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What Happens If You Fall Pregnant While Doing An Apprenticeship

An apprentice enjoys the same employment rights as normal workers regarding pregnancy and maternity leave.

Apprentices, like all other employees, have the following rights:

  • Prepaid time off for prenatal checkups
  • You should not be subjected to prejudice just because you are pregnant
  • Up to 52 weeks of maternity leave

Statutory Maternity Pay Claim (SMP)

If you meet the service and earnings criteria, you may claim Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP). However, your average salary must be at least the lower earnings limit throughout the calculation period.

You are only entitled to £4.81 per hour if you are under 19 or are in your first year of an apprenticeship. When you turn 19 and have completed your first year of employment, you will be paid the National Minimum Wage for your age. If you are not qualified for SMP, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance.

Statutory Sick Pay Claim (SSP)

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if your wages exceed the lower earnings level. However, please remember that receiving SSP during the maternity pay calculation period may affect your eligibility for SMP.

Pregnancy-related illness should be recorded separately and not included in your normal sickness record for disciplinary purposes or redundancy selection.

Right To Work

Apprenticeships often run between 12 and 4 years. If you take maternity leave (or other statutory family leave), you are entitled to return to your previous job on the same terms and conditions. If your business has a rolling apprenticeship programme, you should be able to pick up where you left off.

If you lose your job while on maternity leave, you may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment (if you have been with your employer for at least two years).

If you believe that the real reason you were not offered your apprenticeship back was that you were pregnant or took maternity leave, this is discrimination. 

You may be able to claim automatic unfair dismissal (regardless of your length of service) – seek advice quickly as there are strict time limits for bringing a claim at tribunal.

Updated on August 23, 2022

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