When planning to have a baby, it is important to consider how you are going to handle work during your pregnancy. You may believe you will be absolutely fine to carry on working as normal because you are fit and healthy. However, lots of women face unexpected health issues during their pregnancy, which will impede their ability to carry out their job.
Do you want to know what your rights are in the workplace if you become pregnant? Are you wondering, how many hours can a pregnant woman work by law UK?
In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about pregnancy rights at work.
How many hours can a pregnant woman work by law UK?
So, how many hours can a pregnant woman work by law UK?
Well, a pregnant employee can continue to work their normal hours, but only if it is safe to do so.
The employer has a responsibility to check that the working environment is safe for the pregnant woman to continue working in.
If the working environment is not safe for the pregnant employee and her unborn child, then the employer must take reasonable steps to remove any risks.
For instance, risks in the working environment may be:
- heavy lifting
- standing or sitting for long periods without adequate breaks
- exposure to toxic substances and radioactive materials
- long working hours
- work-related stress
So, if you are pregnant, you should have a conversation with your line manager about any potential risks or hazards in your working environment.
You should update your employer about any advice provided by your doctor or midwife.
You should be honest about any concerns you may have, rather than struggling in silence, as the last thing you want is to put yourself and your unborn child in harm’s way.
If you do spot any risks in your job, then you and your employer should discuss what the suitable alternatives should be. For instance, you may be able to:
- work from home instead.
- work flexibly (later starts or early finishes).
- take more rest breaks during your shift.
- work compressed hours.
- share your workload with colleagues.
- ask to work during the day (instead of night shifts).
- ask to sit down, if your job requires you to stand up a lot.
- ask to be put on a different project which is safer for you (for instance, if you work in a chemical plant where you are exposed to toxic substances).
Make sure you are comfortable with the reasonable adjustments agreed upon by your employer.
Don’t feel guilty about asking for reasonable adjustments. Your employer has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to remove any risks for pregnant employees.
What rights do I have at work if I am pregnant?
- Paid time off to attend antenatal appointments.
- Maternity leave.
- Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance.
- Protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal.
Can I reduce my hours at work while pregnant?
If you become pregnant, you are not automatically entitled to a reduction in hours. This is something you will have to agree with your employer.
If you reduce your hours, this will mean a reduction in pay, which may also affect your maternity pay. So, make sure you know what is involved if you do take this step.
Can I get fired for becoming pregnant?
If a pregnant employee is fired, and the main reason for her dismissal is related to her pregnancy, then this is likely to amount to unfair dismissal and discrimination. If you suspect you have been discriminated against, you should seek legal advice. You may be able to make a claim in an employment tribunal.
Can working shifts affect pregnancy?
Working long shifts may put your health at risk, especially if the hours are long, and at night.
Research has shown that working during the night can change your circadian rhythms, which regulate your menstrual cycle and pregnancy hormones– which is why night shifts have been related to miscarriages, menstrual disorders and preterm birth.
If you have any concerns about working during your pregnancy, you should raise these with your employer. You should discuss any reasonable adjustments which would be more comfortable for you and better for your health.
Can you work with a high-risk pregnancy?
There are different reasons why your pregnancy is considered high-risk: for example, you may have a pre-existing health condition, you are carrying twins or triplets, or you have previously had a Caesarean.
If your pregnancy is high-risk, then you should think carefully about whether you want to work up until the baby is born.
You should evaluate all the risk factors at your job and see if there are any reasonable adjustments which your employer could provide.
Remember, your employer is legally required to protect your safety, as well as the safety of your unborn child while you are at work.
What are the best gifts to give a pregnant woman?
Read our gift recommendations below- we have got you covered!
We understand all too well how tough pregnancy and giving birth are on women’s bodies. The ordeal leaves mums exhausted, sore, scarred and in severe discomfort and pain.
That is why we have launched a Vegan Skincare Collection, which is natural, cruelty-free, and pregnancy-safe!
Our products contain no harsh chemicals, animal-derived ingredients, preservatives or artificial perfumes.
With our products, any pregnant woman will feel clean, hydrated and pampered in her skin and body.
Our skincare range is not just designed for pregnant and postpartum mums exclusively- many of our products are suitable for the whole family, including the new baby!
One of our best-selling vegan skincare products is our Baby and Bump Balm, which would make a wonderful addition to a gift basket.
Specially formulated to provide moisture and nourishment to skin in need of TLC, our balm contains shea butter and almond oil for extra skin protection.
Even the most sensitive little skins will be soothed, which is why our nourishing balm can be used on babies, so their skin will feel hydrated and soft!
Our gorgeous Baby and Bump Balm slides easily on the skin, which will give expecting mamas that wonderful pregnancy glow!
Click here to shop our soothing Baby and Bump Balm.
At Mama Jewels, we have curated a line of stunning Gift Hampers, which are designed exclusively for pregnant and postpartum mums.
These delightful hampers contain luxurious beauty products and self-care essentials, including bath bombs, bath soap, aromatherapy bath and massage oil, lip butter, vegan chocolate, and so on!
Click here to view our:
- Pregnancy Hampers
- Mum and Baby Hampers
- Luxury Gift Hampers
- Letterbox Gifts
- ‘Create Your Own Gift Hamper’ option
The contents of these hampers will help a pregnant mum recreate a spa experience from the comfort of her home. She will feel relaxed, pampered, and deeply touched, as she sets off on this wonderful new chapter.
Pregnancy Bola Jewellery
Another gorgeous gift idea for pregnant mums is one of our Pregnancy Bola Jewellery pieces.
When the mummy-to-be wears our Bola Pendant next to her bump, from around 20 weeks, the baby will be able to hear the Bola’s gentle chime.
As time goes by, the chime will become familiar to the baby, providing comfort, reassurance and relaxation for them in the womb. This understanding stays with the baby and once they are born, the bola’s chime can again be used to gently settle and soothe the little angel.
This beautiful necklace, which comes with a cord and a silver or black satin card, looks so elegant around the neck. It makes a wonderful present for a pregnant mum to bond with her unborn baby.
Read more articles like this
To learn more about pregnant women’s rights and gift ideas for expectant parents, click here to read our blog articles on:
- What Are the Different Types of Maternity Leave?
- What Do You Get Someone Who Is Going On Maternity Leave?
- How Can I Survive Maternity Leave Without Pay?
- Why Do Fathers Not Take Paternity Leave?
- What Gift Can I Buy for a Pregnant Woman?
- MOTHER’S DAY VEGAN HAMPER GIVEAWAY!
- What Should You Buy First When Expecting a Baby?
- What Do You Buy for a Baby Shower Gift?
- What Do Pregnant Women Need the Most?
About Mama Jewels
Mama Jewels is an independent gift box company, selling planet-friendly artisan gifts, to help make the transition to motherhood easier and more comfortable for pregnant mums and new mums.
All of our products are pregnancy-safe, vegan-friendly, and sustainably sourced. Though our products are made lovingly in England, we do ship worldwide.
To learn more about Mama Jewels, visit our website here.
Read more articles about pregnancy, parenthood and gifts for new mums and mums-to-be on our blog here.
We hope this article has provided the answer to the question, ‘how many hours can a pregnant woman work by law UK?’