Pregnancy and workplace discrimination: Here's everything you should know 3 weeks ago

Pregnancy and workplace discrimination: Here's everything you should know

I'm pregnant, what do I need to know?

In Ireland the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations apply when an employee informs her employer that she is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breastfeeding and provides an appropriate medical certificate.

As the earliest stages of pregnancy are the most critical ones for the developing child it is in the employee’s best interest to let her employer know she is pregnant as soon as possible.

Once an employer becomes aware that an employee is pregnant, they must assess the specific risks from the employment to that employee and take action to ensure that she is not exposed to anything, which would damage either her health or that of her developing child.

Regulation 24 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations, 2007 states “an employer shall ensure that pregnant, post natal and breastfeeding employees are able to lie down to rest in appropriate conditions”.

In general, employers do not have to pay women who are on maternity leave but they may choose to.

If you have enough social insurance (PRSI) contributions, you are entitled to Maternity Benefit (including self-employed). You also have the right to an additional 16 weeks’ maternity leave, but it is not covered by Maternity Benefit.


You must take at least 2 weeks’ maternity leave before your baby is due, and at least 4 weeks after the baby is born.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015: prohibits discrimination in a range of employment-related areas. The prohibited grounds of discrimination are gender, civil status, family status, age, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and membership of the Traveller community.

Your employer can not legally fire you for becoming pregnant or during your maternity leave.

Maternity legislation protects you from unfair dismissal. If you have a dispute with your employer over maternity rights, you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission.

Unfortunately despite this one-third of Irish mother’s experience maternity leave-related discrimination.

If you should find yourself experiencing discrimination in the workplace during your or after pregnancy you can contact Employment Matters.

The dedicated team at Employment Matters have experience working on behalf of women in these situations.

The service is confidential, discrete, and tailored to each client to fit their individual needs - Employment Matters will never disclose your information to others.

For a limited time, they are offering a selected number of potential clients an opportunity to meet with one of their team for a free no obligation initial consultation to discuss the options available to you.

For further information and to apply for a FREE CONSULTATION just complete the online form here, or you can call or email today on 1890 88 90 90 / email

Employment Matters is a trading name of Seán Ormonde & Co., Solicitors.