Obtaining leave for prenatal appointments
Pregnancy can be a busy time for expectant mothers and their partners. As well as preparing physically, emotionally and financially for a new family member, there are many appointments to attend. Planned visits to the doctor or midwife, ultrasounds, routine tests, check-ups and specialist visits can all take time out of your working days. Whether this time comes from your paid leave – or out of your pocket – depends on a few factors.
Do I have to use my sick leave for prenatal appointments?
The time that you take off work to attend prenatal appointments is classified differently from company to company. Some employers make it difficult to take time off, some treat it as time in lieu, and some deduct it from sick leave or annual leave. Many women use their sick leave to attend prenatal appointments. However, pregnant women are just as likely as anyone else to require this leave for their own illness or to care for a member of their family who is unwell.
The best course of action is to check your prenatal leave entitlements with your employer. If you’re unsatisfied with their response, get in touch with our Member Centre to discuss your options.
Check with your employer
Speak to your manager or employer about the leave options available to you for prenatal appointments. In some finance sector companies (NAB, for example) FSU members have negotiated a separate type of leave for prenatal appointments.
The NAB agreement provides prenatal leave of up to 38 hours per pregnancy (pro-rata for part timers). At NAB, partners of pregnant women can also access 8 hours paid leave per pregnancy to attend medical appointments.
If speaking with your employer doesn’t clarify your options – or if you’re not satisfied with their suggestions – contact us for advice.
Check your Enterprise Agreement
Your entitlement to prenatal leave may be set out in your Enterprise Agreement, your company’s leave policy and/or the National Employment Standards. Check your agreement to learn more about accessing prenatal leave for medical appointments.
Prenatal leave for partners
If your partner is pregnant, you might want to share the experience and provide support during her ultrasounds and appointments. In some companies (including NAB) FSU has negotiated special leave for partners to attend some pre-natal appointments during pregnancy.
If you don’t have access to prenatal leave during your partner’s pregnancy, you could apply for time off in lieu or annual leave to attend.
Please understand that the information above is not tailored to your individual circumstances. If you need help accessing leave to attend prenatal appointments, contact the Finance Sector Union’s Member Rights Centre on 1300 366 378.