Does it make any difference that I am an agency worker?

As an agency worker, you are protected against sex discrimination during pregnancy and after childbirth. This includes protection from less favourable treatment because you are breastfeeding.

As an agency worker, you have the same right to access any shared facilities provided by the hirer as a permanent member of staff. These might include, for example, a mother and baby room, a staff room or an on-site crèche.

The organisation where you are working must carry out a risk assessment of the health and safety risks to all groups of workers and others who might be affected by its activities. This includes all agency workers who are new or expectant mothers.

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 give all agency workers the right to paid time off for antenatal care, and to a medical suspension on maternity grounds where health and safety concerns prevent an assignment continuing.

Where this happens, the agency must provide an alternative assignment, or if there is nothing available, the agency must pay you for the rest of the original assignment.

To qualify for these rights, you must have worked for 12 weeks in the same assignment. However, any pregnancy-related absence will count towards the qualifying period.

If you are an agency worker, you do not have to tell your employer you are pregnant, but if you don't do this, you will not be entitled to time off for antenatal appointments or to a maternity suspension.

You can find out more from the TUC guidance on the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.