All pregnant employees are entitled to time off to keep appointments for antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.
A person in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant employee is entitled to unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to two antenatal appointments.
Antenatal care is not restricted to medical examinations. It could, for example, include relaxation classes and parentcraft classes as long as these are advised by a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.
The employer is entitled to ask for evidence of antenatal appointments, except in the case of the very first appointment. With the exception of this first antenatal appointment, the employee must show her employer on request:
- a certificate confirming that she is pregnant. This can be provided by a registered medical practitioner (e.g. a doctor), a registered midwife or a registered health visitor;
- an appointment card or some other document showing that an appointment has been made.
The employee should be paid at her normal hourly rate of pay by her employer during the period of time off for antenatal care.
Time off to accompany to antenatal appointments
A person in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant woman or her expected child can take unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to two antenatal appointments. The following applies:
- the time off is capped at six-and-a-half hours for each appointment;
- there is no qualifying period for entitlement to this right;
- the right applies to employees and to agency workers.
A “qualifying relationship” includes:
- the spouse or civil partner of the pregnant woman;
- a person who lives with the pregnant woman in an enduring family relationship (including same-sex couples); and
- the father of the expected child.
The right applies whether the child is conceived naturally or through donor insemination.
It also extends to those who will become parents through a surrogacy arrangement if they expect to satisfy the conditions for and plan to apply for a Parental Order (or have obtained such an Order) for the child born through that arrangement.