If you are pregnant, by law you are entitled to paid time off during working hours to attend antenatal appointments. You should keep your employer informed of the dates and times of your appointments and provide a copy of the appointment card if necessary.
Your employer may also require proof of your pregnancy. This can be done by providing a copy of your MAT B1 form.
Who is entitled to these rights?
As with most maternity rights, you must be an employee in order to benefit. However, agency workers who qualify for rights under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 are also covered. The entitlement applies from the first day of employment.
Can my employer refuse to give me time off?
Your employer must not unreasonably refuse you time off for antenatal appointments. There is nothing in law which clarifies when a refusal would be unreasonable. To take an example, if your employer refuses you time off because you have had a lot of appointments close together then that could be classed as your employer acting unreasonably. On the other hand, if there is evidence that appointments could have been arranged at times which were more convenient to the employer or outside working hours then a refusal of the appointment may be seen to be reasonable.
If you think that your employer’s refusal is unreasonable, or if your employer has not paid you whilst attending antenatal appointments, you can make a complaint to a Tribunal within three months of the date of the missed appointment. You may also have a valid claim for unlawful sex or pregnancy discrimination.
Fertility treatment & your rights
If you are receiving fertility treatment you are not legally entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments. However, reasonable time off should be allowed by your employer, failure to do so could amount to sex discrimination.
Once the fertilised embryo has been implanted, you are entitled to be treated as pregnant and have the same rights.