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Help! - maternity rights advice - work don't want to do risk assessment

(22 Posts)
Twiga Wed 05-Jan-05 22:30:47

Have just finished a horrendous shift at work and am still fuming now I'm home. I'm only just 6 weeks pg but have choosen to inform my work at this early stage due to a high risk of physical icidents at work - am residential social worker and children I work with can be extremely volitile. I did this the last time I was pg (unfortunately had mc) and they drew up a risk assessment straight away, this time my boss "doesn't see the need as it's so early". The risks of my job haven't changed, so why this change in attitude ? Also has decided that he will be looking into my Annual leave entitlement as he doesn't think I should get my 20 days due to the maternity leave that I'll go off on. I was sure that you still accrue annual leave as normal. Am on a full time contract and work for local authority. This will be our first baby and am feeling extra vulnerable due to my previous mc and now feel even more so at work. Any advice would be much appreciated, sorry is so long, Thanks Twiga x

pixiefish Wed 05-Jan-05 22:40:06

TWIGA- do you have a union- if so contact them straight away.

I'm a teacher and when I was pg I refused to have a child with with Tourettes in my class because he had thrown tables and stuff around. Your bosses have a responsibility to provide you with a safe working environment.

You do accrue leave while off on maternity (unfortunately in my job I can only take the accrued leave in the school holidays for some reason that has been explained on here in the past)

Will try and find some links for you in the meantime.

pixiefish Wed 05-Jan-05 22:43:50

here's one

pixiefish Wed 05-Jan-05 22:53:25

this is from this site- www.workingparents.org

Contractual Rights and Remuneration
An employee on maternity leave preserves her continuity of employment and continues to be regarded in law as an employee. During the 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave a woman is entitled to receive all her contractual rights except remuneration (remuneration includes wages and salary and may include other things).

Contractual rights include pension rights, holiday entitlement and other benefits such as a company car. It is not clear from the legislation whether other forms of 'pay' (such as bonuses, subsidies etc.) are regarded as 'contractual rights' or 'remuneration'.

It is up to the employer to make this clear in an employee’s terms and conditions but it would be advisable to give an employee a proportion of any salary related bonuses earned during the period before she went on leave.

While on maternity leave most employees will be entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay (paid and reclaimed by the employer) or Maternity Allowance (claimed by employee from Department of Social Security).

Accrual of holiday during AML
Holiday accrues as contractual during the 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave. During additional maternity leave the employee will accrue holiday under the Working Time Regulations. This entitles all employees to 20 days holiday per year. You may find it easier to allow the employee to continue accruing holidays as laid down in her contract rather than attempting to administer two systems

Twiga Wed 05-Jan-05 23:00:38

Thanks so much for your replies pixiefish, was really upset by this today, all happened at the start of my shift so spent the next 8 hours feeling rubbish. I feel I've been written off just because of the mc last time, felt almost like he was saying well what's the point, things probably won't work out anyway. Am probably far more upset than I should be, am so tired at the minute.

Twiga Wed 05-Jan-05 23:02:13

ps. not a member of a union yet but am now seriously considering it. Also, I'm in Scotland and the law up here sometimes varies from English law, are maternity rights the same across the board?

seb1 Wed 05-Jan-05 23:04:05

Here are some sites

TIGER
Mat. Alliance

Extract from above web site

Do I have extra health and safety protection when I am pregnant or when I am breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, your employer must make sure that the kind of work you do and your working conditions will not put your health or your baby's health at risk. To get the full benefit of this protection you must notify your employer in writing that you are pregnant or have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

Your employer should carry out a risk assessment of your working conditions and if any working conditions are found to be a risk to your health or your baby your employer must remove or reduce that risk. If the risks remain they must temporarily alter your working conditions or hours of work to remove the risk. If this is not possible your employer must offer you a suitable alternative job. If they can't offer you a suitable alternative job, your employer should suspend you on full pay for as long as is necessary to avoid the risks.


