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Time off for antenatal appointments...

(9 Posts)
icklejax Thu 15-Sep-11 10:45:19

Hello smile

I'm having a lot of issues at the moment with my work place, my line manager in particular has been very unsupportive & unhelpful... I've suffered alot of morning sickness & have had time off work signed off by a doctor.
I'm going back to work today & I'm terrified because I know my line manager is going to have some issues with me...
This however, isn't the reason I need help...

I work a good few miles from my home & have to commute by train on a daily basis. When I told my workplace that I'd have to go to the hospital for an appointment they advised me that I would only be given 2 hours for the appointment as this is their "reasonable" time off.
It is physically impossible for me to get to the hospital & back to work within the 2 hours, especially if I have to travel from work to hospital & back again. I was also told that any further time off for the appointment would have to be made up after my usual working hours or I'd have to take it unpaid. Neither of which I felt was fair!
When I took this up with our HR department, they advised me that this is correct procedure and they don't have to give me any further time off.

I had a midwife visit yesterday & she advised me that they should be giving me more time off for travel as well which should also be paid. I've been trying to get hold of Citizens Advice today but it's like trying to get blood out of a stone !

I don't really know what to do as I'm not 100% sure on my rights, I really do need the time off paid as I'm sure any mums are aware having a baby is difficult & the worst thing I can do is get stressed out about it!

Please help smile
Thank you,

iarebaboon Thu 15-Sep-11 10:49:23

Not sure of the law but couldn't you have your appointment first or last thing so you only needed to factor in travel one way? That's what I did as my dr was an hours commute from my workplace

In fairness two hours seems like enough time to me, but then I never had an appointment that lasted more than 10 minutes

ChunkyPickle Thu 15-Sep-11 11:01:21

Travel time should be included, and paid for - so if it takes more than 2 hours, it does.

Unfortunately I've only been able to find the information for pre-October 2010 when the law was updated. I can't imagine this has changed - it might be worth giving them a call?

Mummawummadooda Thu 15-Sep-11 14:23:11

Mmm, however these appointments are also viewed comparable with GP/dentist/other hospital type appointments so beware getting too righteous about things. Be nice at the moment. Always worth it, as you don't know how things will go forwards and you might need a little niceness in the bank. You could reasonably be expected to make up time on the same day. Thats pretty standard. Might sound harsh but unfortunately reality.

EdithWeston Thu 15-Sep-11 14:29:29

I thought the right to time off for antenatal appointments was protected by law.

My employer asked me to make them at the least disruptive times if I could, but was also clear that I could have the time I needed, no problems (and put that way, it's easy to be happy to comply).

They do have the right to see eg appointment card as proof of the appointment, and I do think it's fair to try to minimise the impact on your working life. So I agree with the posters who say you should do everything you can to get times at the beginning or end of each day (though we all know this isn't always possible).

Quoting the law about time off is not going to be a popular step, but you might need to do it.

icklejax Thu 15-Sep-11 16:57:47

Well I've spoken to Human rights people today thanks to Chunky Pickle for giving me the idea...
I've found this wonderful statement here:

Pregnant employees are entitled to paid time off for antenatal care. Antenatal
care can include medical examinations, relaxation and parenting classes.
A pregnant employee has booked time off to attend a medical appointment
related to her pregnancy. Her employer insists this time must be made up
through flexi-time arrangements or her pay will be reduced to reflect the
time off. This is unlawful: a pregnant employee is under no obligation to
make up time taken off for antenatal appointments and an employer cannot
refuse paid time off to attend such classes.

This is on the website:
It's a PDF file of the equality act.

Human rights advised that they shouldbe giving me the time of regardless of how long it takes (as long I'm not taking the mick!!) They've also told me to make a formal greivance with the company I work for.

I do appreciate all of the advice today, thank you very much for your help, I just really hope I get this sorted ASAP as I can't be dealing with the stress of it all!

Grevling Thu 15-Sep-11 23:55:41

How long would you need off?

workshy Fri 16-Sep-11 00:07:58

have you thought about taking it as a day's holiday so you don't have to trek back to work

you still get a full year's holiday entitlemet despite being off for part of the year on mat leave so why not just use a day and save the stress :-)

icklejax Fri 16-Sep-11 10:54:47

The amount of time off may differ depending on the working hours (which can be any shifts between 8-5 & 12:30-9) so it can be difficult to judge as it would also depend on the time of my appointment...

As for taking it as holiday, I'm only 9 weeks pregnant and have used the majority of my holiday entitlement for this year I think I have about 1 day left !!

Anyway... I've just spoken to ACAS. They've given me the best news I think I could have asked for... They've advised me that where the law states "reasonable" time off for antenatal appointments this is for the number of appointments rather than time off for each individual appointment, so if there were complications during the pregnancy and I had to take more appointments it may have to go down as sick rather than pregnancy related if there are too many appointments.
They've also advised that any pregnant woman should be paid the time to get to the appointment, waiting time, appointment time & travelling back to work.

Seems my workplace are in the wrong & I will be taking it up with them again to see if we can sort this out... Very happy with this news :D - Thank you everyone for your help & I just hope this might help anyone else having problems in future...

If it will help - ACAS contact number is: 08457 474747

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