How to respond to an employee’s notification that she is pregnant

  • Explain that employees who become pregnant must provide you with notification of their pregnancy no later than the end of the 15th week before their expected week of childbirth, and that this notification must state that the employee is pregnant, her expected week of childbirth and the date on which she intends her maternity leave to start.
  • Ensure that an employee who notifies you of her intention to take maternity leave understands that she may be asked to produce a certificate from a registered medical practitioner or a registered midwife, stating her expected date of childbirth.
  • Where an employee has notified you of her intention to take maternity leave, make sure that you respond in writing within 28 days informing her of the date on which her 52 weeks’ maternity leave will end.
  • Be aware that if you fail to provide this written response within 28 days, you will be unable to prevent the employee returning to work before the end of her maternity leave, or to discipline or dismiss her for failing to return to work on time.
  • Explain that if an employee subsequently changes her mind about the date on which she wishes to start her maternity leave, she must give 28 days’ notice of the revised start date.
  • Appreciate that an employee has no further duty to notify you of anything, unless she wishes to return to work before the end of her full 52 weeks of maternity leave, in which case she must provide eight weeks’ written notice of her early return.
  • Take appropriate steps to remove a pregnant employee from the source of any potential harm if her work is in any way likely to be a danger to her health or that of her unborn child.

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