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Antenatal care

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by skellig1182, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    Hi Everyone,

    I just wondered if you could help as I’m not 100% sure about my entitlement.

    I’ve been extremely unwell in pregnancy. I have been signed off for periods of time with HG, fainting, uterine bleeding, placenta problems and gestational diabetes. I love my class and teaching so much. I decided to return when my Gp was happy to sign me off until my maternity start date but I wanted to do the last 4 weeks before May half term.

    It’s not easy but I’m taking it as easy as I can.

    I’ve already missed a midwife appointment because they didn’t want to find cover.
    I asked my head if I could attend the hospitals 3 antenatal classes during my PPA time. My GD consultant said these would be very beneficial and give me some supportive information. Especially since I’m a little limited because of the GD and worried about the birth. I’ve also got a lot of fluid around the baby which is being monitored. I’m already missing my PPA this week as it falls on a Monday and would have been so grateful to be able to attend these 3 sessions over the next 4 weeks. The occupational health team said that I should be released for any appointments or recommendations by my doctors to do with pregnancy but my head is ignoring the advice.

    Perhaps I am not entitled to go to these but my old boss sent me the information on the gov website about antenatal care and so I’m thinking I should be able to go.

    Should I be able to attend these? I’m feeling like I shouldn’t have went back now which is a shame. I don’t know why they are making it so difficult. They have had a HLTA who helps with sats (who will cover my maternity June-July until the new teacher starts in September) look after my class along side whoever else is available at school. Me being at work now makes such a difference to them and enables those members of staff to take SATS groups. If I’m signed off for the last four weeks, then those members of staff are taken from the SATS teachers. My head knows that I have struggled and working anyway and that it is my choice to work. Why would they be so difficult about 3 ppa afternoons off site when I am in and working hard so that my absence is not pulling other staff members away from additional interventions.

    Sorry for the long post! I’m just so exhausted and have little energy to battle with them now that the baby due so soon.

    Any advice welcomed. I know it’s my own fault and I should of taken the doctors advice and stayed off. Even the union advised this a last month. I love my class and my job. I just wanted the last 4 weeks with the children and to enjoy work before I’m off for the year. xxx

    Attached Files:

  2. lucycharlotte91

    lucycharlotte91 New commenter


    I don't know the answer I am afraid but I would check with your union ASAP as they will certainly know.

    I hope everything goes well for you in your final trimester as it seems like it has been a tough ride so far!
    FrankWolley likes this.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    As I understand it, if you ask for time off now, your employer is entitled to start your maternity leave from that point. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing? How about if you just said you are going to these appointments, becasue you need them and just go, and see if your maternity gets started. You haven't lost anything if it does.

    My children are adult, and I still wonder if I made the right choices for them during pregnancy and child birth. And I can barely remember who I was working for then!

    The decisions you make for your child will remain with you forever. Any issues you have with your employer will fade into the distant past very quickly.
    SundaeTrifle likes this.
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter


    This definitely says that ante-natal classes count as ante-natal appointments you are entitled to attend if they are recommended by a doctor or midwife. Your head should be counting himself lucky that they fall in your ppa time.

    Double-check with your union, then perhaps write to the head along the lines of "Having checked with my union, they have confirmed that as my midwife has recommended that I should attend the hospital's ante-natal classes, I am entitled to paid leave to attend. Fortunately they fall in my PPA time, so this will be less disruptive than it might be."

    You should not be missing midwife appointments, either. They will rightly be wanting to monitor you closely. By all means try to arrange the appointments for times which are the least disruptive to school, but if that's not possible, you still need to go.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Time off for attending appointments does not trigger maternity leave starting; that's just pregnancy-related illness.
  6. mothergoose2013

    mothergoose2013 Occasional commenter

    You and your miracle are so much more important than work. Check your entitlements with your union, (I suspect the advice given above is correct), but most of all put yourself and your baby first. Everything else will, (and should) pale into insignificance.

    Enjoy it and let others deal with what they are paid to deal with.

