Possible Ways Forward: Pregnant During Apprenticeship

Pregnant During Apprenticeship

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Things to Consider When Pregnant During Vocational Training

  • You have several options for completing your training despite pregnancy:
  • You may want to investigate extending the training period by taking a baby break or completing your apprenticeship before the baby arrives.
  • Talk to your supervisor or tutor to create a plan that works for you.

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Pregnant — What About My Apprenticeship?

You only just entered the workforce — and now you're pregnant? Understandably, this may initially come as a shock. You are probably wondering, “How will my supervisor react? Will I still be able to complete my training as planned?"

These questions can be unsettling! It may be helpful to know that most apprenticeships can continue despite pregnancy.

Of course, there is much to consider and adjustments to be made. But a little determination will go a long way in allowing you to complete your vocational training, pregnant or not.

How Do I Complete My Career Training While Pregnant?

Your technical training may not be ideal for pregnancy, depending on your trade and employment situation, but adjustments usually make it possible for you to continue learning your trade.

The sooner you and your supervisor create an individualized training plan, the better the outcome.

💡Specific Considerations

  • Avoiding Hazards: Tradespeople work with more hazards than most other professions. Your employer must ensure that you do not perform tasks that are unsafe for you or your baby.
  • Class Requirements: While you may have to pause part of your on-the-job training, would it be possible to focus on your studies and complete the required classwork for your apprenticeship?

§ Legal Protections for Pregnant Women Learning a Trade

Every region has laws for your protection and support when pregnant during an apprenticeship. You may not be discriminated against! Discover which laws apply to your situation by clicking your country below.

Here are the legal protections that apply to your region:

  • Since your training is likely taking place in a technical college, your protections are provided under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
    This prohibits discrimination based on sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities.
    All technical colleges that receive federal funding must comply with Title IX.

    Key Protections under Title IX:

    • Excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth.
    • Allow you to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before your medical leave began, including the opportunity to make up any work missed while you were out.
    • Ensure teachers understand the Title IX requirements for excused absences/medical leave. Your teacher may not refuse to allow you to submit work after a deadline you missed because of pregnancy or childbirth. If your teacher’s grading is based partly on class participation or attendance and you missed class because of pregnancy or childbirth, you should be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits you didn’t have the chance to earn.
    • Provide pregnant students with the same special services it provides to students with temporary medical conditions. This includes homebound instruction/at-home tutoring/independent study.”

    According to Title IX, you are permitted to complete your on-the-job training, should you so choose: “Your school must allow you to participate in extracurricular activities even though you are pregnant and not require you to submit a doctor’s note unless your school requires a doctor’s note from all students who have a physical or emotional condition requiring treatment by a doctor."

  • UK

    In the UK, an apprentice has the same rights as regular employees regarding pregnancy and maternity leave:

    • You will receive paid time off for prenatal checkups. Your supervisor can ask to see your appointment card and a certificate stating you are pregnant.
    • You are protected against discrimination. Apprentices are protected under the Equality Act 2010 against unfavorable treatment on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity leave.
    • You can receive up to 52 weeks of maternity leave.
    • You have the right to receive statutory sick pay (SSP) for pregnancy-related reasons. If you take sick leave during weeks 18 to 26 of your pregnancy and receive SSP, your earnings will be lower than usual. This may affect your eligibility for statutory maternity pay SMP. If you are not qualified for SMP, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance.
    • You are protected from unfair dismissal. Any absence due to pregnancy-related sickness cannot be held against you for redundancy purposes.
    • You have the right to return to your apprenticeship after maternity leave on the same terms and conditions.
    • You can receive Statutory redundancy payment if you lose your job after completing at least two years of your apprenticeship.
    • You have the right to claim unfair dismissal if you were not offered your apprenticeship back because you took maternity leave.
    • You must take compulsory maternity leave from your apprenticeship for two weeks after your baby is born.


    Apprentices in Ireland are not under the same regulations as employees. However, as a pregnant apprentice, you are protected under the Unfair Dismissals Act 1997, the Maternity Protection Act 1994, the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, and the Redundancy Payments Act 1967.

    • You must take compulsory maternity leave for two weeks after your baby is born or four weeks if your apprenticeship is in a factory.
    • Any period of apprenticeship stands suspended while you are on maternity leave in accordance with the Maternity Protection Act. This means that the length of your apprenticeship is extended by the time spent on leave.

    As an apprentice, you can apply for Working Family Payment (WFP).

  • Australia

    In Australia, you are protected under the same pregnancy discrimination laws as any other worker.
    For more information, read the pamphlet from the Human Rights Commission for detailed information.
    Youth Allowance is available to you if you are under 25 and an Australian apprentice.


    As an apprentice in Canada, you are protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
    For more specific questions, go to 211 Ontario.
    Get financial aid through an Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women totaling $6,000.

