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Pregnant Partners Concern

Hi All. Wondered if anybody had any advice..

Partner is Pregnant (Due at the end of this year) with our first child. She is currently off work with stress and anxiety. Before I continue, I'd like to put it out there that she is not the type to take time off regularly. She did have some time off years ago for anxiety issues but since then, no more than the average worker.

Her employer has had a lot of staff (nearly 50%)either hand in resignations or move to other positions within the company. This has put considerably more stress on her and her colleagues that are left.

She works mixed shifts (earliest, lates and 12 hour shifts) and has been struggling with fatigue and tiredness. This has put her stress and anxiety into overdrive, and the doctor has wrote her off.

She has been trying to suggest ways of making her work environment easier for her (different shifts, different roles etc) and although it showed signs of promise early on they seem to not be too concerned in sorting something out for her.

They have not carried out a risk assessment (as we believe they have to) and seem to not give a hoot that she is struggling. She has contacted HR, who seem to also be dismissive and directing her back to her managers.

She doesn't want special treatment, just some. Consideration.. she would rather be at work contributing than at home. A colleague seems to think they could 'manage her out' of the business.

This is concerning as times are tough anyway, especially with another mouth to feed. We are excited for what's to come, but a bit wary of her going back to work and heading into a stressful environment.

Any suggestions?

Replies

  • Comms69Comms69 Forumite
    14.2K Posts
    10,000 Posts Third Anniversary Name Dropper
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    She!!!8217;s I!!!8217;ll not disabled.

    No reason to accommodate at all.

    Yes she could be sacked quite easily; according to the sickness and disciplinary policies.

    She needs to return to work; that!!!8217;s the short answer.
  • OzzukOzzuk Forumite
    1.9K Posts
    Eighth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    Although Comms is factually correct, I'd certainly be discussing with my doctor (of whoever helps with pregnancy - forgive me I have no idea!) the impact of significantly increased stress levels on pregnancy. It may even be better to quit work if she cannot manage. Tough financially of course, but maybe health needs to take priority. Again, I've no idea, perhaps they would do some kind of settlement agreement for her to go.
  • It is not a legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment for a pregnant employee, but it is really dangerous for the employer not to, especially where a period of sickness has arisen which could have significant impact on the pregnancy - anxiety and "stress" being considered very bad for pregnancy. See here for further advice on employer responsibilities http://www.hse.gov.uk/mothers/faqs.htm

    To be honest, I would be suggesting that the GP needs to be more proactively using the fit note to say that it is their opinion that the circumstances at work are a major contributor to her stress and a risk to the pregnancy. Any employer who ignored a fit note that says that deserves the discrimination claim that's coming should they attempt a dismissal! If the GP isn't willing to put their opinion on paper, then that is a problem- it suggests that they don't believe the work situation is the issue or that they have no confidence in their diagnosis. In which case your options are to consider whether your GP is any good, go back to work, or take the risk of being managed out.

    I would point out that any employer willing to even consider dismissing someone who is pregnant needs a lot of evidence/ justification, and nerves of steel. It's a risky business. And irrespective of sickness management policies, this would be relatively in a grey area. Pregnancy related sickness cannot be counted; and whilst this is not directly pregnancy related, I'd be willing to argue that in a tribunal given the right circumstances, since there is potentially an argument that it is only because she is pregnant that the stress is having this impact or risk, given she hasn't experienced it previously.

    What kind of employer is this, and how big? Is there a union? And I assume she isn't a member?
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