How to deal with maternity suspensions

  • Be aware that you may have to suspend a pregnant employee for health and safety reasons.
  • Carry out routine risk assessments in order to assess any health and safety risks to employees (or their babies/unborn babies) where they are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.
  • As soon as it is known that an employee is pregnant, arrange to meet her to discuss her job duties and working environment and whether any measures need to be taken to protect her health and safety.
  • Seek advice from an occupational doctor and/or the employee’s GP regarding any recommendations in respect of the employee’s health and well-being during her pregnancy.
  • Take all necessary steps to ensure that an employee who is pregnant or breastfeeding, or who has recently given birth, is not required to perform any work that could place her health or safety at risk.
  • Where an employee who is pregnant or has recently given birth is employed on night work be prepared to adjust her working hours or shift pattern if this is recommended by a medical adviser.
  • Review whether an employee’s job duties can be altered, or whether she can be transferred to suitable alternative work in order to ensure that she does not perform any work that might present a risk to her health or safety during pregnancy.
  • Ensure that any alternative work offered to an employee during pregnancy is suitable and appropriate for her to do in the circumstances and is on terms and conditions not substantially less favourable than those of her normal job.
  • If alternative work is not available or would not remove or reduce the risks to the employee, place her on paid suspension until the commencement of her maternity leave.

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