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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. and it is against the law to take your pregnancy into account in any way.
Although you might imagine that things have moved on, there are still shocking levels of pregnancy discrimination in UK workplaces. In February 2018, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) described British employers as “living in the dark ages”, because many businesses display attitudes that are decades behind the law.
The EHRC research revealed that a shocking six in ten employers think that a woman should have to disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process, while almost half agreed that it is reasonable to ask women if they have young children during the recruitment process. These questions, if asked, would be against the law. 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 laws against sex discrimination found in 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 shows that workplaces where a union is recognised are more likely to recognise the value of pregnant employees and new mothers and to regard pregnancy and maternity rights at work as 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, to take maternity leave you will need to tell your employer that you are pregnant by the end of the 15thweek before the baby is due. 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.
f 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.