Pregnant workers and new mothers: your health and safety

Informing your employer
Your individual risk assessment
Raising your own safety concerns
Rest and breastfeeding in the workplace
More advice about your rights

This page explains what you and your employer should do to ensure you and your child are healthy and safe.

There is separate advice for employers on their legal duties to protect you at work. This includes a video explaining what they are required to do.

This guidance applies to all pregnant workers and new mothers, including some transgender men, non-binary people and people with variants in sex characteristics, or who are intersex.

Your employer cannot dismiss you or treat you less favourably because you are a pregnant worker or new mother. If they do it may amount to unlawful discrimination.

Informing your employer

You should inform your employer in writing when you:

Your employer has to adjust your working conditions but only when you have told them.

They can ask you to provide a certificate from your doctor or midwife to confirm you are pregnant. However, they must allow a reasonable amount of time for you to complete all necessary medical tests.

Your employer must take account of medical advice provided by your doctor or midwife. This might mean making adjustments to your working conditions or hours, for example if:

Your individual risk assessment

Your employer should already have assessed any potential risks to women of a childbearing age as part of their general risk assessment process.

They must then carry out a more specific individual risk assessment when you tell them you are pregnant, given birth in the last 6 months or breastfeeding.

Actions your employer should take to protect you

Your employer must reduce, remove or control any risk they identify that could harm you or your child during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

They must also let you know about any safety measures they have put in place so you can continue to work safely. They might discuss this with you directly or with your safety representative (if you have one).

You can find information about common risks to pregnant workers or new mothers. These include:

If your employer identifies a significant risk to you or your child

If they identify a risk that could cause harm to you or your child, they must firstly decide if they can control it.

If that is not possible:

If that is not possible:

Reviewing any changes

Your employer must review and update your individual risk assessment:

Regular discussions with your employer (and safety representative if you have one) are important. This is because the risk of harm to you and your unborn child may increase at different stages of your pregnancy.

As the pregnancy progresses, it may affect your:

Raising your own safety concerns

You are entitled to raise any concern about your health and safety at work, and that of your child, with your employer and they are required to assess it.

They are ultimately responsible for workplace safety, but you also have responsibility for your own safety.

If you have raised safety concerns and believe your employer has failed to take appropriate action, you can:

Rest and breastfeeding in the workplace

Before you return to work after maternity leave, you should send your employer written notification that you are breastfeeding. This is so your employer can ensure you return to a healthy, safe, and suitable environment.

Your employer must provide a suitable area where you can rest or breastfeed. It should:

More advice about your rights

There is more information on your rights at work as a pregnant worker or new mother.

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