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Protection for pregnant women - Equality Act 2010

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The protected period

The protected period begins when a woman becomes pregnant and ends:

  • If she has the right to Ordinary Maternity Leave (OML) and Additional Maternity Leave (AML), at the end of the AML period or (if earlier) when she returns to work after the pregnancy.
  • If she does not have that right, at the end of the period of two weeks beginning with the end of the pregnancy.

There is no authority on EU case law with regard to the protected period

It was suggested by the Advocate General Sharpston In Porras Guisado v Bankia SA (C-103/16) EU:C:2017:691 that the Pregnant Workers Directive provides for the protected period to start from the moment a woman becomes pregnant, even if no notification has been provided to the employer. The ECJ did not embrace this principle and as such there is no EU case law authority on this point.

Government’s consultation to afford additional protection

The consultation period ends in April 2019. By extending the protected period by six months for women returning from maternity leave who face redundancy measures would mean that:Greater rights to being offered suitable alternative employment during the protected period.

Complex area of law

Employers and employees should familiarise with the rights and obligations in connection with pregnant women and new mothers.

For queries regarding these matters contact Rashmi Chopra at

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0207 841 1099 .

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