Covid-19 – Latest Guidance for pregnant employees 2 July 2021

John Cook


  • The guidance has been updated but there is no substantive change, just a change of emphasis.
  • Pregnant women with no underlying health conditions remain in the clinically vulnerable category.
  • Pregnant women with significant heart disease are CEV.
  • Greater risk for pregnant women from 28 weeks’ gestation, or with underlying health conditions at any point of gestation. Therefore, work from home is social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding published on 14 June 2021.

GOV Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees (updated on 21 June 2021) states as follows:-

Less than 28 weeks with no underlying health conditions

  • You must first have a workplace risk assessment with your employer and occupational health team.
  • Then, you should only continue working if the risk assessment advises that it is safe to do so.
  • This means that your employer should remove or manage any risks. If this cannot be done, you should be offered suitable alternative work or working arrangements (including working from home) or be suspended on your normal pay.
  • Your employer should ensure you are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing.

28 weeks or more or with underlying health conditions

  • Greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
  • You should take a more precautionary approach.
  • This is because although you are at no more risk of contracting the virus than any other non-pregnant person who is in similar health, you have an increased risk of becoming severely ill and of pre-term birth if you contract COVID-19.
  • Your employer should ensure you are able to adhere to any active national guidance on social distancing.
  • For many workers, this may require working flexibly from home in a different capacity.
  • All employers should consider both how to redeploy these staff and how to maximise the potential for homeworking, wherever possible.
  • Where adjustments to the work environment and role are not possible (e.g. manufacturing/retail industries) and alternative work cannot be found, you should be suspended on paid leave.

DfE Guidance

Schools coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance (updated 24 May 2021)

No change to the above.

HSE Guidance

Making your workplace COVID-secure during the coronavirus pandemic (reviewed on 6 July 2022).

Pregnant workers

During the pandemic, pregnant workers have been advised to follow strict social distancing to reduce the risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

There is a long-standing requirement for employers to put in place measures to ensure workplace safety where a significant health and safety risk is identified for a new or expectant mother.

Some pregnant workers will be at greater risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They are defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and they should stay at home as much as possible and work from home if they can (see Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales for any separate arrangements).

Employers will need to take this into account in their risk assessment.

If you cannot put the necessary control measures in place, such as adjustments to the job or working from home, you should suspend the pregnant worker on paid leave. This is in line with normal requirements under regulation 16(3) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

HSE has specific, non-COVID advice for new and expectant mothers.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Guidance

Coronavirus infection and pregnancy (updated 23 April 2021).

  • No changes in the Q and A section.
  • Reference back to the GOV guidance above.

General Guidance

The general coronavirus guidance starts here:-

John Cook – Solicitor

John Cook

I am a qualified Solicitor with over 30 years’ experience running a business, managing a team, appearing in the Employment Tribunal and advising on almost every conceivable employment law and HR issue. Clients appreciate my down to earth and straight forward approach that allows them to achieve results and manage their organisation more effectively. I take the worry out of employment law and HR issues with a proactive and robust approach.