Pregnancy, Maternity and Paternity and Student Parents

The 2011-2012 Diversity Survey highlighted that 19 per cent of non-student and student staff and 5 per cent of elected officers stated they had caring responsibilities for dependent children under the age of 18.

Pregnancy and maternity are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and are defined as: ‘pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavorably because she is breastfeeding.’

The Employment Rights Act 1996 also makes provisions for maternity, paternity and adoption.

Adoption Leave and Pay

Acas guidance.

Child Friendly Campaign Poster 

This NUS resource can be downloaded and put up in students’ union’s offices and venues. It outlines the ten step programme NUS has devised to make campuses child-friendly. Unions that take part in the campaign will have the chance to gain accreditation for each of the steps they make achievements on.

Employment rights for fathers 

Acas advice.

Family friendly working guidance 

This guidance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission provides information on helping to achieve a pattern of working hours that meets parents’ childcare needs. The advice also covers parental leave and employee rights and what the law says about family friendly working. The EHRC have also produced the leaflet -flexible working - your rights as a parent or carer.


This charity campaigns for improved inclusion and equality for single/lone parents and offers a free advice service and useful fact sheets.

How to conduct a risk assessment for pregnant workers

Advice from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on carrying out a risk assessment for pregnant employees, which includes a template to carry out the assessment.

Maternity leave and pay

Acas guidance.

Maternity Pay and Leave: employer guide

GOV.UK advice on employment rights, statutory maternity leave, pay and paid time off for antenatal care   .

Meet the parents: The experience of students with children in further and higher education (2010)

This NUS report brings together research about the prevalence of student parents in further and higher education, their experiences both inside and outside the classroom, and the financial and childcare implications of being a student parent. 

Paternity Leave and Pay

Acas guidance on paternity and employees rights.

Paternity Pay and Leave: employer guide

GOV.UK advice on employment rights, statutory paternity pay and extra leave or pay.

Pink Parents

A website offering support and advice to same-sex parents and tackling discrimination affecting same-sex parents and their children.

Portsmouth Students Union child friendly case study

NUS guidance on good practice for unions taking part in the child-free to child-friendly campaign.

Pregnancy Maternity and Parenthood Guidance

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides a range of guidance for employers to support expectant parents and parents such as: maternity and paternity rights, flexible working rights for parents, managing same sex parents and adopting parents.

Royal Holloway Students’ Union child friendly case study

NUS guidance on good practice for unions taking part in the child-free to child-friendly campaign.

Student pregnancy and maternity: implications for higher education institutions

This Equality Challenge Unit guidance is the first of its kind in the sector, outlining how institutions can ensure students aren't discriminated against on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity. It is intended to help institutions meet the requirements laid out in the Equality Act.

The Fatherhood Institute

Charity working to improve support and recognition of men as parents and ensuring inclusion of fathers in public services including healthcare. Offers research and training on providing a father-inclusive practice.

The right to apply for flexible working: A short guide for employers, working parents and carers

Acas advice leaflet.