What happens if a pregnant employee goes off sick?

Pregnant employee goes off sick
If you have a pregnant employee goes off sick, the one key question you absolutely must ask is if the sickness is pregnancy-related.

If it is, you should keep a separate record for the number of days and the reason for it.  By separate I mean away from her normal attendance record.

If the absence isn’t related to her pregnancy then you should record it in the usual way, i.e. on her attendance record as you usually would.

There are two main reasons for doing so.

One reason is that attendance records can be used as part of objective criteria in redundancy selection.  If pregnancy-related absences are recorded in the same place as other absences, there is a significant risk that the pregnant employee could be selected for redundancy and if that were to happen, she could successfully claim sex discrimination in the selection.  A pregnant employee cannot be penalised in any way, including during a redundancy selection process.

The other reason is that you should have an accurate record of exactly how much pregnancy-related time off the employee is having.  Remember that you can insist that she starts her maternity leave early, as long as it’s 11 weeks or less before her due date.  You’ll need to know exactly how many days she’s had off because of her pregnancy if you want to insist that her leave starts early.

For questions relating to pregnancy at work, contact us.