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Nannies and pregnancy

2013 November 7

Over on our Facebook page  we’re always happy to post queries on behalf of nannies wanting other readers to share their experiences. Recently one nanny contacted us with the happy news that she was pregnant, wanting advice on how to tell her employers and what her rights were. As a nanny getting pregnant isn’t an uncommon situation but one which can be complicated for employer and nanny alike we’ve put together a handy at-a-glance post covering the main issues for a pregnant nanny.

When do I have to tell my employers?

The law says employees, which includes most nannies, must inform their employer about their pregnancy by the 15th week before their expected due date, which is 25 weeks pregnant. Your midwife will give you a form, known as a MATB1, to give to your employers around 20 weeks.

In reality many nannies choose to tell their boss earlier, often after the 12 week scan. Some choose to tell their employers almost as soon as they find out because they have a very close relationship. In this case you will need a letter from your doctor or midwife as proof of pregnancy.

Choosing to tell your employers earlier means they can carry out a risk assesment on your job sooner, you invoke your right to paid time off for ante-natal care and you have protection from dismissal due to pregnancy related illness (which may be important if you suffer from hyperemesis gravida or SPD/pelvic pain).

What does a risk assessment for a pregnant nanny involve?

As a nanny’s job is so varied it’s impossible to give specifics here, but as an example an employer of a pregnant nanny may need to consider the impact of lifting a baby or toddler, the likelihood of contact with infectious diseases

Can I keep working during my pregnancy?

Yes, nannies can keep working as long as they want or are able to. Your employer has a duty of care towards you, which includes making reasonable adjustments to your job to allow for your pregnancy.

When can I go on maternity leave?

You can start your maternity leave any time after the 29th week of pregnancy. The live birth of your baby at any point in pregnancy will also trigger the start of maternity leave, as will a stillbirth after the 24th week of pregnancy or pregnancy related sickness after the 36th week of pregnancy.

Will I be paid on maternity leave?

As an employee nannies are entitled to 6 weeks at 90% of full pay, and 33 weeks at the current rate of Statutory Maternity Pay or 90% of their average weekly salary during the qualifying period, whichever is the lower figure providing they have worked for the family for 26 weeks before the 25th week of pregnancy. Nanny employers usually count as small employers for tax purposes and can reclaim 100% of the amount paid to the nanny plus a small percentage to cover the employer’s NICs.

If you don’t qualify for SMP you can claim Maternity Allowance. Your employer should notify you of this by giving you form SMP1.

Where you have two or more jobs you are entitled to receive SMP for each job where you qualify to receive SMP. In this case you’ll need to submit a copy of your MATB1 form to each employer.

How much maternity leave do I get?

Nannies are entitled to 26 weeks Ordinary Maternity Leave and 26 weeks Additional Maternity Leave, a total of 52 weeks. You can choose to take less, but must take at least 2 weeks after the birth. When you start your maternity leave you should inform your employer of your expected return date, and you can change this at any point with 8 weeks notice.

What happens to my holiday?

You continue to accrue holiday while on maternity leave, so if you take a year of maternity leave you can take that time at the end of your maternity leave.

Can I work during my maternity leave?

You cannot take on any new employment during your maternity leave and still receive SMP but you can do up to 10 Keeping In Touch days with your employer without losing your right to SMP.

Do my employers have to keep my job open for me?

You have the right to return to your job under the same terms and conditions after Ordinary Maternity Leave. If you take Additional Maternity Leave then your employer must offer you your old job or a similar job with the same (or better) terms and conditions.

Can I be made redundant because I am pregnant?

An employer cannot make their nanny redundant because they are pregnant. That would be discrimination. However a nanny’s maternity leave may cause employers to substantially change their childcare arrangements, resulting in redundancy (for example deciding to use a childminder or after-school club).

If your job has changed slightly, e.g. it has become a part time job, then you have the right to be offered this job ahead of anyone else.

Do I have the right to bring my child to work?

No, a nanny does not have the right to bring their child to work but this can be negotiated with employers.

What happens if I’m in a nanny share and want to return to work with my child?

In a nanny share a nanny cares for the children from two families at the same time. The nanny’s child would count as a third family and this would mean registering as a childminder under the Children’s Act 1989.

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