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Working environment rights

Working environment rights

Perhaps your pregnancy clashes with your work? You have legal rights that you might not be aware of. Your work environment should be safe both for you and your unborn baby.

Legal rights at work
Your employer has to make sure that a pregnant woman is not exposed to any health and safety risks. If you are unable to perform your normal duties, your employer must find an alternative position for you (see www.osh.govt.nz, key word ‘pregnancy’ for more information).

An increasing number of workplaces have drawn up a pregnancy policy as part of their HR policy. A pregnancy policy can mean, for instance, a private interview between you and your boss. This allows the opportunity to discuss (if necessary and possible), any special consideration you need to be given as a result of your pregnancy.

If you’re worried you might lose your job or be discriminated against because of your pregnancy, check out your rights beforehand. See the OSH website: ‘Advice for new and expectant mothers at work’.

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against, it’s best to go through the normal channels at your company first. If you’re still not happy, you can call the Department of Labour on 0800 20 90 20 for advice.

A safe working environment for both of you
If you are aware of being exposed to substances that may affect you and your child, contact the safety representative at your workplace. If you don't have one, bring it up with your boss, as well as with your LMC.

Computer monitors are no risk
There is no evidence that it is harmful for pregnant women to work at a computer. But stress can affect your pregnancy. Talk to your midwife if you're feeling any discomfort and lots of contractions - that’s probably due to stress. If you get the chance to have a rest in the middle of the day, take it.

If any problems arise, talk directly to your employer, or go to www.osh.govt.nz for further information.
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