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Employment issues whilst pregnant

(10 Posts)
pinktastic1989 Thu 18-Jun-09 09:59:39

Hi to everyone,
I am 13 weeks pregnant, my job is a support worker for a large care home, when I told them I was pregnant they suspended me on full pay till an alternative job hadbeen found on grounds that the residents were violent.
I have started at a new Care home and yesterday was hit by one of the residents, a risk assesement has been carried out at my new place of work and it states that there is no threat to me from the residents and other items on the risk assesement states further assesement to be carried out.
Please help I just dont know what to do also the new place of work is 3 hours a day travelling where as my other job was 10 mins a day.

TakeLovingChances Thu 18-Jun-09 11:02:34

What???????? That is shocking! Surely you have not been the 1st staff member to have ever got pregnant there? That was bad of them to suspend you - as if you'd done something wrong angry.

I am also a support worker in a similar place. I don't have any children, but all the staff who have found out about a pregnancy we're told to inform management as soon as they found out (like early days when positive preg test) so the boss would have plenty of time to get sorted. I'm not sure if that's what you did, or what way your boss works differently to mine.

Is it run by a voluntary organisation or by the health board?

If I were you I would ring headoffice and plead your case to them. While they're faffing about doing risk assessments I'd stay away from there.

Sorry to hear about your situation

flowerybeanbag Thu 18-Jun-09 11:09:11

They did absolutely the right thing by suspending you on full pay if you were at risk until they were able to find you something else, I'm pleased to hear that. So many women struggle to get risks taken seriously or addressed, they obviously took no chances with you which is great.

However, it doesn't sound as though the alternative they did find is suitable either, both from the commuting point of view and the contact with residents.

How long have you been at the new care home? Did you raise the travelling issue immediately?

I'd be inclined to be appreciative of them taking the requirement to do risk assessments seriously, and of removing you from risk at your original job without question, but point out that unfortunately this alternative really isn't viable either, both from a risk and a commuting point of view, so could they please consider alternatives.

Could you do something at your old care home that didn't involve contact with residents? Office work or something?

TakeLovingChances Thu 18-Jun-09 15:02:37

It's not the being suspended on full pay that raised an issue for me, I think it's the best thing for them to give you full pay, but I think it's odd that that is their procedure for pregnant employees. Just to suspend them on full pay.

I agree with flowerybeanbag they should find something else for you to, be it office work or other less hands-on work with clients. But suspending a worker who is pregnant straight away isn't a good use of their resources, or employee/employer relations.

flowerybeanbag Thu 18-Jun-09 15:11:19

Not at all odd to suspend her if her job puts her at risk. We have no reason to think that's automatically their procedure for all pregnant employees, but the OP's job clearly puts her at risk so in her individual case, assuming there was no way of adjusting the job, it's very sensible to suspend her on full pay while they try to find her something else.

Out of interest what would you suggest they do as an alternative TakeLovingChanges? If they don't have another job immediately available and she is at immediate risk then it's difficult to see what other reasonable step they could have taken other than suspending her temporarily while they find her something.

The problem isn't the very sensible step of suspending her to remove her from immediate risk, it's that the job they have found for her isn't suitable either.

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 18-Jun-09 15:19:52

It's not really being suspended as the OP isn't being disciplined. More like gardening leave.

Are you able to participate in the Health and Safety assessment? Is it being done by H/R or is there a specific person designated for H/S assessments?

Is there someone in H/R who is approachable?

TakeLovingChances Thu 18-Jun-09 17:51:22

I see what you're saying, and I know that removing her from the job was the most sensible option due to the risk of being hurt again.

However, the use of the word 'suspension' makes it sound like a disciplinary step, rather than for her own good. At first reading of her initial post that raised an alarm in me, but the second time I read it (after my 1st post) I was thinking more clearly.

I don't know the ins and outs of her specific workplace, therefore cannot say what a good alternative would be. However, I do think that she should be involved at each step of the process, as that will help both this individual case, and pregnant employees in the future.

flowerybeanbag Thu 18-Jun-09 18:28:21

Oh absolutely. People often automatically view suspension as being negative purely because it's most commonly used in a disciplinary situation. But here it seems to have been done purely from positive and correct motives. Given the number of women who come on here either being denied risk assessments or having their employers being obstructive about addressing risks, it's quite refreshing to hear of an employer who is obviously keen to take a cautious approach and do the right thing.

I agree that a solution should be reached through mutual discussion, and hopefully if the OP raises the problem of the suitability of the new role this will happen.

if there really isn't anything suitable then they can and quite possibly should suspend her for the duration of her pregnancy, but this should be a last resort and isn't ideal from anyone's point of view really.

Personally I think if there really is nothing suitable a better alternative than suspension on a long term basis would be to invent a random filing project or something so that she can come into work for the next 6 months rather than having her sit at home alone.

ilovemydogandmrobama Thu 18-Jun-09 18:45:25

it's probably more, health and safety leave...

flowerybeanbag Thu 18-Jun-09 20:02:29

Yes I agree calling it something like H&S leave would be good as it avoids any negative connotations that you get with suspension and even possibly to an extent with garden leave as well, as that usually happens when someone's leaving and not really wanted around the office.

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