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Pregnancy Rights Information by. Your 4 key rights Discrimination and Pregnancy Legislation to protect pregnant women Flexible working, time off & apprenticeship. Your 4 key rights. Pregnant employees have four key rights: 1) Paid time for antenatal care. 2) Maternity leave.

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Pregnancy Rights Information


  • Your 4 key rights
  • Discrimination and Pregnancy
  • Legislation to protect pregnant women
  • Flexible working, time off & apprenticeship
your 4 key rights
Your 4 key rights

Pregnant employees have four key rights:

1) Paid time for antenatal care.

2) Maternity leave.

3) Maternity pay benefits.

4) Protection against unfair treatment or dismissal.

more details to that
…more details to that

You must tell your employer that you are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the beginning of the week when your baby is due, or earlier!

  • Antenatal CareIt is unlawful for your employer to refuse to give you reasonable time off for antenatal care or to pay you at your normal rate of pay when you do take off time for antenatal care.
  • Risk assessmentsIt should be carried out by your employer to determine the health and safety of pregnant employees once you have informed them about your pregnancy. Such risks might be caused by:

1) Lifting or carrying heavy loads

2) Standing or sitting for long periods of time

3) Exposure to toxic substances

4) Long working hours

maternity leave
Maternity leave

The employee is entitled to be granted leave if:

i. It is not possible for the employer to move the employee to other work; or

ii. Such a move cannot reasonably be required;

iii. The other proposed work is not suitable for the employee.

iv. An employee who is granted health and safety leave must be paid her usual wage by her employer for the first 21 days of her leave.


Compulsory Maternity leave

Even if you have decided not to take Statutory Maternity Leave, you must take two weeks off after your baby is born, or four weeks if you work in a factory. This is compulsory.

Maternity Leave & Additional Maternity leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to

i. 26 consecutive weeks of maternity leave;

ii. 16 consecutive weeks of additional (unpaid) maternity leave beginning immediately after the end of her maternity leave.


An employee who is breastfeeding is entitled, without loss of pay, for 26 weeks following the birth, as decided by her employer, to:

 Time off from her work to breastfeed in the workplace or

 A reduction of working hours for breastfeeding outside of work

Definition:Breastfeeding is defined to include expressing breast milk and feeding it to a child immediately or storing it for the purposes of feeding it to the child at a later time.

discrimination and pregnancy
Discrimination and Pregnancy

It is unlawful Sex Discrimination for employers to treat women less favourably because of their pregnancy or because they Maternity Leave.

Discrimination may take place in the following ways:

1) Trying to cut your hours of work without your permission

2) Suddenly giving you poor staff reports

3) Giving you unsuitable work

4) Making you redundant because of your pregnancy

5) Treating days off sick due to pregnancy as adisciplinary issue

legislation to protect pregnant women
Legislation to protect pregnant women

1) The Maternity Protection Act 1994

2) Maternity Protection (Amendment) Act 2004

3) Section 18 of the Equality Act 2010

4) The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations 2000

flexible working
Flexible Working

Under Employment Rights Act 1996 - changing hours, working times to allow to work from home, enable to care for their children and vulnerable adults in their care.

Who Qualifies?

  • If you have worked for the company for 26 weeks and have a child aged 17 or under, or a disabled child under 18
  • Biological or adoptive parents have this right as do guardians and foster carers.

How to apply?

  • The request must be put in writing, explaining how they qualify for Flexible Working, explaining what changes they would like to be made and when they would like these changes to start.
  • Within 28 days the company must either agree to the request or hold a meeting with the employee to discuss it.
  • If the employer refuses the request, the employee has the right to appeal within 14 days, and the employer must hold a meeting with the employee to discuss the appeal.

The employer has the right to refuse an employee’s request if one of the following applies:

i. The change would involve additional costs.

ii. The company would be unable to recruit additional staff or re-organise work among existingstaff.

iii. The change would have a detrimental impact on quality or performance or ability to meet customer demand.

iv. There would be insufficient work during the periods the employee wants to work.

v. The change would not be compatiblewith planned structural changes.

time off ante natal classes
Time off Ante-natal classes

A pregnant employee and expectant fathers are entitled to paid time off work, to attend one set of ante-natal classes (other than the last 3 classes).

(This does not apply to members of the Defence Forces and Garda Siochana. )

How? Notify your employer in writing of the date and times of each class as soon as practicable,not later than 2 weeks before the date of the relevant class;

time off training probation and apprenticeships
Time offTraining, probation and apprenticeships

All periods of training, probation and apprenticeship are suspended during absence on leave under the maternity legislation and will have to be completed on his/her return to work.

last information
…last information

Annual leave

Annual leave continues to build up as normal while an employee is on both the standard maternity leave and the additional unpaid maternity leave.

Public Holidays

Employees on maternity leave and additional unpaid maternity leave are entitled to be credited for any public holiday that occurs during their leave.