How maternity leave and pregnancy can positively affect career progression

Written by RAC Editor
Last updated April 19, 2021

Will having a child affect my career?

While some people may feel well throughout their entire pregnancy, most might experience some common hurdles, such as morning sickness, headaches, bloating, tiredness, backache and aching legs. According to the nature of your job, these symptoms might affect the way you perform work.

For instance, some jobs can be physically strenuous and hazardous during pregnancy, especially if they require long hours of standing, such as cooks, waiters, police officers, and many more. In these cases, your employer should make reasonable adjustments to allow for your pregnancy, like assigning you different duties.

For this reason, it is vital that you ask your employer to adapt your duties before your pregnancy symptoms start affecting your work. In this way, you can keep on performing your best without letting your pregnancy affect the way you work, and therefore your career. Sensible employers will ensure that you feel supported in the workplace, irrespective of factors like race, religion, disability and other protected characteristics.

Moreover, it is crucial to understand how your pregnancy and maternity can positively affect your skillset, and therefore career progression.

At Refreshing a Career, we are committed to providing you with information and advice to best support your career decisions. Therefore, we have put together a list of 5 skills you can gain from pregnancy and subsequent leave.

5 skills you can gain from your pregnancy and subsequent leave

Time management

Managing a household and completing tasks to deadline at home can help you learn how to manage your time in the workplace effectively. Returning parents are often better at fitting multiple tasks into their day than before having children.

Communication

As a parent, you are constantly mentoring, teaching and role-modelling for your children. This allows you to increase your communication skills and enables you to be a great team player upon your return to work.

People management

Managing a home and your child at the same time can help you improve your negotiation skills. For instance, you might work in partnership with other family members or friends to share household duties.

Problem solving

Every industry needs problem solvers. As a parent, you’ll come across matters you never knew existed. You will learn how to deal with these matters on a daily basis, which is the fundamentals of being a manager.

Organisational skills

Being a parent will make you very organised. You might plan family activities and budget for them, which are great financial and organisational skills that can benefit your workplace.

Your rights & what you need to be aware of

As a pregnant worker, you must inform your employer about your pregnancy at least 15 weeks prior to the due date. If you did not know about the pregnancy until then, you need to tell your manager as soon as possible.

You have legal rights that protect you from unfair treatment while you are pregnant at work. These ensure you work safely and get the time off you need for your antenatal appointments:

  • Paid time off for antenatal appointments – access to antenatal care is a pregnant person’s legal right. For this reason, your employer must allow you to attend any meeting recommended by your doctor or midwife. Additionally, the right extends to the partner of a pregnant person for two antenatal appointments. However, time off allowed the partner is not remunerated.
  • Maternity pay and leave – you have the legal right to statutory maternity leave. If you choose not to take statutory leave, you must take compulsory leave for the period of 2 weeks (4 if you work in a factory) after the birth of your baby.
  • Health and Safety – your employer must carry out a pregnancy risk assessment and evaluate and remove any hazard that might pose a risk to you and your baby, including heavy lifting, working long periods without breaks, exposure to toxic substances and more. If you are unable to carry out your work because of any risks in the workplace, you must be suspended on full pay.
  • Discrimination – you cannot be dismissed or offered a job because you are pregnant or on maternity leave. If your employer dismisses you, they must give you other reasons in writing. Moreover, your employer cannot change any agreement made with you regarding when and how long you will take maternity leave for.
  • Sick pay – You are entitled to sick pay while you are pregnant. Getting sick pay could affect your maternity leave. For further information, you can visit the Citizens Advice’s website.

At Refreshing a Career, we offer numerous tips and provide you with plenty of information about parenthood, pregnancy and maternity. You can visit our dedicated guide to learn more.

Last Updated: Monday April 19 2021
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