Pregnancy in the Workplace

Version Number

2.0

Implementation Date

9/07/2012

Scope

Department-wide

Purpose

​The Department of Education, Training and Employment is committed to protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of all female employees throughout their pregnancy, and acknowledges the mutual need of the department and employee to take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of the employee during her pregnancy.

This procedure aims to ensure that options are made available to female employees whose health and safety may be compromised as a result of the workplace throughout their pregnancy. These options include the identification and the provision of appropriate duties, flexible work arrangements, equipment and work environment.

Overview

​The process and steps required to ensure a female employee’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy will vary. For many female employees, variations to duties, equipment and the work environment will not be necessary and usual duties may be performed for the duration of the employee’s pregnancy.

It is the responsibility of the female employee to raise and discuss any workplace concerns and/or issues with their Principal or manager. However, there may be instances where the manager or Principal is required to exercise their duty of care to ensure the safety, protection and wellbeing of their staff.

Responsibilities

Principal/Manager

  • Provide information to all staff on infectious diseases relevant to pregnancy.  This information can be found in the Infection Control Guideline – 6.2 Infection Control and Pregnancy.
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of employees where pregnancy related risks are concerned.
  • Address concerns raised by employees through assessing the environment and duties carried out by pregnant female employees and undertake appropriate risk management.
  • Develop appropriate risk controls and implement monitoring mechanisms to ensure the workplace continues to be safe throughout the employee’s pregnancy.
  • Where appropriate, complete and send a copy of the signed Consent to Contact Treating Medical Practitioner Form to the treating medical specialist to enable discussions regarding the employee’s occupational health and safety and/or medical issues.
  • Where appropriate, maintain contact with the treating medical specialist and provide updates on how the employee is progressing.  This task may be delegated to the Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator (or equivalent), along with any potential liaison with QSuper. 
  • Where appropriate, obtain medical documentation from the employee to support, consult and negotiate modifications to the work environment, alternative duties and/or variation to hours as required, by completing the appropriate forms contained within the Workplace Rehabilitation procedure (workplace rehabilitation case management forms). This responsibility may also be delegated to the Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator (or equivalent).
  • Ensure that if an employee is relocated, she is placed in a position commensurate to her classification level, with duties that can be performed safely and efficiently in accordance with medical specialist’s advice.
  • Provide employees with advice regarding leave entitlements, especially in instances where any risks are not able to be adequately controlled within any work environment and/or in conjunction with support systems such as the Employee Assistance Service.
  • Treat all complaints seriously and confidentially and handle resolution in accordance with relevant departmental policies and procedures.

Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator (or equivalent)

  • The responsibilities required of this position are to be undertaken as per due process and at the direction of the supervising Principal and/or Manager. This can include but is not limited to:
    • maintaining contact with the treating medical specialist
    • providing updates to relevant parties on the employee’s progress
    • liaison with QSuper if the situation requires an application for income protection services.

Employee

  • Ensure the treating medical practitioner is aware of the specific work environment and activities that are undertaken on a day-to day basis.  Seek advice on infectious diseases relevant to pregnancy, personal immunity status for these diseases, as well as standard precautions for infection control. 
  • Access information relevant to infection control required throughout pregnancy through the Infection Control Guideline. 
  • Immediately notify the Manager/Principal of their pregnancy when medical and/or occupational health and safety issues are being experienced or where they may be reasonably foreseen.
  • Discuss occupational health and safety and/or medical concerns with a treating medical specialist followed by the Manager/Principal.
  • Seek written advice and approval (including signature) from the treating medical specialist regarding alternative duties and/or modifications to the work environment and/or environmental conditions documented within the Alternative Duties and/or Modifications to Work Environment for Pregnant Employees Form.
  • Obtain current medical documentation to support medical and/or occupational health and safety issues being experienced throughout the pregnancy.
  • Participate in the risk assessment process with the manager/principal.
  • Raise any issues or concerns with the Manager/Principal in accord with relevant departmental policies and procedures with regard to grievances.

Diversity Unit

  • Provide support and guidance to both the Manager/Principal and the employee in situations where risks and issues for a pregnant employee have been identified in the workplace.

Process

​Processes to be implemented are as per responsibilities outlined above.

Online Resources

Review Date

5/01/2013
Attribution CC BY

Act
Refers to any number of both federal and state legislated documents currently in force.

Appropriate duties
Refers to a list of duties deemed suitable by consultation between a Manager/Principal, employee and medical practitioner (if required).

Equipment
Refers to the tools required to effectively undertake a role.

Flexible work arrangements
Flexible work arrangements include a variety of options for short- or long-term changes to work and/or leave arrangements. The flexibility may relate to how, when and where work is done. 

Standard precautions for infection control
Standard precautions are work practices that assume that all blood and body fluids are potentially infectious.  Standard precautions should be a first-line approach to preventing infection and should be adopted for contact with all blood and body fluids. Standard precautions include: good hygiene practices including hand washing; use of personal protective equipment; appropriate handling and disposal of sharps and other infectious waste; appropriate cleaning and disinfection of contaminated items.