From 1 October 2014, an expectant father or the partner (including same-sex) of a pregnant woman will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to accompany the woman to up to two of her antenatal appointments.
'Partner' includes the spouse or civil partner of the pregnant woman and a person (of either sex) in a long-term relationship with her. The right applies whether the child is conceived naturally or through donor insemination. It also extends to those who will become parents through a surrogacy arrangement if they expect to satisfy the conditions for and intend to apply for a Parental Order for the child born through that arrangement.
The Government is aiming to achieve greater involvement of both of the child’s parents from the earliest stages of pregnancy.
An employer is not entitled to ask for any evidence of the antenatal appointments, such as an appointment card, as this is the property of the expectant mother attending the appointment.
However, an employer is entitled to ask the employee for a declaration stating the date and time of the appointment, that the employee qualifies for the unpaid time off through his or her relationship with the mother or child, and that the time off is for the purpose of attending an antenatal appointment with the expectant mother that has been made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, nurse or midwife.