Ask Sheila England

Sheila will try to answer as many of your English Social Care questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.

Extra staff member for pregnant employee?

Risk assessments for pregnant employees. We have a night care senior staff member who is pregnant and is expecting us to cover every shift she works with an extra member of staff. Costs are obviously an issue and we did add extra cover for a previous member of staff when she was a high risk Mum, heavily pregnant and we had a few residents who had unpredictable behaviour. This time residents are less difficult and we have twilight cover 5-10 to support the bedtime needs for residents.This seems an unreasonable request - what do you think?

Dear Alyson,

Thank you for your question.

As this is a specific HR question we asked Chris King one of our expert advisers from Napthens Solicitors for his advice and this is what he said:

"This is something that needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. If there has been a significant risk identified whereby one of the only solutions is to provide an extra staff member then this should be done.

However, if you have carried out a risk assessment and determined relevant changes to the role which can be put in place to protect the individual employee from the risk identified without the need for extra cover then this is the extent of your obligation.

This may include temporarily adjusting working conditions and or working hours or offering suitable alternative work. If you have one it would be worthwhile having your health and safety consultant reviewing the specific role and risk environment.

You should also ensure that the risk assessment is kept under regular review as risks which may appear minor at this stage may develop into significant risks as the employee’s pregnancy continues."

I think this advice is really helpful and I hope you do too.

Best wishes.

Sheila


What would you like to ask Sheila?

Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA). Care is Sheila’s life; she possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business and as a leader in the care sector.

Sheila will try to answer as many of your questions as possible, giving priority to frequently asked questions and questions regarding current events and trends.

Please note that Sheila can not offer answers to matters requiring legal advice. If your matter concerns a specific service provider, please contact the CQC.







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