Just 1% of pregnant women who work outside the home have been suspended on full pay due to safety fears – down from 76% in April, according to a new survey.
Over half of pregnant women in work do not feel safe, a number that has more than doubled since April and just 1% of those who work outside the home having been suspended from work on safety grounds because of their pregnancy, according to a new survey.
The survey from Pregnant Then Screwed of 5,131 pregnant women found that 57% of pregnant women felt unsafe at work – up from 21% in April. Despite it being a legal requirement, just 53% of those who work outside of the home have had a risk assessment done and only 1% have been suspended from work on safety grounds – down from 76% in April. The survey also shows that only three quarters (73%) of employers who have completed a risk assessment are following it.
The survey coincides with a letter to the Prime Minister from Ernest Boateng, widower of the late Mary Agyapong, a pregnant nurse who tested positive for Covid-19 at 35 weeks pregnant and died shortly after. In the letter, he asks for the government to protect vulnerable pregnant women and to offer formal guidance that they must shield from 20 weeks gestation. based on research in France suggesting women with Covid who are over 20 weeks are five times more likely to be admitted to ICU than those in the first half of pregnancy.
Joeli Brearley, CEO and founder Pregnant Then Screwed said: “Our research shows that only about half of pregnant women have had a risk assessment conducted by their employer, despite this being a legal requirement during the pandemic. Pregnant women must remain two metres away from others at all times, but how would an employer know this is happening if they don’t do a risk assessment? If you are not able to work in safe conditions, and you cannot work from home then you must be suspended from work on full pay and yet just 1% of pregnant women are.
“The body responsible for the health and safety of employees at work is the HSE. But we know that between 16th March to 24th September no formal enforcement action has been recorded against employers for breaching health and safety regulations in relation to new or expectant mothers. Pregnant women are being let down by weak Government guidance and a toothless enforcement body.”
The survey also shows that 54% of pregnant women who do not feel safe at work say they do not understand their legal rights.