Pregnancy and Maternity Equality

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby.  Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context.

This section defines what it means to discriminate because of a woman’s pregnancy or maternity, as distinct from her sex, in specified situations outside work.  It protects a woman from discrimination because of her current or a previous pregnancy.  In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.


•A café owner must not ask a woman to leave his café because she is breast-feeding her baby.

•A shopkeeper must not refuse to sell cigarettes to a woman because she is pregnant.

•A school must not prevent a pupil taking an exam because she is pregnant.

To tell us what you think about Pregnancy and Maternity Equality in Northumberland, please contact us.

Pregnancy and Maternity- useful links and Maternity – rights in the workplace

EHRC – Pregnancy and Maternity – your rights

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