Ensuring a safe pregnancy at work

Pregnancy and workplace safety

Your employer has a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for you and your baby while you’re pregnant. This means reducing risks and eliminating hazards where possible. But in some cases, it could also mean making changes or adjustments to your job in order to avoid common pregnancy issues.

Creating a safe environment

Your employer must provide a safe environment for you and your unborn baby when you’re at work. This includes protecting you and your unborn baby from any risks or hazards in the workplace. Sometimes this might mean making some minor adjustments to the way that you normally work (for example, by providing you with a stool if you normally stand up all day). In other cases it may mean that you need to do a different job while you’re pregnant.

Moving to a safe job while pregnant

If it’s unsafe for you to continue with your job because you’re pregnant, then you must be offered alternative work with your employer during your pregnancy.  The safe job must be the same hours, conditions and pay as your original job. If there’s no alternative work available, then you can access “no safe job” leave. If you qualify for paid parental leave, your “no safe job” leave must be paid.

Addressing common issues

Some of the common issues associated with pregnancy may require adjustments to working arrangements. Read the table below and consider what adjustments you could make at work if issues arise.

Common issues in pregnancy Consider the impact of
Morning sickness
  • Early shift work
  • Exposure to strong or nauseating smells
  • Poor ventilation
  • Travel/transport
  • No easy access to a toilet
  • Standing
  • Manual handling (e.g. coin)
Varicose veins/other circulatory problems/haemorrhoids
  • Prolonged standing or sitting
Rest and welfare
  • Frequent or urgent visits to toilet
  • Regular nutrition
  • Proximity and availability of rest, washing, eating and drinking facilities
  • Hygiene
  • Difficulty in leaving your job or work site
  • Comfort
Dexterity, agility, co-ordination, speed of movement, and reach may be impaired because of increasing size
  • Postural demands e.g. bending over, reaching across a counter
  • Manual handling
  • Working in restricted spaces
Fatigue and stress
  • Overtime
  • Evening/night work
  • Lack of rest breaks
  • Excessive hours
  • Pace and intensity of work
  • Discrimination and bullying
Contact FSU for advice

If you have any concerns about your health and safety while you’re pregnant (or any other time) at work make sure you raise these concerns promptly with your manager. If you’re unsure how to broach the subject with your employer, contact FSU for advice. We work together to ensure safe working environments across the finance sector.

Call our Member Centre on 1300 366 378 for individualised advice, or visit our contact page.