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Pregnancy and Maternity


In the workplace a woman is protected against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity during the period of her pregnancy and any statutory maternity leave to which she is entitled. During this period, pregnancy and maternity discrimination cannot be treated as sex discrimination.

Special rules apply to sickness absence which is related to a woman’s pregnancy or to her having given birth, as explained in the following guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission 2010)


The Equality Act 2010 introduces new protection from discrimination for students during pregnancy and maternity, by extending the protection that exists for women in employment to higher education.

This guidance is the first of its kind in the sector, outlining how institutions can ensure students aren’t discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity. It is intended to help institutions meet the requirements laid out in the Equality Act.

Areas covered by the guidance include:

  • Legal protection for students during pregnancy and maternity
  • Implications for policy and practice
  • Maternity related absence, leave and pay
  • Sources of financial support for students
  • Impact of maternity-related absence on funding allocations
  • Assessments and examinations
  • Breastfeeding and facilities
  • Student accommodation
  • Students studying abroad and international students

In line with Equality Act (2010) requirements and the recommendations laid out in Equality Challenge Unit guidance, Manchester Met University have set out the following guidelines for students and for staff supporting students through pregnancy and maternity, with matters of study, finance and health and safety. The guidance focuses primarily on study-related matters, but sources of help and advice on related issues can be found at the end of the document.

Equality Challenge Unit guidance
Student pregnancy and maternity implications for HEI’s
Support for students and staff
Student Pregnancy and Maternity Guidelines

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