Home Advice for Parents & CarersAgency workers Time off for ante-natal care

Time off for ante-natal care

Last updated: 8 Apr 2021

Employees have the right to reasonable paid time off work for ante-natal appointments, which includes the time spent travelling to an appointment and waiting. 

You cannot be refused time off for the first appointment, but for subsequent appointments your employer can ask for written proof of the appointment and a certificate or note from your doctor or midwife, stating that you are pregnant. If you do not provide these when asked, your employer can refuse the time off.  his is the only circumstance in which employers can refuse time off. They cannot ask you to make appointments in your own time, or make the time up later.

An ante-natal appointment is any appointment you make on the advice of your doctor, midwife or health visitor.  This includes parentcraft and relaxation.

It is unlawful for an employer to refuse the time off, to refuse pay for the time off, to dismiss a woman or to treat her less favourably because she has taken time off.  Not only is this likely to be pregnancy discrimination, but the employer can be required to pay compensation at twice the hourly rate for the period when the employee/agency worker would have been entitled to paid time off.

Partners’ right to time off for ante-natal appointments

Partner who are employees also have a right to unpaid time off work for up to two antenatal appointments. For more information, see our article on Time off work when your partner is pregnant.

Rights for agency workers

If you are an agency worker (and a worker, not an employee), from the outset of your assignment you are entitled to take unpaid time off to attend antenatal appointments.

After 12 weeks in the same assignment, you are entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments if you are pregnant. This should be paid by the agency at your usual hourly rate and you should not be asked to make up the time at a later date. This includes the time it takes you to travel to and from your appointment.

The agency or the hirer can ask for written proof of the appointment and a certificate or note from your doctor or midwife, stating that you are pregnant and can refuse the time off if you do not provide these.


This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

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The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.