Pregnant employees have the same rights as other employees. You cannot fire, demote or treat them less favourably because they are pregnant and you have a duty of care to protect their health and safety at work.
As well as the usual entitlements, like sick leave or annual leave, pregnant women might need to take special maternity leave or paid safe job leave.
Special maternity leave is unpaid and for employees with a pregnancy-related illness or whose pregnancy ends because of miscarriage, termination or stillbirth. She needs to tell you as soon as possible the dates of her leave and, if you ask for it, provide medical evidence. Special maternity leave does not cut into her available unpaid parental leave.
Your pregnant employee may need a safe job if her usual tasks have become too risky. A safe job carries the same pay, hours of work and entitlements as her usual job. If there is no safe job, she is entitled to paid no safe job leave during the risk period. No safe job leave is paid if the employee is entitled to unpaid parental leave. Employee’s not entitled to unpaid parental leave may take unpaid no safe job leave.
Seek good advice before directing a pregnant woman to take unpaid parental leave or making a pregnant woman’s job redundant. Make sure your employee freely agrees to any changes to her hours of work and pay or does not lose her job because she is pregnant. Otherwise, you may risk unfair dismissal, discrimination or adverse action claims.
Employsure can advise you about pregnant employees. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.