HTH

Twiga Wed 05-Jan-05 23:05:56

Thanks Seb!

seb1 Wed 05-Jan-05 23:10:54

Let us know how you get on. I had to tell my work at 7 weeks pregnant due to an health and safety issue and recieved 100% support.

pixiefish Wed 05-Jan-05 23:10:55

twiga- your baby is far more impoortant than anything.

i had issues with this boy i was telling you about and the head gave me a load of bull about having to teach him etc. prior to this I'd never really stood up for myself before BUT boy did I kick off this time. The upshot was that the boy didn't come into my room- and two weeks later he was left because of violent behaviour.

Your baby comes first- If you get no support from your boss and you feel that your baby's health/life is being put at risk then go and see your gp to get signed off work.

Twiga Wed 05-Jan-05 23:35:55

Thanks again for all you help, both of you. I'll keep you posted. Am going up to personel section tomorrow to find out what exactly I have to put on paper to get taken seriously, and to get a maternity pack, intend to start my shift tomorrow well armed. Might not be able to post until friday afternoon as shift includes sleeping in overnight until the following day at 2.30pm. thanks x

hereshoping Thu 06-Jan-05 10:54:52

Twiga - you have to really push a lot of employers - Im a doctor and in my first pregnancy discovered that I could have pushed to not do night shifts - I really struggled with these at various stages. The duty is all on the employer once you inform them you are pg and what the issues are

KMS Thu 06-Jan-05 21:00:26

Twiga, i really feel for you and I hope things have sorted out a little.
I was a Veterinary nurse when I fell pg with my first. I had to tell them as soon as I found out at 4 wks as the anaesthetic gases I was exposed to can cause M/c. so i had to be removed from theatre, for the first 14 wks, and given a job as a receptionist on the same pay. They were a little reluctant later on when I was finding it hard being on my feet all day and doing on-call duties over night. My Gp signed me off for 2 weeks for exaustion. I found a call to the Maternity Allience was really helpful. They gave me the clout I needed to be able to stand up for myself and my baby and make sure that I was given extra breaks and was on reception as much as possible.

It took a while for me to change the way I thought. up until I fell pg i would put myself out for the job and always stay on if I was needed. When I was signed off I realised that my baby was far more important than my duty as an employee.

Spacecadet Thu 06-Jan-05 22:15:21

Twiga, your employer is breaking the law. the law on employment rights is the same in england as it is in scotland.You have the right to a n immediate risk assessment if your job involves an element of risk, it is illegal for your employer to try and cut down your annual leave , you are entitled to accrue annual leave whilst on maternity leave in the same way you would normally.Cant do links but go on to the dti website where all the information relating to your rights and your employers obligations are in black and white, the maternity alliance are very helpful too.

bluemint Thu 06-Jan-05 22:52:48

Twiga, like everyone else has said, your baby comes first. I live in Scotland as well and the Maternity Laws apply regardless of where you are in the UK. Your employer really doesn't have a leg to stand on as regards accrual of leave.

Have another chat with your boss and explain that as far as you're aware you are entitled to accrue leave whilst on maternity leave. If that doesn't work, I would suggest getting a copy of what the law says and approaching your boss with this. It really hacks me off when people think they can get away with such callous behaviour because they assume people don't know or won't stand up for their rights.

Best of luck and try to remain calm. This is a special time for you and you need to be concentrating on all the crazy little things we do in anticipation of the little feet.

merglemergle Fri 07-Jan-05 12:13:51

Twiga, the advice you have had here is spot on. Just wanted to add support. In particular, if need be just go to the doctor and get yourself signed off. Your boss sounds like complete prick.

I would consider joining a union if he is going to stay as your boss, because he not only seems to have no idea about employment/maternity rights leglistation but is being hostile to you on the grounds of pregnancy. This could mean trouble in the future eg if you want to reduce hours after the baby is born. (mind you, I had all sorts of problems with that and I work for a CAB, who should know the leglistation inside out.)

Good luck anyway.

