Frequently Asked Employment Questions

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Document updated/added on 19.10.2020

Topic: Work and parents

Must we give women paid time off to attend antenatal classes?

Yes. Once an employee has informed you of her pregnancy she's entitled to take a "reasonable" amount of paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments and classes (and this can include parenting and relaxation classes that the employee's doctor, registered midwife or health visitor has advised her to attend). Unfortunately, there's no definition as to what constitutes an unreasonable refusal by an employer. Whilst you can't insist on it, encourage staff to make antenatal appointments and attend antenatal classes at the start or end of the working day, but bear in mind that it's not always possible for them to control the timing of their appointments or classes. Fathers and the spouses or partners of pregnant women also have the statutory right to time off to accompany the pregnant woman to antenatal appointments. However, this is strictly limited to two attendances and there is no right to pay. Tip. Except for the first appointment, you're entitled to ask the pregnant employee to produce an appointment card or some other evidence showing that the antenatal appointment has been made.