with a third party only if there is a fair and lawful basis for doing so.
You should not be pressured to disclose your pregnancy before you are ready. Conversely, you should not be discouraged from telling parents that you are pregnant.
Please be aware that you’re only entitled to a risk assessment, a suitable space to rest, and time off for antenatal care once your employer is aware of your pregnancy.
There are advantages to disclosing your pregnancy earlier, but you don’t have to give notice that you are pregnant until the 15th week before you are due to give birth.
It would be unlawful to discriminate against you, harass you or dismiss you because you are pregnant.
- Familiarise yourself with your terms and conditions – they should be listed in your letter of appointment. Seek out the maternity, family- related and any privacy policies that apply in your school or college - your NEU workplace rep or school office should be able to help you locate them.
- Use and share the practical pack of NEU Being pregnant at work resources. Advocate for your school to adopt the NEU model policy – to improve the privacy, safety and other working conditions of other pregnant women at work.
- Consider speaking to your NEU rep and women at work who have worked while pregnant for tips and advice. Networking with other women can help you understand and assert your rights at work.
- Consider when and how you want to disclose your pregnancy to your employer. You can use our sample notice of pregnancy clauses [neu.org.uk/maternity]. Attach the checklist for leaders on supporting pregnant women at work or you can ask your NEU rep to bring the checklist to the attention of your employer/headteacher.
- Once you have disclosed your pregnancy, it is important that you discuss with your head or line manager whether and when and how you wish to inform other staff, students and parents.
- Be vigilant about your health and safety. Ask for an individual health and safety risk assessment if you are not offered one. See our guidance on risk assessments and health and safety.
- Ask your head, line manager or employer to confirm what room you are able to use to rest, and lie down if necessary. Ask your NEU rep for help if a room is not available.
- When you agree your appraisal objectives, raise the fact that you intend to take maternity leave. If your objectives have already been set, you should ask for your objectives to be adjusted to take account of your proposed absence. Your employer should not cite absences related to your pregnancy or your maternity to justify not awarding pay progression.
- Keep records and screenshots of your conversations and communications with your employer or agency and confirm all important conversations by email.
- Ask your NEU rep for support if your head, line manager, employer or agency shares your private information without your consent, if you are not given an individual risk assessment or if the facilities or arrangements that you need to protect your health and safety as an expectant mother are not actioned.
If you need further advice about your rights at work, contact the NEU Adviceline on 0345 811 8111, or email us at [email protected].
Note that NEU membership fees don’t have to be paid during maternity leave. When you know your maternity leave dates, inform NEU membership [email protected] so that your NEU subscriptions can be suspended during your absence.