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Can I alter my hours while I'm pregnant?

You are not automatically entitled to change your hours, but it is something you can request if you feel if would be beneficial to your wellbeing.

However if a doctor or midwife has provided you with a medical certificate stating that for your health and safety you must change your hours of work, then your employer must offer you suitable, alternative arrangements.

A pregnant employee has certain key legal rights; the right to attend antenatal appointments, the right to have maternity leave and maternity pay, and protection against being discriminated against because they’re pregnant.

If you’ve worked for the same employer for over 26 weeks then you have a legal right to request a change to your working hours, but in fact an employer isn’t legally obliged to accommodate your request.

And while the points listed above cover an employer’s legislative duties, but most responsible employers would, for health and safety reasons, happily discuss ways in which you might slightly alter the hours that you work while you’re pregnant in a way that means you can maximise your productivity for the company.

There are actually a number of formal options that you and your employer might agree on if you wished to alter your working hours during your pregnancy.

You could work part-time, cutting your role down slightly to reduce the impact of your job on your health.  Or it might be possible to work from home, at least for a proportion of your working week, to avoid the stresses and tribulations of (among other things) the daily commute.  Depending on what your role is you could look into some job sharing possibilities, your line manager might be able to advise on this in the first instance.  Some employers allow their employees to work to a compressed hours working week, where an employee works their normal number of hours but in less time. 

A practical solution might comprise a mixture of the options outlined above.  Consumer rights organisation ‘Which?’ have some great information about working hours after maternity leave including some more options; ‘flexitime’, ‘annualised hours’ and ‘staggered working hours’.

Your human resources (or personnel) manager, or your line manager is a good place to start if you’re looking into altering your working hours while you’re pregnant, but of course if you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly, and you want to seek some independent legal advice, then please contact QualitySolicitors on 08082747557 for Free Initial Assessment (a free introductory five-minute chat about your circumstances).

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