Work and pregnancy - your rights and benefits All pregnant women have some basic rights to protect their health and safety and that of their unborn child during pregnancy. Other rights depend, in part, on the length of time you have been with your company. Pregnant women who are employees have the right not to be unreasonably refused time off during their pregnancy to attend antenatal appointments with their GP or at the local hospital and to be paid for such time off. Your employer may ask for written confirmation that you are pregnant and proof of the appointment for all appointments apart from the first one. You will be able to get this from your midwife or GP at your first antenatal appointment. Antenatal care may include antenatal or parentcraft classes if your midwife, GP or health visitor advises that these appointments are part of your antenatal care. All pregnant women are entitled to special health and safety protection at work to ensure that their working conditions do not put them or their baby at risk. (These rights also apply if you have given birth within the last six months, or if you are breastfeeding.) If you have any concerns about your working conditions you must tell your employer that you are pregnant and ask for a risk assessment. Your employer has a duty to carry out a risk assessment and, if necessary, must take the following steps: * Do all that is reasonable to remove or reduce the risks found and/or * Temporarily change your working conditions or hours of work, * If a risk remains, offer you suitable alternative work, or * If there is no suitable alternative, suspend you on full pay for as long as is necessary to avoid the risk. To find out more, you should contact your trade union, your personnel/human resources officer or your local Health and Safety Executive. The Maternity Alliance also produces a useful leaflet called Health and Safety at Work: Your Rights in Pregnancy and After Childbirth. Dismissal or unfair treatment It is against the law for your employer to dismiss you or select you for redundancy for any reason connected with pregnancy, childbirth or maternity leave. This applies from day one. You are protected no matter how long you have worked for your employer. You also now have the right not to be treated unfairly on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity leave. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly, you should seek advice from your trade union or local Citizens Advice Bureau.