Job seeking when you are pregnant

Many pregnant women put off looking for a new job until after their baby has been born, but there is no reason why you can’t make that move in the run up to your maternity leave.

If you had planned to change job before you found out that you were expecting a baby or where your pregnancy has been the deciding factor in moving to a different employer or working pattern, it’s perfectly acceptable to look for a new job now.

The key factors in successful job seeking when you are pregnant are knowing your rights, being able to explain the value you bring as an employee, and carrying out plenty of preparation.

Your rights and protections when pregnant

You are protected from discrimination in exactly the same way as any other person in the UK under the Equality Act 2010. This means that you are protected against discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the grounds of your pregnancy or any factor related to your pregnancy.

Currently, the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill 2022-23 is being discussed in Parliament. If this bill is passed, it will extend protection against redundancy for pregnant women and new mothers to 18 months from the date when the employer is notified of the pregnancy.

When it comes to looking for a new job, your rights and protections include the following:

  • You don’t have to disclose your pregnancy during the recruitment process. The only exception to this rule is where your pregnancy affects your ability to carry out the job or it poses a health and safety risk.
  • Employers aren’t allowed to treat you less favourably because you are pregnant or may become pregnant. This includes not inviting you to interview, not making a job offer, or offering a lower pay rate or reduced benefits. This is discrimination which is illegal under the Equality Act 2010.
  • If you believe that an employer has made a decision based on your pregnancy or potential pregnancy, you are within your rights to challenge that decision and seek advice from your trade union, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a solicitor, or the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Attending an interview when you are pregnant

If you are invited to an interview when you are pregnant, the general rules involved in any job interview still apply. There are a number of additional factors, however, that may be relevant to your pregnant status.

Preparing for the interview

First off, prepare for the interview in the same way as you would have if you weren’t pregnant. This includes:

  • Matching your skills, education, and experience to the requirements of the job description
  • Practicing the type of questions you may be asked and compiling a list of questions to ask the interviewer
  • Researching the employer

It might also be useful to research the employer’s policies on maternity leave, parentalleave, and flexible working arrangements.

Consider whether you want to tell the interviewer that you’re pregnant. It may or may not be obvious, depending on the stage of your pregnancy.

Finally, think about what difference your baby will make to your pay, benefits, and working patterns. For instance, would you rather work on a hybrid basis or part time?

During the interview

During the interview, concentrate on making a good impression, answering the interviewer’s questions, and demonstrating your value as a candidate.

The interviewer isn’t legally allowed to ask if you are pregnant or whether you plan to become pregnant in the future. However, if you decide to tell them that you’re pregnant, handle this in a positive manner. State that your pregnancy will not affect your performance or commitment to the role. Highlight your skills, experience, and achievements that make you a great fit for the job.

Following up after the interview

Following up after an interview is always worthwhile. It reminds the employer who you are, gives an impression of polite professionalism, and provides an opportunity to clarify information on both sides.

The easiest way to follow up is to send a thank you message expressing your appreciation for their time and consideration and stating your interest in the role. If you have made it known that you are pregnant, you can also confirm when your maternity leave is likely to begin and end.

Know your rights and protections before you look for a job

Finding a job when you’re pregnant can add an extra layer of stress to the process but the best way to improve your chances of landing a new job is to familiarise yourself with your rights and protections, understand your worth as a candidate, and plan ahead.