Pregnant workers and COVID-19: What are workers’ rights?

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Today the TUC have issued a call on government to protect the health and jobs of pregnant workers and ensure employers follow the law.

We’ve produced an accompanying blog that sets out the 4 steps employers must legally follow to ensure the health and safety of pregnant workers and breastfeeding mothers, and the 4 actions reps can take to ensure employers don’t flout the law.

Read our blog in full here.

Employers have a legal obligation to assess the workplace risks for pregnant employees and their unborn children, and breastfeeding mothers who have returned to work.

 

They must keep these risks under review as circumstances change and as pregnancy progresses, if applicable. They should follow these four steps if risks, such as exposure to COVID-19, are identified:

  1. They must try to remove or prevent your exposure to risks.
     
  2. If that is not possible, they should temporarily adjust your working conditions to allow you to work from home.
     
  3. If that is not possible, you should be offered suitable alternative employment at the same rate of pay if available.
     
  4. If none of this is possible, they must suspend you from work on full pay for as long as necessary to protect your health and safety or that of your baby. Your full pay should be based on your usual earnings, not pay based on your contractual hours.

If there is a health and safety risk which prevents you from carrying out your role and you cannot be redeployed, you should be suspended on 100% of your usual pay.

If however you are furloughed because there is no specific health and safety risk but your employer is affected for example by a lack of demand or through carrying out non-essential work, you should be furloughed on the same terms as other non-pregnant colleagues.

For more information, read our blog in full here.