From the beginning of this month, employees and agency workers who have a qualifying relationship with a pregnant woman are now entitled to take time off work to accompany that pregnant woman at up to two antenatal appointments.

This guide examines the new right.

1.  Is there a qualifying period?  There is no qualifying period of employment for employees.  However, agency workers will qualify after 12 weeks in the same assignment.

2.  Is there a cap on the length of time that can be taken to attend an antenatal appointment?  Yes. The right to time off is capped at up to 6.5 hours per occasion.  This includes travelling time, waiting time and attendance at the appointment.

3.  Is this right paid or unpaid?  This entitlement is to unpaid time off.  However, employers can chose to pay for all or part of this time off, if they wish.

4.  Are there any conditions relating to the antenatal appointment?  Yes. The appointment must be made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, midwife or nurse.

5.  Can an employer ask for proof of eligibility and appointment details?  Yes.  Employers can ask for a signed declaration form to be completed which confirms details of the appointment and their relationship with the mother or the expected child.

You will need to ensure that your policies are updated to reflect this new statutory right and that you have a procedure in place to manage requests.

For more information, contact Ramshaw HR @


By Bruce Ramshaw

Principal Consultant

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