If you are an expectant mother or father and are working, you have maternity or paternity rights. As soon as you inform your employer that you are pregnant they have a duty to protect your health and safety, and you may have the right to paid time off for antenatal care including attending antenatal education groups. You are also protected against unfair treatment.
If you are an expectant dad you currently have no legal right to time off for these appointments butrights to unpaid leave for prospective fathers to attend two antenatal appointments will come into effect from 1st October 2014. Your employer may give you unpaid leave or allow you to work flexibly. You also need to know about and plan for your paternity leave.
To take maternity leave you should inform your employer no later than the end of the 15th week before the week the baby is due (or as soon as is reasonably practical) that: you are pregnant; when the expected week of childbirth is; and when you want your maternity leave to start. You can also make an appointment with your employer to discuss and request flexible working, if it is appropriate for you.
Parents can now share maternity leave entitlement
It is worth planning how you might organise your working and caring schedules once baby has arrived. Both mums and dads, like any other employee, now have the right to request flexible working. In addition, for those mums who return to work before their maternity leave ends, dad can now use the rest of the allocated leave – this is called shared parental leave.