Pregnant and fearing not passing probation

(5 Posts)
thisismynewname1 Wed 08-May-19 10:33:43

Have name changed for obvious reasons!

Would really appreciate some advice here please.

I am coming up to 5 weeks pregnant and my probation has just been extended for 3 months at work. In the meeting and letter they have stressed how happy they are with my direction and attitude and to keep it up. My performance is good but the business is underperforming as a whole, hence why I believe they failed me.

They have not given me set targets or KPI's to reach (as they know I will excel). It's a very small business, only 10 employees, and I believe they've extended my probation due to them being able to get rid of the "last one in" if the business is not taking an upward direction by August.

My question is - what are my rights whilst pregnant and on probation? Can they fail my probation if they know I'm pregnant?
Would it be better for me to leave now and start freelancing (a possibility)?

I am terrified that I'll get to August, be 4 months pregnant and out of work. I have had 2 MCs so am understandably anxious about busting a gut for a company, potentially at the detriment to mine/my baby's health, only to fail the probation.

Any advice would be very gratefully received... thank you.

OP’s posts: |
thisismynewname1 Wed 08-May-19 10:34:23

Just to clarify, I haven't told them I'm pregnant yet. I initially didn't plan to until minimum 12 weeks.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Wed 08-May-19 11:21:04

Doesn't sound like they 'failed you', it sounds like for completely separate business reasons they are concerned they won't afford to keep you/need you, and want to keep you on probation for the time being so that in the event they need to end your employment for reasons unconnected to your performance, your notice period isn't as long as it would be if you passed it.

As your performance is clearly not a concern, the best thing you can do to protect your employment now is tell your manager you are pregnant.

It doesn't preclude them from dismissing you as such, but it means they will need to be clear about why and demonstrate that your pregnancy is irrelevant, and it means they are less likely to dismiss you as they will be worried about potential legal claims.

thisismynewname1 Wed 08-May-19 11:41:34

Thanks @flowery - I really appreciate your input. You've hit the nail on the head.

I am concerned my pregnancy will cause my performance to waiver slightly. I'm currently putting in 14 hour days which is unsustainable. I'm also beginning to suffer with sickness and a few comments have been floated about me looking tired/finishing earlier than usual despite me working above and beyond contracted hours.

Should I tell them about the pregnancy and they go on to dismiss me, how would they go about this? And would I have any rights?

I am concerned I wouldn't be entitled to MA if I was unable to find a job if dismissed when my probation period ends at 17 weeks and wouldn't be able to claim anything working self-employed either.

OP’s posts: |
flowery Wed 08-May-19 11:53:52

The additional rights you have when it comes to dismissal if your employer is aware you are pregnant are that, unlike for other employees, even during the first two years of your employment you are entitled to be given written reasons for your dismissal. If you weren't pregnant they could just dismiss you without even telling you why.

You can't be treated less favourably as a result of your pregnancy, which means if they pin your dismissal on any performance dip which results from pregnancy, they are vulnerable to a discrimination claim.

And in practical terms, knowing about your pregnancy just makes them less likely to dismiss you, they are likely to be much more cautious. If they do dismiss you, they'll probably be very careful to use a fair procedure, consult you, give you the right to representation etc, none of which in reality they need to do if you're not pregnant.

As long as you were working before this job you'll probably be entitled to maternity allowance, you need to have been employed or self-employed for at least 26 weeks in the 66 weeks before baby is due.

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