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Employers ‘failing to grant leave for antenatal appointments’

Over a quarter of women said their partner could not attend

Employers are making it difficult for women and their partners to take time off work to attend midwife appointments, research suggests.

A survey of 300 UK women who have given birth in the past five years found 28% said their partner was unable to attend midwife appointments because of their workplaces not granting the necessary time off.

A further 25% said their partner was unable to be involved in the pregnancy as much as they wished.

Private midwifery services Private Midwives, which commissioned the poll, warned this can impact on partners’ mental health because they lose the opportunity to gain reassurance, support and advice in advance of the labour.

One in 10 women said that their employer seemed to be uncomfortable with the number of midwife appointments they needed to attend.

Legislation states that pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable, paid time off for antenatal care. Fathers, partners and civil partners of pregnant women are entitled to unpaid time off during their working hours to attend up to two antenatal appointments.

Employers who refuse to grant time off could be taken to an employment tribunal.

Linda Bryceland, head of midwifery at Private Midwives, said: “It’s heart-breaking that employers are making it difficult for partners to be involved in this special time, despite legislation being implemented by government to prevent this happening.”