Key questions and answers on pregnancy at work: what do you need to know about occupational hazards?
In today’s society where there are more and more women in the labor market, it is necessary to guarantee the protection of the pregnant woman, the fetus or the child during the period of breastfeeding, in any professional activity that may present a specific risk. For this, it is necessary to know the obligations of the company and the worker aimed at guaranteeing the health protection of the pair pregnant woman-work.
Can a pregnant woman continue to perform her duties in the company, must she be absent from work during her pregnancy? Does the company she works for have to take preventive measures?
To answer all these questions, we will have to look at what is established by Law 31/1995 on the prevention of occupational risks, where in its article 26 it speaks of maternity protection.
Can a pregnant woman continue to perform her duties?
Pregnancy is not an illness and therefore many women can combine pregnancy with labor and do so safely and with controlled risks.
What should I keep in mind if I am pregnant?
Women come to be seen as a particularly sensitive worker.
Article 25 of the Law on the Prevention of Occupational Risks provides that the employer must guarantee the protection of workers who, because of their personal characteristics or their biological state, may be particularly sensitive to the risks arising from their work. Therefore, a specific risk assessment of the pregnant woman will be carried out to identify the risks, environment and working conditions that may be harmful to the woman and / or the fetus during pregnancy, as well as during the period of pregnancy. breastfeeding and In this way, determine the suitability of the job or tasks to be performed by the company and for the worker.
What rights does a pregnant woman have?
Our legal system does not establish the obligation to inform the company of the woman’s pregnancy situation, but in order to be able to legally recognize her situation and demand the adoption of specific preventive measures, it is necessary to inform the business of the pregnancy situation. .
In all cases, the employer must inform workers about the various risk-cause-cause prevention measures, as well as the assigned tasks to be carried out by pregnant or breastfeeding women (company risk assessment).
Pregnant workers will have the right to be absent from work, with the right to remuneration, to perform prenatal examinations and childbirth preparation techniques, notice to the employer and a justification of the need to perform them in the working day.
What are the company’s obligations?
STEP ONE: Initial risk assessment
The employer has the obligation to take into account the risk of reproduction, including that related to maternity, from the initial risk assessment and to draw up a list of jobs without risk for the pregnant woman, who has just given birth. recently or recently. breastfeeding period (whether a woman is doing the job or not). The list of jobs without risk for pregnant women will be drawn up taking into account the provisions of Annex VII (Non-exhaustive list of agents, procedures and working conditions that may have a negative influence on the health of pregnant workers or workers during breastfeeding, fetus or child during the period of breastfeeding) and, Annex VIII of RD 39/1997 (Non-exhaustive list of agents and working conditions to which there can be no risk of exposure pregnant workers or breastfeeding period).
STEP TWO: At the time of pregnancy notification
The employer, once informed of the pregnancy situation of his worker, must follow the following steps:
COMMUNICATE the existence of a pregnant woman to the prevention service to specifically assess the worker’s work; all this under the consultation and participation of the prevention representatives, if they exist, and of the pregnant worker herself. From a technical point of view, said risk assessment will be based on the guidelines for risk assessment and maternity protection at work published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (INSST) , whose main objective is to help make motherhood efficient. safe and healthy at work. READ, if necessary, the workplace of the pregnant woman, eliminating the conditions of risk for the pregnant worker or those at risk of breastfeeding. MOVE, if necessary, the pregnant worker: change the worker’s position and / or tasks that eliminate the worker’s exposure to the risk. SUSPEND: If said change of job is not technically or objectively possible, or cannot be reasonably required for justified reasons, the worker concerned may be declared suspended from the contract due to a risk during pregnancy, provided for in the article 45.1. d) the status of workers, for the period necessary to protect their safety or health and as long as the impossibility of returning to their old post or to another job compatible with their status persists.
In the event that the suspension of the contract becomes necessary, in order to minimize or eliminate the existing risk for the pregnant woman and / or the fetus, said suspension will be determined according to the criteria established in the Help Guide for risk assessment during pregnancy published by the Ministry of Labor, Migration and Social Security in collaboration with the Spanish Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (SEGO), as well as the Mutual Collaborators of Social Security.
In most cases, the duty of protection of the pregnant woman, the fetus or the child during a period of natural lactation will be guaranteed with the readjustment or the relocation of the woman’s job to a new job without risks for her. . own worker or the fetus and, in this way, it will be possible to continue the work of the pregnant or breastfeeding woman without risk to her, the fetus or the child.
How does Covid-19 affect a pregnant woman?
In the current pandemic situation, a pregnant woman will be considered vulnerable to Covid-19 when working in health or social health centers, in which case the prevention service must assess the presence of pregnant women and put in place prevention and adaptation measures. and protection, if necessary.