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If I go for a job interview, do I have to tell them that I'm pregnant?
No, you don't have to tell them anything. The fact that you are pregnant should not have any bearing on whether you are the right person for the job.
Although you might imagine that things have moved on, there are still shocking levels of pregnancy discrimination in UK workplaces. For example, in a survey by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, first published in 2015, 70 per cent of employers questioned believed women should declare upfront during recruitment if they are pregnant! It is against the law to require this.
You should never be asked questions regarding pregnancy or future plans to have children. If the employer does ask in the interview whether you are pregnant or plan to have children, this is strong evidence that the employer is in breach of the sex discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010.
If you feel that you have not been given a job on the grounds of your sex, or on any grounds relating to pregnancy or children, you may be able to take a claim against the employer who was interviewing you. You should seek legal advice as soon as possible from your union, a specialist charity such as Maternity Action, your local Citizens Advice or law centre, or an employment lawyer. You can also call the Equality Advisory and Support Service, a government-funded helpline.
It is worth noting that the same Equality and Human Rights Commission research found that workplaces where a union is recognised have more positive attitudes and beliefs recognising the commitment and value of pregnant employees and new mothers, and are more likely to think that pregnancy and maternity rights at work are reasonable. So it’s worth looking for an employer where a union is recognised, or encouraging your workmates to band together to invite a union to apply for recognition if not. This is a good way of ensuring that issues relating to pregnancy and maternity are mainstreamed as a normal feature of the work environment, rather than an 'inconvenience' to be 'managed' on a case-by-case basis. Browse our Union Finder tool to find the most suitable union for you.
If you get a job when pregnant, the earliest the law requires you to tell your employer that you are pregnant (in order to be able to take advantage of your right to maternity leave) is the end of the 15th week before the baby is due, although you may want to tell them earlier to claim health and safety protection, or paid time-off for antenatal care. If you start a new job after the 15th week before the baby is due, you should tell your employer immediately that you start.
If you change jobs during your pregnancy, you will not qualify for SMP because you must have worked for the same employer for 26 weeks by the end of the 15th week before the baby is due. However, you may qualify for Maternity Allowance.