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Pregnancy and maternity

Pregnancy and maternity have been proven by national data and research to have a significant impact on women’s careers.

Advance HE recommends optional monitoring of pregnancy, collected annually and on recruitment.

Monitoring will enable universities to identify how many staff are likely to be taking maternity leave in future. It will also help the sector as a whole to better understand the impact of pregnancy on career progression. Data will also be able to ensure that the benefits, facilities and services for staff are adequate in meeting the needs of employees who are pregnant or have taken maternity leave.

In terms of maternity, data from university personnel records around legally defined leave (as compared to asking staff the question) may not capture information for staff who have been working for an institution for under 9 months or who were pregnant or recently pregnant at recruitment stage.

Although there is no legal requirement under the Equality Act 2010 to monitor paternity leave, adoptive leave, or men taking shared parental leave, HEIs may wish to gather this information to better understand the effect that taking this leave has on career progression.

For both staff and students:

Are you currently pregnant or have you been pregnant in the last year?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to say

For staff:

Have you taken any of the following types of leave within the past year?

  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Shared parental leave

For students:

Have you taken time out of your course within the past year following any of the below?

  • giving birth
  • your partner giving birth
  • the adoption of a child

Advance HE's Student pregnancy and maternity: implications for higher education institutions contains considerations for HEIs when asking their students for information on pregnancy and maternity.