    Best wishes xx
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    It’s your legal right to attend as they have been recommended by your consultant. I’d not use your PPA to attend them (unless they are on those dates) as you need that time to ensure that you are not putting yourself under more pressure. The head clearly does not care about your wellbeing and you should not be missing midwife appointments.
  8. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I'm pretty sure that insisting a pregnant employee gives up their PPA for medical appts is NOT acceptable. I'm also sure that if something happens to you and your baby due to all this unneeded stress the legal teams are going to be very happy to represent you. Its important that a HT gives appropriate support to a pregnant employee, and the fact your HT isn't shows they haven't a clue about a basic of the job - the need to look out for the welfare of all in the school. Do as others suggest and get the Union on board. You've had a very problematic pregnancy and there are still concerns - the fact the HT is willing to ignore legal guidelines and medical opinion indicates they're either terminally stupid or they've got a drink problem. Or taking the view that as you've been signed off this is when they take the time back. Wrong. If things go wrong for you, they'll be facing a legal case. Talk to the Union pronto.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  9. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    My head wouldn’t even let me use my PPA. When I offered to go during that time they said, “that’s when you need to do your planning.” I said I could do that during lunch time and after school. My head said no and that they have never heard of anyone going to antenatal classes.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Disgusting. I'm appalled. Your HT is tone deaf to legal rights and staff well being. Refusing to let a pregnant employee access the care they need is NOT acceptable.

    Union. Now.
  11. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I’d read the ACAS guide to your legal rights in the link provided by Frustum. At least then you’ll know what your union should be doing to protect you.
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think I'd print out the guidance and show it to your head. It's entirely possible that they haven't heard of anyone going to antenatal classes - people don't tend to bother after the first child, and sometimes they are held in the evening or at weekends, in which case it doesn't affect work. However that doesn't mean that you're not entitled to go.
    mothergoose2013 and agathamorse like this.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I know a tiny amount more than absolutely nothing about pregnancy and childbirth. (The little I know terrifies me and has been picked by having to teach it in various PSHE lessons to various year groups!)

    However, even I know that women who are brave enough to get pregnant go to antenatal classes and find out how to cope with the horrors of birth and how to look after the bundle of joy (???) that magically appears from within the pain and indignity.

    I cannot believe that someone intelligent enough to be a head wouldn't have heard of people going to antenatal classes.

    Sorry not much help to you, but being signed off will mean you can go to all the things you need to go to without the row and stress. I'd take that option to be honest.
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Ah, the good old days. I went to ante natal classes for about 3 months! Every Monday afternoon. Missing 2 actual lessons. They were not really useful as such, because you can read what you need to know in any pregnancy magazine. However they were brilliant for meeting all the new mums in the village ( our kids went to primary school together etc, now all at uni). I don't think it was usual to attend them even in those days, but my HT was lovely and mainly said yes to anything a pregnant or ill person asked. But if your Dr/ midwife advised then...... see advice above.
  15. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I don't know the legal rights or wrongs at all.
    But I do have a strong feeling that this is not an easy pregancy and that you might be wise to take your GP's offer to sign you off now. If your Head doesn't like it, start maternity leave early. Yes, you lose some money. In the grand scheme of things is a few hundered pounds (or even a couple of thousand) more important than your health or the health of your baby? I get what you say about how much you love the class - but that's not the big issue here, surely?
    And I wish you the very best for the birth and the coming time.
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I think your legal rights are clear, from the link @frustum gave, and the point about ante natal classes being allowed if recommended by a doctor or midwife seems pretty conclusive. If you can get this recommendation in writing, and show it to the Head along with the rule on the subject, that might help. But you may want to get your union to speak to the Head.

    Yes, I am unsure of how routine appointments fit in with the Burgundy Book's where the teacher is absent from work “wholly or partly because of pregnancy or childbirth” after the beginning of the 6th week before the EWC. In these circumstances, maternity leave will be automatically triggered... It doesn't seem right to me that appointments are treated the same as pregnancy related sick leave, but they are absences. However, this only applies in the six weeks before the EWC, so possibly not yet.
    yodaami2 likes this.
  17. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Maternity appointments cannot trigger your maternity leave.

    You're legally entitled to paid time off for antenatal appointments, and the law specifically states that this includes antenatal classes where recommended by your health professional. That's not open to interpretation and it's not up for debate. Your Head is not above the law.

    Involve your union.
  18. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I think that should be the case, but have you a definitive source for it, please? Does attending an appointment not count as absence from work because of pregnancy? It sound as if this school needs to be told exactly what the law is.
  19. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    I think it may have changed now or the same as the govemenemt rules.

    My head said it’s 4 weeks but it does say 6 weeks in the burgandy book. I don’t think it applies anymore though.

    Week 36
    • You can choose when to start your maternity leave but, if you are off sick for a pregnancy-related reason in the last four weeks of pregnancy, your employer will require you to begin your maternity leave. If your baby is born early, your maternity leave and pay starts on the following day
    From be NUT.

    I’m hoping to make it up to have term but it I need a few days off I will allow myself that.
  20. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    If she doesn’t turn up earlier!

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