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Can my partner attend my antenatal appointments?

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It is well known that pregnant employees are entitled to time off to attend antenatal appointments, and rights for partners are now being extended. The introduction of Shared Parental Leave is one example, and rights to accompany a pregnant woman to an appointment have also been revised. In this article, the Employment team discuss who is eligible to attend antenatal appointments and what your employers might request from you.

Who is eligible to attend antenatal appointments?

If you are an expecting father or spouse, civil partner or partner of a pregnant woman, you can take unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments. You have a statutory right to take up to six and a half hours off for each appointment but your employer can choose to give more time off if they wish. There is no qualifying period before you can take up the new rights.

While you can take unpaid time off, there is no legal right to paid time off for antenatal appointments. However, your employer may choose to give this time off with pay as part of the terms and conditions of your employment, or allow you to take annual leave, swap shifts or make up your hours at another time.

What might my employer need from me?

Your employer should ask you for a signed declaration (which could be in electronic form) confirming:

  • that you are:
    • the expectant mother's spouse, civil partner or partner, or
    • the child's father;
  • that the purpose of your time off is to accompany the expectant mother to an antenatal appointment;
  • that the appointment in question is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse; and
  • the date and time of the appointment.

The right to two unpaid antenatal appointments will also extend to you if you become parents through a surrogacy arrangement, and you expect to satisfy the conditions, and intend to apply for, a Parental Order for the child.

Employers should have policies which deal with employees’ rights to accompany partners to appointments. The policies should outline what procedures need to be followed and whether the time off will be paid or not. If you need any assistance in drawing these policies up, or you have any other questions regarding this article, please contact our Employment team on 023 8071 7717 or email employment@warnergoodman.co.uk.

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.