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Pregnancy and Maternity

5. Pregnancy and Maternity

Last Updated: August 2020

The Equality Act 2010 specifically protects women against direct discrimination and victimisation because of the protected characteristics of pregnancy and maternity. While there are currently no provisions in the Equality Act 2010 for indirect discrimination and harassment in relation to pregnancy and maternity, a woman can claim sex discrimination in these cases. For example, the refusal of employers to allow women returning from maternity leave to work part-time.

Whilst the Equality Act 2010 specifically alludes to pregnancy in women, SVC recognises that it is not only women who may become pregnant.

At SVC, we are committed to promoting and developing equality, diversity and inclusion in our actions, projects, and practices.

  1. Our Equal Opportunities 2020 policy outlines that pregnancy and maternity discrimination is unlawful. Please read the policy for more information;
  2. Anyone involved in SVC is encouraged to report any form of pregnancy and maternity discrimination to SVC staff, SVC Board of Trustees, or the HR department at Innovate Trust. Please read our Problem Solving Procedure 2020 for more information;
  3. SVC commits to promoting volunteering opportunities widely in order to recruit a more representative demographic of volunteers;
  4. SVC will support volunteers who are pregnant to undertake appropriate volunteering opportunities;
  5. SVC will support pregnant volunteers with any reasonable adjustments required to carry out their volunteering roles;
  6. SVC will undertake Risk Assessments for all pregnant staff members to ensure the safety of the staff member. Additionally, SVC would like to offer any pregnant volunteers the opportunity to have a full Pregnancy Risk Assessment completed – to outline the safety and support available to our pregnant volunteers;
  7. In some circumstances SVC may need to take additional measures to ensure the health and safety of the pregnant staff member at work. This may include (the list is not exhaustive):-
  • Temporary adjustment(s) to the SVC staff member’s working conditions and / or hours of work.
  • Offer suitable alternative work.
  • In certain cases, SVC may have to suspend the staff member from work on full basic pay (for the protection of the staff member and their chid). This is not a decision that SVC would take lightly and would be done following a consultation with the staff member. 
  1. SVC staff are employed by Innovate Trust, who pledge to ensure that maternity benefits, including maternity pay are above the statutory minimum (for a full list of benefits please see the Innovate Trust Maternity Policy;
  2. SVC pledges to be a family friendly workplace - SVC staff are to contact SVC and Innovate Trust for more information regarding pregnancy and maternity, or refer to Innovate Trust’s Maternity Policy;
  3. SVC commits to supporting employees during pregnancy and maternity as a member of Working Forward - a nationwide network, backed by some of the UK’s leading businesses, to make workplaces as inclusive as possible.
  4. SVC projects are flexible as we are mindful that SVC participants have a range of responsibilities and therefore volunteers who are pregnant, or on maternity/paternity leave (including adopted parents) will have the option to volunteer alongside their parental responsibilities;
  5. Please see SVC’s Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement and Commitments page for more commitments.  


Equality Human Rights Website (2020) Managing Pregnancy & Maternity in the Workplace. Available at:

Equality Human Rights Website (2019) Working Forward. Available at:

Innovate Trust (2017) Maternity Policy.

SVC’s Policies and Procedures (2020) Equal Opportunities Policy. Available at: