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Can I take time off for antenatal appointments? Can my partner take time off too?

Yes. You should agree this with your employer. The length and frequency of your breaks will depend on the hours and nature of the work you do.

One of the key employment rights of a pregnant woman is the right to take time off to attend all antenatal appointments.  Normally, if you’re an employee, then you’re allowed to take paid time off, but if you’re a freelance or agency worker and you’ve worked for that employer for less than 12 weeks then although you’re allowed to attend antenatal appointments without any discrimination at all, you may have to take unpaid time off to do this.

Wherever an employer gives you time off for antenatal reasons, this time off includes travel time taken to get there and back.

The rules are slightly different for a father-to-be; the father of a baby is allowed to attend up to two antenatal appointments on an ‘unpaid time off’ basis. 

A ‘father’ in this case can be defined as being the father, the mother’s husband or civil partner, the man who lives with the mother, or a future parent in the case of a surrogate arrangement.

If any of the definitions above applies to you, then your employer may ask you for a written declaration of your intent to take time off for antenatal-related reasons.  The Working Families website offers a very good template if you want to make such a declaration to your employer.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you don’t actually have to give evidence that you’re attending an antenatal class, but you just have to make the written declaration (which can be sent electronically or on paper).

If you feel that your employer has unreasonably refused your right to attend an antenatal appointment, then get in touch with QualitySolicitors on 08082747557 and we can have a quick chat for free so we can let you know how we’ll be able to help.

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