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The birth of new antenatal rights

Sticking with the parent and child theme, the right to attend antenatal appointments during working hours has been extended. As of 1 October 2014, expectant fathers and the partners of pregnant women can request to take unpaid time off work to be present at pregnancy-related medical appointments, as well as classes like parentcraft. The right extends to intended parents in a surrogacy arrangement too.

Under the previous rules, pregnant women were the only category of worker entitled to reasonable time off, and they had (and still have) the right to be paid their normal hourly rate for that time. Now anyone who has a “qualifying relationship” with the pregnant woman or her unborn child has the right to accompany her to antenatal appointments, regardless of how long that person has worked for you (although an agency worker must have completed their 12-week qualifying period). 

As an employer, you only have to allow that employee or agency worker to be away from work for up to two antenatal occasions lasting no more than six and a half hours each. This is the minimum required by law; it’s open to you to agree to someone taking more time off if that’s reasonable.