Benefits and employment rights

If you are pregnant and work you have four main legal rights:

  • paid time off for antenatal care (this can include parenting classes if they've been advised by your Midwife or Doctor)
  • maternity leave
  • maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal

Employers must give pregnant employees time off for antenatal care and pay their normal rate for this time off. The father or pregnant woman’s partner has the right to unpaid time off work to go to two antenatal appointments.

Please visit GOV.UK for more information on your rights including maternity leave.

NHS Choices has useful information on health and safety in pregnancy in relation to the workplace and advice on coping with work when pregnant.

For free prescriptions and dental care you will need a Maternity Exemption certificate using the application form FW8, available from your Midwife, GP or Health Visitor. The certificate is valid until 12 months after the expected date of your baby's birth.

The Maternity Certificate (MAT B1) enables you to claim Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) from your employer or Maternity Allowance (MA) from Jobcentre Plus. This will verifies the pregnancy; confirms the date of the expected week of confinement (EWC) or confirms the actual date of birth when completed after confinement.

The MAT B1 will be provided to you after 20 weeks gestation by your Midwife free of charge.