Q&As

Should an employer allow an employee who is 28 weeks’ pregnant to attend the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

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Published on LexisPSL on 15/09/2020

The following Employment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Should an employer allow an employee who is 28 weeks’ pregnant to attend the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

Should an employer allow an employee who is 28 weeks’ pregnant to attend the workplace during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

An employer must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. Failure to do so is a criminal offence. This core duty extends to the provision of plans and systems of work that are safe and without risks to health, and the provision of such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure the health and safety at work of employees. It is important to remember that this duty extends to both physical and mental health.

For further information, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—managing the workplace to 18 July 2021 [Archived] under ‘Health and safety considerations’.

In relation to pregnancy, an employer has the following mandatory duties at all times (and not just during the coronavirus pandemic):

  1. a general duty on employers to carry out a general risk assessment where they employ women of child-bearing age, in respect of processes, working conditions, or physical, biological or chemical agents which could present risks to the health and safety of a new or expectant mother, or to that of her baby

  2. a specific duty in respect of an individual employee who notifies of her pregnancy, recent child-birth or that she is breastfeeding, and whose work gives rise to

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