The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) has published a briefing, Student pregnancy and maternity: implications for higher education institutions, which outlines the responsibilities that HEIs now have to ensure fair treatment of pregnant students and those who have recently given birth.
The document summarises the legal framework of the Equality Act 2010 relating to pregnancy and maternity, and the implications for HEIs as a result of this legislation. In addition it draws on research carried out by NUS to identify how best HEIs can offer information and support to students who become pregnant or are on maternity-related absence.
It covers the full cycle of student pregnancy, from finding out about a student's pregnancy through to students returning after a maternity-related absence, including guidance on breastfeeding.
The document offers examples of best practice from a number of HEIs, as well as a range of other factors that may relate to this area, including abortion, miscarriage, adoption and paternity-related leave and pay. It also identifies where there may be linkages to other protected characteristics, such as sex, sexual orientation or religion and belief.
Finally, there is an annex offering practical steps which HEIs or students' unions can take to support pregnant students, from the first disclosure to their return to education.
You can download the full report free of charge here.
For more information on how you can support student parents in your union, visit our student parent page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.