Antenatal rights to time off for partners of pregnant women

David McRae
25th Sep 2014

From 1 October a prospective father or the spouse, civil partner or partner of a pregnant woman will be entitled to unpaid time off to attend up to two antenatal appointments.

Employment law shared maternity leave

Under the new law, those eligible will be able to take up to six and a half hours for each appointment and will also be protected from detriment and dismissal when exercising their right. Employers cannot ask for proof of the appointment but can instead ask for a declaration from the employee that confirms:

  • that (s)he is the mother's spouse, civil partner or partner, or the child's father;
  • that the purpose of the time off is to accompany the expectant mother to an antenatal appointment;
  • that the appointment in question is made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered nurse; and
  • the date and time of the appointment.


The new law will not be retrospective and therefore applies only to appointments on or after 1 October 2014.

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