Time off for antenatal appointments - Fact sheet

Posted 23rd September 2014

Written by Tiggy Clifford

Pregnant employees have long had the right to time off to attend antenatal appointments.

However, from 1 October 2014, soon-to-be fathers and the partners of expectant mothers will also be entitled to time off.

However, employers need to be aware that the rights vary. The table here summarises the rules in place from 1 October:

Pregnant employee or agency worker Pregnant agency worker Employed father to be or partner of pregnant employee / agency worker Agency worker father to be or partner of pregnant employee / agency worker
Right to time off Yes Yes Yes Yes
Paid Yes, at normal hourly rate Yes, at normal hourly rate No No
Eligibility No minimum length of employment Must have worked for 12 weeks with no breaks or changes in role No minimum length of employment Must have worked for 12 weeks with no breaks or changes in role
Limits None, as long as reasonable One or two appointments, maximum 6 ½ hours each
Types of appointments covered Medical examinations, but also relaxation and parentcraft classes (if recommended by a registered healthcarer) Medical examinations, but also relaxation and parentcraft classes (if recommended by a registered healthcarer)
Procedure to be followed Inform employer of appointments Inform employment agency and hirer Inform employer of appointments Inform employment agency and hirer
Notice to be given No specific amount No specific amount
Information which can be requested None for first appointment, then

  • MATB1 form; and
  • appointment card
  • Employer can ask for evidence:
    • of a “qualifying relationship”;
    • that the purpose of taking the time off is to accompany a pregnant woman to an antenatal appointment;
    • that the appointment has been made on the advice of a registered health carer; and
    • the date and time of the appointment.
Grounds for the employer to refuse Employer can refuse request if unreasonable (may take account of timing, length and frequency of appointments) Employer can refuse request if unreasonable (but currently no guidance on this)
Consequence of breach by employer
  • Declaration of breach
  • if employer has refused to pay for time off – twice the amount of money as should have been paid
  • likely to amount to unlawful pregnancy and maternity discrimination
  • protection from being dismissed or subjected to a detriment.
  • If employer has refused to pay for time off – twice the amount of money as should have been paid.
  • protection from being dismissed or subjected to a detriment.


What if the employer wants to offer more?

Employers are free to offer more time off for ante-natal appointments, either on a case-by-case basis or to allow employees to take holiday.

What else do I need to know?

If you have any other questions – please just get in touch!

Newtons HR provides an Employer’s Helpline including:

  • template documents and flowcharts
  • provides up to date guidance in plain English
  • online holiday and absences management system
  • employment contracts and handbooks

Prices start at just £50 per month – simply login to your Newtons HR account or contact Tiggy Clifford on 01904 409073 or tiggy@newtons.co.uk.

This factsheet is for general information only and should not be relied upon as it may not be up to date or address your specific circumstances.  No responsibility can be accepted by Newtons Solicitors for any loss suffered by anyone acting or refraining from action as a result of anything in this factsheet.  We advise that you take legal advice in relation to your particular situation.