I am currently pregnant with my second child, and notified my employer about eight weeks ago. I have not had a risk assessment done. I tripped over some boxes yesterday and hurt my back, so I am off work today, but I will not get paid for it. I submitted a grievance two weeks ago, but I have not heard anything back. Also the firm are trying to get out of paying me for the bank holiday 29th April and all other staff despite our contracts having a separate paragraph relating to bank holidays written into them. Can you advise please?
Thank you for your email.
The regulations stipulate that an employer should make two risk assessments:
1. A general one at the point he/she employs women who are of a child-bearing age; and
2. A specific one when an employee gives notice in writing of, in your case, being pregnant – this should be carried out promptly, particularly if the type of work you carry out could be a risk to either you or the baby’s health.
A risk assessment should be collaborative and is a thought process between you and your employer. As outlined above, your employer should have conducted a general assessment in relation to health and safety when you or other women of around your age began employment at the company and another when you gave notice of your pregnancy. This should have been carried out without undue delay particularly if there is a special risk to the baby or you as I have said above, and therefore 8 weeks seems like undue delay if you are in this special risk category.
Did you give notice of your pregnancy in writing? If you didn’t, I would recommend you do so immediately.
The fact that you have not had a risk assessment and then you had an accident at work, should concern your employer since, depending on the facts you may be able to claim :
I assume that your grievance is in relation to not being given a risk assessment. There is not legislation which specifically governs grievance procedures, but there is guidance published by a conciliatory board called ACAS. ACAS suggests that a meeting should be held without reasonable delay to discuss the grievance after it has been received by the employer in writing. It recommends this should be done within five working days. It is clear that your employer is not following its duties in this regard.
Unfortunately, there is not automatic right to time off for bank holidays. Also strictly speaking the 29th April was not a usual bank holiday as it was for the royal wedding and therefore represented a 9th bank holiday. Whether you or your colleagues were entitled to a day off to celebrate the Royal Wedding very much depends on the terms of your contract. If your contract simply says you are entitled to ‘bank/public holidays’ then 29 April should be included in that. If the contract lists all the 8 bank and public holidays and does not include 29 April, then it will not be included in your entitlement. This will also be the case if your contract says ’28 days holiday per year’ as this is the minimum allowed by law and allows for 20 days’ holidays plus eight bank holidays, not nine as has been the case this year.
If you haven’t already done so, I would advise that you give notice of your pregnancy in writing to your employer. Then you could wait around a week before chasing for a risk assessment. If you have already given notice in writing, I would recommend that you chase for a meeting to hear your grievance, also making your employer aware of the fact that he is in breach of the ACAS guidelines in relation to the grievance and in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Regulations in relation to carrying out the risk assessment. Hopefully it was recorded in the accident report book about damaging your back. If so, you can point this out and the fact that it is even more vital that a risk assessment is carried out.