Maternity leave for governors

Understand best practice when handling governor maternity leave, how to avoid discrimination, and whether you can temporarily replace someone.

Last reviewed on 2 March 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 40229
  1. Pregnancy is a protected characteristic
  2. No clear-cut rules
  3. Keep in touch 
  4. Consider how you'll fill any skill gaps

We asked Forbes Solicitors for their legal advice on the information in this article.  

Pregnancy is a protected characteristic

Under the Equality Act 2010 (see sections 17 and 18) you can't discriminate against someone who is pregnant or entitled to maternity leave. 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 are pregnant.

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 wishes to take maternity leave. 

The most important thing is for a board to avoid discrimination. 

Make your own arrangements 

Start by having a conversation with the governor to discuss if they want to take maternity leave or not.

Asking them to step down is likely to be discriminatory, as you’re treating them unfavourably because of their pregnant status.