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Policy for pregnancy

At HEALTH, an employee’s pregnancy is viewed as a happy event and emphasis is placed on creating good and safe working conditions for both the pregnant woman and the unborn child, and subsequently also the breastfeeding mother and child. The pregnancy policy therefore influences the work environment both during and after pregnancy, and the work environment should in general also be adapted such that it protects the employees against factors that can have an impact on this.

Purpose

The purpose of the policy for pregnancy is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of managers, employees and the occupational health and safety groups in relation to the planning of the daily work, to take proper account of both the individual pregnant woman and breastfeeding woman. The intention is thus for the policy for pregnancy to contribute to ensuring that pregnant and breastfeeding employees can maintain as healthy and normal a working day as possible – without worrying about themselves or their unborn child/child.

Management's responsibility 

The management is under an obligation to organise work so that it can be carried out in a safe and healthy manner – also for the pregnant/breastfeeding woman. It is therefore necessary that the management and employees jointly ensure that the work is suitably planned for the pregnant/breastfeeding woman. However, the pregnant/breastfeeding woman also has a responsibility for being aware of circumstances that may constitute a risk.

In accordance with legislation (WEA Guideline A.1.8-5, February 2002, updated October 2015), the management is responsible for:

  • assessing whether the employee is exposed to factors that may be harmful for the pregnancy or child.
  • to ensure that such factors are removed or reduced so that the pregnant/breastfeeding woman can work in a safe and healthy manner.
  • to assess whether the pregnant/breastfeeding woman can be reassigned to other work if there is a need for this.

Collegiate responsibility

Colleagues are expected to show understanding and consideration towards the pregnant or breastfeeding employee and any need to ease her workload. Also if certain duties cannot be carried out by the pregnant woman for a period of time. In addition, colleagues should show consideration so that the pregnant or breastfeeding woman is not exposed to hazardous chemicals etc. This also applies to employees who are planning a pregnancy.

Role of the occupational health and safety committee 

The occupational health and safety committees at the individual departments and the HE administrative centre (LAMU) are responsible for assessing whether supplementary local policy items need to be prepared for pregnant and breastfeeding employees' working conditions. Similarly, the individual LAMU is also expected to evaluate the need for supplementary local guidelines.

Work planning 

As soon as an employee states that she is pregnant, the immediate supervisor must invite the pregnant employee to a meeting about the working conditions for the person in question. The employee should have the opportunity to invite the health and safety representative to the meeting. In an assessment, the duties of the pregnant employee are reviewed with a view to identifying possible conditions that can constitute a risk for the pregnant woman, the unborn child or the breastfeeding child. These include physical/ergonomic factors, chemicals, sources of radioactivity, laboratory animals, biological agents etc. Based on this, work is organised so that the pregnant/breastfeeding woman is not exposed to unnecessary workload or risk, while at the same taking into account the workload of the remaining employees. The manager is responsible for ensuring that the assessment and organisation of work is written down.

Health's WPA checklist for pregnant and breastfeeding woman may be used here. It is recommended that the local occupational health and safety is involved.

If an employee is exposed to factors that can affect the course of the pregnancy prior to conception or in the first months of pregnancy, the employee may request the above-mentioned meeting already during the planning of the pregnancy. Of course, here it is the employee's own responsibility to take the initiative to such a meeting with the immediate supervisor with a view to planning work so that possible risks are reduced as much as possible. Similarly, mothers who return to work before breastfeeding is completed can also request such a meeting.

When required, the management and/or the occupational health and safety group should request help from external consultants such as the Department of Occupational Medicine.

Returning after maternity leave 

When an employee returns to their job after completing maternity leave, the immediate supervisor will invite the employee to a meeting about how to ensure a good start-up. As a minimum, the meeting must include a balancing of expectations that both considers the employee's own thoughts about resources and career plans and the manager's expectations to the employee in the start-up phase and subsequently.

The meeting must also contain a balancing of expectations in relation to the need for any special measures; for example, if the employee is still breastfeeding, an assessment must be carried out as mentioned above. 

 

This pregnancy policy is prepared and approved by HE FAMU on 6 October 2017 and by the faculty management team on 7 November 2017.

Questions

If you have any questions regarding the pregnancy policy, you can contact your immediate manager, your health and safety representative or your union representative.

WPA checklist for pregnant or breastfeeding employees

The WPA checklist should be filled-out as soon as possible after that the workplace is informed of the pregnancy:

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