If you have questions about your maternity or pregnancy rights in employment, or about your rights as a working parent, these charitable and governmental groups can help. All provide free advice helplines and useful information guides on their websites.
Maternity Action is a charity that provides free advice on rights at work (including maternity leave and breastfeeding rights) and on maternity pay and benefits to pregnant women, new mothers and fathers, trade unions, advisers and employers. The charity’s aims are to end inequality and to improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, their partners and young children.
On the website, there are useful guides on various topics such as Adopting or Surrogacy, Same Sex Partners, and Women from Abroad. In addition, they have provided a useful set of Model Letters which can be used to formally notify your employer about antenatal appointments, if you are ill during pregnancy, to ask for health and safety protection during pregnancy, to make a complaint using the grievance procedure, etc.
Maternity Action provides a free Maternity Rights Advice Line – call 0808 802 0029.
ACAS is a government organisation that provides help and advice for employers and employees. They have information on pregnancy and maternity discrimination on the ACAS website, including guidance notes on ‘Managing Redundancy for Pregnant Employees and those on Maternity Leave’ and ‘Accommodating Breastfeeding Employees in the Workplace’.
ACAS has a “Helpline Online”, which is an automated tool on the website to help answer common questions.
If your question isn’t answered by the website guidance or the Helpline Online tool, then you can call the free ACAS Helpline to get impartial advice. The Helpline number is 0300 123 1100. It is available Monday to Friday, 8am-6pm.
Pregnant Then Screwed
The creatively named organisation, Pregnant Then Screwed, does amazing work in raising awareness about real life stories of women who have faced pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
They offer a free legal helpline, which is run by vetted lawyers, who can give you personal advice for your situation whether you are an employee, on a temporary contract or are self employed.
The free helpline is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm. Call 0161 930 5300 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to speak to someone outside of office hours then email them, and someone will call you back at a time convenient to you.
Pregnant Then Screwed also runs a Tribunal mentor programme, to support women going through employment tribunals. They match each woman up with someone who has been through the process, who can act as a friend and guide.
The Equality and Advisory Service (EASS)
The EASS provides information and advice for people who face discrimination of all types, including pregnancy and maternity discrimination. The EASS provides free resources on its website, including template letters to formally raise a pregnancy or maternity discrimination grievance at work. The National helpline is open 6 days a week, with free advice for individuals who face discrimination. Call 0808 800 0082 or you can use a Live Chat service on the EASS website.
Working Families is a charity which aims to support work-life balance. It helps working parents and carers and their employers find a better balance between responsibilities at home and at work.
The Working Families Legal Helpline gives parents advice on employment rights such as maternity and paternity leave, rights to time off in an emergency, shared parental leave and parental leave, as well as helping them to negotiate flexible hours. There is advice offered for parents of disabled children. They can give basic advice on the benefits and tax credits that working parents can claim. They also give advice on maternity discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.
The free legal advice helpline operates four days per week (not Wednesdays). Call 0300 012 0312, or email email@example.com.
In addition, the website provides written guidance on various topics including your rights in relation to miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death, your rights if you are sick during pregnancy, and your rights to time off if your child is ill.