From 1 October 2014 expectant fathers, or the partner of a pregnant woman, will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend antenatal appointments with their partner.
Employees accompanying the expectant mother to her ante-natal appointments are entitled to unpaid leave for 1 or 2 appointments. The time off is capped at six and a half hours for each appointment.
The Government is aiming to achieve greater involvement of both of the child’s parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy.
An employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the ante-natal appointments, such as an appointment card, as this is the property of the expectant mother attending the appointment.
However, an employer is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an ante-natal appointment with the expectant mother that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has produced a guide for employers, which sets out a series of FAQs which is available here.
If you have any queries regarding this new entitlement, please contact us.