Twiga Fri 07-Jan-05 15:58:01

Thank you for all your support and advice. I decided to go round my boss in the end and contacted staffing direct so they're going to send out my maternity pack etc. Also had a chat with my deputy manager about the risk assessment with the result that a couple of hours into my shift my boss produced an initial risk assessment which is now in place. This has been a relief as I'm now expected to remove myself from any volitile situation and go to the office until things are settled, so I can leave my collegues to deal with things without feeling guilty. Luckily I'm off on annual leave for the second half of January, so will get a good break then and will tackle the issues around annual leave etc when I get back.

Am thinking about asking them to look at my shifts, I work 2pm one day until 2.30pm the next, often sleeping in at the unit. If things aren't settled sleep can be a rare commodity on shift. Am really tired at the mo and although I know this is meant to get better in the 2nd trimester I still think I'm going to struggle if I'm not getting proper rest. Don't want to be a wimp about things but not sure what alternatives to ask for.

Thanks again x

Spacecadet Fri 07-Jan-05 16:38:19

You are entitled to ask to be removed from nightshifts.I am a nurse and you are not allowed to do them after 4 months, also you would probably qualify for the same union as the one im a member of, UNISON..look into joining them and get some additional back up..good luck

mummyhill Sat 08-Jan-05 08:39:37

I am sorry your employers are as bad as mine!!!! I had a mc in september. I was hassled every day whilst i was off by them sking when i was going to return even though i had doctors notes. I have just found out that i am pregnant and have decided to inform them at five weeks. I have requested a risk assesmenton both ocasions, september they refused and this time I keep on getting fobbed off, they seem to think that it is a waste of time especially as i missed last time. How do we get them to understand that it makes it more important this time round? I know i will get my holi.day entitlement etc as it is in the company handbook. Good luck I hope the other messages on this thread help you get it sorted out.

Whizzz Sat 08-Jan-05 08:47:20

Mummyhill & others, your employer cannot refuse to carry out a risk assessment - it is a legal requirement
From HSE Website :
It is important that female employees inform their employers that they are pregnant, have given birth in the previous six months or are breastfeeding. The notification should be given in writing, as early as possible.

When employers receive written notification from an employee that she is pregnant, has given birth within the previous six months or is breastfeeding, they must conduct a specific risk assessment. The assessment must take into account any advice provided by the woman’s GP or Midwife on her health.

If any risks are identified then employers must take action to remove, reduce or control the risk. If the risk cannot be removed employers must:

Action 1
Temporarily adjust her working conditions and/or hours of work; or if that is not possible
Action 2
Offer her suitable alternative work (at the same rate of pay) if available; or if that is not feasible
Action 3
Suspend her from work on paid leave for as long as necessary to protect her health and safety and that of her child.

H&S Maternity Rights

kate100 Sat 08-Jan-05 15:34:06

I've just looked at this link from the due in August thread Twiga and it sounds like your situation is similar to mine. I work in a school where most of the children are under the care of a social worker and have emotional problems that make them volatile, chair throwing, fighting etc. and I am having trouble making them see that tyey have to take care of me and my baby. Last time I was pregnant I asked for a risk assessment and my boss didn't even know what it was!! Fortuanately, at the time I had a class who were no threat to me at all and took very good care of me, a rarity where I work. Now I am covering other classes and can be anywhere in school, sometimes on my own and I'm worried about what to do if something happens. I've told my head that I don't want to work in certain classes and i will walk out if there is a problem and she's been OK about it, but I'm not sure whether she actually means it and whether I need something to be recorded officially or if this verbal agreement is OK. Is your agreemtn with your boss been recorded formally or have you just agreed it with him?

Twiga Sat 08-Jan-05 18:11:39

Kate, my risk assessment is written down on paper and is now at the front of our shift planner file, so the whole team and any one coming in to work ie relief staff, childrens rights officers, our cleaner etc all know what is expected. My manager didn't bother signing and dating, so my deputy did on his behalf to formalise it. I've taken a copy and there should be a copy on our works computer. Any risk assessment should always written down, verbal one isn't good enough and would go against your employer should anything happen as they would have nothing to show that they had bothered. Hope you get things sorted out ok, might mean making some demands which is pretty daunting. Hve a look through the links that people have posted - I've printed a load of stuff off and am keeping it handy for if I need to fight my corner!

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