Pregnancy at work

Medical suspension on maternity grounds


Where an expectant or new mother would be exposed to risk if she continued to perform her contractual duties, the employer is obliged to alter her working conditions or working hours if it is reasonable to do so and if it would avoid the risk. If it is not reasonable to make alterations, the employer must offer the employee suitable alternative work, or if that isn't possible, suspend the employee from work for as long as necessary to avoid the risk. 

In summary, an employee who is pregnant, or has recently given birth, or who is breastfeeding may have to be suspended from work on maternity grounds if continued attendance might damage her, or the baby's health.

In general, the duty to suspend from work does not arise unless and until the employee has given the employer written notice that she is pregnant, has given birth within the previous six months, or is breastfeeding.

An employee who is suspended is entitled to full pay, which includes any bonuses or commission they would have been paid. Their suspension should last until the risk to them or their baby has been removed.

If the employee unreasonably refuses suitable alternative work the employer doesn't have to pay them.

An employee is entitled to make a complaint to an industrial tribunal if there is suitable alternative work available which her employer has failed to offer her before suspending her from work on maternity grounds. They can also complain to an industrial tribunal is they don't get the right amount of pay.