Maternity and Pregnancy

Your Rights

Once your employer knows that you are pregnant, you are protected from pregnancy discrimination at work, in addition to protection from sex discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.

You may have a claim for sex discrimination if you are treated less favourably for associating with a pregnant woman, for example, if your partner is pregnant.

You are also protected from maternity discrimination if you are taking, seeking to take or have taken statutory maternity leave.

You are protected whether you are permanent, fixed-term, full-time, part-time, supply or agency.

Your colleagues, managers and governors are prohibited from discriminating against you.

If you are an agency worker on a day-to-day or longer term contract, your agency and the hirers for whom you are working are prohibited from discriminating against you.

Your pay and progression should not be impeded just because you are on pregnant or on maternity leave.

If you think your workplace is discriminating against you, please contact us immediately.

For a general overview of your rights while you are pregnant, see these documents:

  • Maternity Matters a general overview of maternity rights for all those working in education.

The NEU is affiliated to Maternity Action which is an organisation which campaigns for better maternity rights. Visit their website for more information about their work.

The exact nature of maternity entitlements above statutory maternity pay (salary, leave etc) may vary depending on the nature of your contract and the terms of your employment.

Please read the information below for more details.


As well as statutory maternity rights, most teachers are also covered by the maternity rights scheme for teachers, set out in the Burgundy Book national agreement on conditions of service.

Please note that Tower Hamlets and the City NEU district has negotiated an improved maternity pay package for teachers employed by Tower Hamlets which is one of the best in London:

If you have worked in local government (includes teaching) for more than 1 year (including 26 weeks in Tower Hamlets) you benefit from the full scheme:

  • 4 weeks full pay
  • 6 weeks 90% pay
  • 20 weeks half pay plus SMP (£139.58)
  • 9 weeks SMP (£139.58)
  • up to 13 weeks unpaid

Your entitlements to maternity leave and pay depend largely on:

  • whether the Burgundy Book scheme is part of your contract of employment;
  • whether there is a local agreement applying to you which improves on what is offered to teachers under the national agreement; and
  • whether you have the required length of ‘continuous employment’ to qualify for these entitlements. This may also be referred to as ‘continuous service’.

Click here for more detailed information on standard maternity entitlements.

Support Staff

Members employed under the National Joint Council for Local Government Services National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service (known as the ‘Green Book’) who have completed 1 year’s continuous local government service at the 11th week before the expected week of childbirth, are entitled to:

  • six weeks at 90% of pay
  • 12 weeks at 50% of pay, if you declare in writing that you intend to return to work,
  • If the employee does not intend to return to work, payments for the remaining 33 weeks will be at statutory maternity pay rate only.

Members not employed under the Green Book (whether they are in the state maintained or independent sectors) should check their contracts of employment to see if they are entitled to receive any occupational maternity pay.

If not, providing they meet the qualifying criteria, members will be entitled to statutory maternity pay only.

Coronavirus and pregnancy

The NEU has outlined are minimum standards for keeping everyone safe and ensuring reasonable working conditions which are linked to below. If you and members are concerned about what is happening in your workplace, use our escalation guidance.

Coronavirus Pregnancy Dos and Don’ts

Coronavirus pregnancy & maternity FAQs

Coronavirus pregnancy, maternity and childcare

Women, work and childcare during Coronavirus

Pregnancy and Domestic Abuse

Pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic abuse, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth. It is estimated that four to nine in every 100 pregnant women are abused during their pregnancy or soon after the birth. Nearly 60 per cent of survivors using domestic abuse services are also mothers.

Economic insecurity can increase a victim/survivor’s vulnerability to domestic abuse. This is because economic insecurity and poverty reduces a victim/survivor’s ability to leave their relationship, particularly if they are financially dependent on their abuser.

Research by the TUC shows that Black workers are more likely than white workers to be in insecure work, such as zero hours or casual contracts. Migrant educators can also be particularly vulnerable to exploitative terms and conditions as well as facing additional barriers to getting support from public services.  We provide further advice and support for migrant educators here

The NEU has produced a workplace toolkit to help union groups win policies in their workplaces to support employees who are victims of domestic abuse.

For further advice and support on domestic abuse, call the freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run in partnership between Women’s Aid and Refuge.

Freephone: 0808 2000 247
Website: or   

For more specialist or regional support, please see the NEU workplace toolkit.

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