End unsafe treatment of pregnant women at work during the Covid-19 pandemic


Rachel Crasnow QC sits on the Maternity Action’s Legal Working Group panel and has contributed to its briefing on health and safety for pregnant women at work. 

Pregnant women in public-facing roles should be offered suitable alternative work or suspended on full pay, say this group of senior lawyers working on maternity and parental rights. The lawyers, members of Maternity Action’s Legal Working Group, released a briefing outlining women’s rights under health and safety legislation in the context of the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’.

Katie Wood, Senior Legal Officer at Maternity Action, said:

“Every day on our advice lines, we are hearing from distressed pregnant women who have been directed to work in public-facing roles despite the risk of infection.  Health and safety law does not permit pregnant women to be in roles which carry a greater risk than they would face outside the workplace. The law is the same no matter how many weeks pregnant they are.

Employers should stop telling pregnant women to work on supermarket checkouts or in public-facing roles in health and care during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’. 

Government should provide guidance which complies with the law so that pregnant women and their employers understand their rights and obligations. Women should not risk dismissal or disciplinary action for asserting their right to a safe working environment.”

The briefing can be accessed here.