    Apply for an interest-free Canada Apprentice Loan - totaling $4,000 per period of technical training. You qualify for EI if you have worked at least 600 insured hours in the last 12 months.

    South Africa

    According to Sectoral Determination 5,24 on Learnerships, you cannot be fired in South Africa for being pregnant during your apprenticeship. It specifies that:

    • You may take at least four months of maternity leave.
    • You will not continue receiving your learning allowance during your time of leave.
    • You may start your maternity leave four weeks before your due date or when medically necessary.
    • You may not work for six weeks after delivery without a doctor's notice.

    New Zealand

    As an apprentice in New Zealand, you have the same employment rights as any employee. Pregnancy discrimination is against the law. With support from your midwife, employer, and Industry Trade Organisation (ITO), you can negotiate a break from your apprenticeship if necessary.

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⏰ Your Timeframe: Three Variables

Making the following adjustments could help you to complete your career training while pregnant.

1. Graduation Before the Due Date

Would it be possible to complete your course requirements and graduate before your due date? Talk to your supervisor or guidance counselor to determine whether you can graduate early or delay your final exams according to your needs.

2. Delayed Graduation

Discuss the option of delayed graduation with your supervisor because of the likelihood of more prolonged absences due to pregnancy, maternity leave, and parental leave.

3. Switching to Part-Time

Consider reducing your hours and switching to part-time training to have more time for your child.

Perhaps you are wondering how to make it financially.

➡️  Financial Resources

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Where to Go from Here?

It may be advisable to inform all parties involved about your pregnancy as soon as possible so that your vocational training can be adjusted as efficiently as possible. This way, everyone can adapt well and plan for absences early.

Whom to tell first:

Before telling any co-workers or fellow students, it is a good idea to inform your superiors and teachers. Doing so will avoid malicious talk and allow your program coordinator to speak to others on your behalf.

Here is whom you need to talk to in your region:

    • ​​If your technical college has a guidance counselor, this person should be your first point of contact.
    • Your Title IX coordinator will be able to explain your rights to you and identify which exemptions to apply for.
    • Your supervisor needs to know as soon as possible to allow you to avoid hazards at work.
    • Your teacher needs to be informed if you want an extension, deferral, or excused absence.
    • Seek out your technical college's financial aid counselor.
  • UK

    • Discuss your pregnancy with your tutor and your shift manager. If your tutor does not provide sufficient support by giving you the extensions and risk assessment you need, contact the head of your department for advice.
    • Talk to the student welfare office and student support services.


    • Your program handbook will tell you whom to approach for accommodations and deferrals. This would be your superior at work as well as the vocational school office, the student affairs committee, your department office, or your tutor, but not the examinations office. The delegated person would bring your request for leave before the academic registry.
    • Contact your course director if you would like to decrease your study load. Speak to your subject coordinator about accommodations, such as extensions.
    • Contact your superior at work and your course director if you want to decrease your work and study load.
    • Speak to your subject/course coordinator about accommodations, such as extensions. You must also supply a medical certificate stating your fitness to continue your apprenticeship.
    • Get in touch with the student liaison team (disability) if pregnancy symptoms disrupt your studies.
    • When pregnant, you can withdraw from your apprenticeship without penalty and complete the placement later. Discuss this with the program convenor.
  • Canada

    • Talk to your superior at work.
    • For accommodations and deferrals, contact the technical college's registrar’s office.
    • Contact the equality service staff of your training school for advice.
    • Your enrolment services advisor is another helpful point of contact.

    New Zealand

    South Africa

    • If you are taking classes, contact the Office of Student Support (OSS) for assistance. They will arrange for you to take a leave of absence (LOA) rather than de-register

    Talk to your module coordinator and work manager. You may be asked to show the baby’s birth certificate.

A good rapport with your superiors and colleagues would probably make your announcement easier. But no matter your relationship, you can confidently tell them about the pregnancy. You are of childbearing age. Therefore, getting pregnant is not out of the ordinary. At any rate, you can expect your employer to respond professionally.

Awaiting a Permanent Contract and Pregnant?

What if you become pregnant at the end of your training and anticipate a permanent contract? Your hesitancy in announcing your pregnancy would be understandable. Carefully consider the implications of either telling your boss or staying silent!

In some countries, announcing the pregnancy as soon as possible works in your favor, as pregnancy is a protected status with special rights and privileges.

For more information, go to:

Other Questions or Concerns?

Experiencing a surprise pregnancy during your apprenticeship can make you feel like your world is falling apart. Apart from the educational considerations, you probably have additional concerns you are dealing with.

You are not alone!

We would love to walk alongside you as you regain your footing and seek solutions that are right for you. Our digital coaching resources were created with you in mind. Why not give them a try?

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