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Annabel: Pregnant women are legally entitled to paid time off to attend ante-natal clinics (this does not come out of holiday or sick leave). One of the first things that causes friction between manager and pregnant woman is that these visits, often for a 10 minute check up, can involve being absent for half a day or more! Managers can ask to see the appointment card to check if the visit is genuine, but this shows distrust of the employee, and starts things off on the wrong foot. Little seems to be done about the time out of work these check-ups take.
In my day, the hospitals made appointments for 40 women at 9am, and we were just expected to sit around and wait our turn. Later on, shared care with GPs was invented, but from experience at my own GP surgery, a visit always involves a lot of waiting.
Laura: If you search around you can find a doctor’s surgery that will have early/later hours for you to be seen. Your local clinic will usually have a midwife or a doctor on site that can do the relevant check-ups. In some cases, there are midwife led units that will come and see you in your home at a time that is convenient to you. Some companies are seeing the value of having a private GP nearby which is funded by the company, and some have a doctor on site that can provide the necessary checks. Then there is the private care. If you (or your company) can afford to pay you won’t have to wait!
Make appointments at the start or end of the day if the surgery is near to home. Some jobs can be done from a waiting room, and there is no need for any real loss of working time. It can be more efficient to make a temporary ‘working from home’ agreement for ante-natal clinic days, if the job permits this. Employers shouldn’t assume that because an employee is out of the office they aren’t doing work.
Annabel: It sounds as though you need to start talking and making arrangements as early as you can. It pays to get any agreements put into writing (or at least confirmed by email) so there are no arguments later on. You should be aware that private medical care can be a taxable benefit, so even if you are lucky enough to persuade your employer to pay for this, this will affect your tax situation.
Do you have a query that you’d like Laura or Annabel to answer? Follow this link and post your question for them – http://balancingthebump.com/contact/
Annabel Kaye is Managing Director of Irenicon Ltd, a specialist employment law consultancy. Tel: 08452 303050 Fax: 08452 303060 Website : www.irenicon.co.uk. You can follow Annabel on twitter – http://twitter.com/AnnabelKaye. Our specialist site for pregnancy and parenthood at work can be found on www.balancingthebump.com
Posted by on 16/02/2011 14:10:29
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