Rights you didn’t know you had when pregnant in the workplace

When you first become pregnant, you might look at your company’s maternity leave and maternity pay guidelines, and speak to your line manager about next steps. There may be quips of information previously-pregnant employees might tell you, or things you find on Google too.

But here are some things you may not know you can request from your work, as someone who is pregnant in the workplace:

 

Drinking water

Obviously, workplaces have to provide a supply of drinking water for everyone in their workplace. But, did you know, a pregnant woman needs to be drinking at least 300ml more water than the average recommended of 6-8 cups a day? And, if you’re lactating, that increases to an extra 600-700ml?

This means water accessibility is essential when you are pregnant and postnatal. So if you can’t access water easily, make sure to let someone know.

 

Working during morning sickness hours

The baby charity Tommy’s recommends to employers that pregnant people should be able to change their hours so they are not travelling or working during the peak of morning sickness. So, if you have a regular morning sickness slot, see if you can come into work at a different time, or swap your shifts with someone.

 

Footstools

Swollen ankles and varicose veins are just a couple of the many symptoms you may have to endure when you’re pregnant. That is why many advice forums recommend to employers to provide a footstool, to allow the pregnant person to rest their feet and take pressure off their legs.

 

Breaks

Not only will extra and frequent breaks be necessary – with recovering from morning sickness, to the aches and pains of growing a baby – but also somewhere to take those breaks. If your job requires a lot of standing, somewhere to sit or indeed a chair to sit on regardless is paramount. If your job requires a lot of sitting, areas to walk around and stretch, and access to fresh air.

 

Support

You have a right to feel supported and cared for at work, whether you are pregnant or not. As stated on the government website: ‘it is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of being pregnant.’ A risk assessment should be put in place as soon as your employer knows of your pregnancy, for external support. But also, your team and employer need to work with you on how best you can be supported emotionally during this time of change.

 

Written by Helena Quainton at Recognize
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