Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

26th July 2017

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.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of 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.

Please do get in touch with our team of specialists if you can’t see an answer to the question you may have and we will be happy to help.

Here at QCS we have an extensive panel of specialists with a wide range of knowledge and experience so don’t worry if you have a social care question you are struggling to find the answer to, our team are here to help.

    Join over 130,000 users already using the QCS Management System!
    Start Free Trial Buy Now
    Back to Top