Pregnancy and the Law in the Workplace - Injuries at Work, Understanding Duty of Care during Pregnancy
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Home > Personal Injury > Accidents at Work > Pregnancy and the Law - employment rights

Pregnancy and the Law - employment rights

Your rights in the workplace during pregnancy

Every year approximately 440,000 women work whilst they are pregnant. However expectant mothers, and their employers, are not always fully aware of their respective rights and responsibilities.

According to the Equal Opportunities Commission, approximately fifty percent of working expectant mothers have not had a health and safety risk assessment. In addition, the EOC also states that half of all women who continue to work throughout their pregnancy, will experience some form of disadvantage in the workplace as a result of being pregnant or taking maternity leave.

It is also thought that one in five pregnant women in the UK who return to work after giving birth, does so to a lower grade position than they had beforehand.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations

Expectant mothers need to be protected against the multiple hazards that they can experience at work. Everyday jobs in the workplace, that posed no risk to the woman beforehand, can turn into hazards that can damage the health of both mother and child.

It is essential therefore that measures are put in place to safeguard the employee in order to minimise the risk of illness or injury. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations aim to do this. They state that:

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Notification requirements

Expectant mothers are not required by law to inform employers of their condition. However an employer’s duty to perform a risk assessment only begins after they have received written notification of the pregnancy. Many women are understandably reluctant to inform their employers of their pregnancy and many do not even know what the notification requirements are.

Once notified, and after initial health and safety assessments have been carried out, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the assessments are reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to provide a safe working environment.

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Main hazards for pregnant women

There are many hazards in the workplace that can affect the health and safety of all employees. However this increases when you are pregnant.

For expectant mothers, even the simplest of tasks in the workplace can pose a danger.

The main dangers include:

Other aspects of the pregnancy that need to be considered include employees working unsociable hours or shifts who may find it difficult to cope with aspects of their pregnancy such as morning sickness and tiredness.

Therefore, providing an area where pregnant employees can go if they are feeling ill, and ensuring that the areas in which they work are well ventilated, can make a huge difference to the comfort of employees.

It is also important to ensure that regular breaks are taken by those working early in the morning or late at night, in order to reduce the risk of the employee suffering from excessive tiredness and / or exhaustion.

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Successful injury at work cases we have dealt with

Clear Answers' specialist solicitors, Thompsons Solicitors, deal with all types of injury at work accidents, including injuries to women who chose to work during their pregnancy. We have extensive experience in successfully concluding all types of accident at work compensation claims, and very many satisfied clients. Please go to our Injury at Work Compensation Claims That We Have Dealt With section to read just a few examples of our successful accident compensation claims.

Alternatively you can visit our News Section to view many other types of successful personal injury compensation claims that Clear Answers' solicitors have won.

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Pregnancy and the Law useful websites

Equality and Human Rights Commission (formerly known as the Equal Opportunities Commission)


NHS Direct

Health and Safety Executive

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Compensation claim

Should you decide to instruct us to represent you in your accident claim, Clear Answers’ lawyers have teams of specialists waiting to help you. We have extensive experience in all types of accident at work claims, whether it was the result of negligence on the part of your employer, or some other cause.

Our lawyers will be happy to provide you with expert legal advice, talk you through the claims process in plain English and answer any questions you may have regarding your claim. If you or a family member has been injured in these circumstances, please ring us on 0800 783 9019 and speak to one of our advisers. Alternatively, you may prefer to complete one of our our online compensation claim forms and one of our representatives will contact you as quickly as possible.

Strict time limits apply for making a personal injury compensation claim, so please seek expert legal advice as soon as you think you may have a valid claim for compensation.

Please visit our section on information and advice for more details on making a personal injury compensation claim, or our gathering information and evidence for details on what to do if you are involved in an accident.

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