We asked Forbes Solicitors for legal advice on the information in this article.
Pregnancy is a protected characteristic
Under chapter 2 of the Equality Act 2010 you can't discriminate against someone who is pregnant or on maternity leave (see sections 17 and 18). This includes people who provide services and carry out public functions, such as school governors.
Your board must not treat a governor less favourably because they're pregnant or have given birth.
No clear-cut rules
As governors are volunteers, their legal status isn’t explicit. There are no hard and fast rules for a governor who wants to take maternity leave. The same goes for paternity, parental or adoption leave, which we cover in more detail below.
The most important thing is for a board to avoid discrimination.
Start by having a conversation with the governor to discuss if they want to take maternity leave