I am nearly 27 weeks pregnant.

My last day of work before maternity leave will be September 7th. I told my boss I was pregnant in May.

I'm really struggling with dizziness and lack of sleep. I have a 25-minute walk to the train station and quite often I feel dizzy by the time I get to the train especially if I haven't slept well. I'm really slowing down and getting heavy. My hips and legs are in bits. I also live at the top of a hill so it's going to be difficult for me to hike up the hill in the middle of the summer.

Anyways, I've got 14 unused vacation days left.

I'm not sure if I should just use the vacation days to shorten my remaining weeks, or ask my boss if I can work at home one day a week. How should I bring this up with my boss?

I live in Ireland. I don't have medical issues per se: my midwife told me I'm dizzy because I'm tired and have more blood etc. I can't afford to take unpaid leave. On days where I don't work I feel quite fine.

Being this tired and having lack of sleep is affecting my mood and when I exert myself I feel dizzy. I'm often very tired at work and not as productive as before.

I'm not able to go in early mat leave because 3 months after the birth is not enough time to recover and then jump back into working full time again.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Requesting the ability to work from home
    – gnat
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 9:48
  • What is your company's policy on working from home? Is it allowed under certain circumstances, or would a special exception have to be made for you?
    – user34587
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 10:52
  • Can´t you just take a sick leave? I believe Ireland has some social security in place to cover sick days, no? Any doctor should write you a not if you tell him your troubles.
    – Daniel
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 10:59
  • I didn't see any policy in place in the employee handbook. Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 11:11
  • How come you only are asking for one day a week? Can you take the bus?
    – user77891
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 11:11

2 Answers 2


As you are in Ireland you are covered by EU protections for pregnant employees. The relevant directive is Directive 92/85/EEC. A more readable summary is available.

In particular, your employer is required to avoid risks to your child during pregnancy. That can include avoiding physical exertion that might harm your health.

Your employer can resolve this by changing the nature of your work or by giving you paid time off. It seems like you would prefer to work from home, and you are reaching a stage where you will need to discuss things like maternity leave anyway (of which at least two weeks is mandatory, but you are entitled to much more).

I would go to your boss and ask to have a general discussion about your pregnancy. Explain the symptoms you have and that you think working from home is a good solution, and ask what your boss things and if they have any other suggestions.

Hopefully they will be responsive and helpful, and you can then move on to discussing maternity leave. Having it all sorted out will reduce the worry and stress for you. If they are less than helpful suggest that you can get a note from your doctor or midwife confirming the issues you have.

You don't have to use your vacation days for any of this. Accommodations for pregnancy and maternity leave are all in addition to your paid annual leave.

Just remember that you have a right to all this stuff, it's for the benefit of your child as much as you, and you shouldn't feel at all like you are imposing on the company or asking for anything exceptional. This is completely normal and every company has to deal with it.

  • 1
    Does this include travelling to and from work? Surely she can take the bus/get a taxi/ get a ride with someone else. The summary says "You must avoid any risks to a pregnant woman by adjusting her working conditions or working hours." Her commute to work is not included in either of those.
    – user77891
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 13:31
  • Commuting is included if the commute itself can be dangerous, in the sense that the company must allow things like changes to working hours to avoid peak times or early starts or long journeys. In this case working from home seems like a reasonable adaptation for a short period before she starts maternity leave.
    – user
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 14:10
  • 2
    While I agree with you that this is reasonable, I don't think it's obligated. I'd be concerned that this advice makes the OP think that her employer is obligated to let her work from home when they may just tell her to catch the bus instead.
    – user77891
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 14:43
  • 2
    They are not obligated to let her work from home, but they are obligated to accommodate her temporary pregnancy and health issues. That could involve working at another location, travelling at different times, paid time off or any other solution that would alleviate the symptoms.
    – user
    Commented Jun 21, 2018 at 15:59
  • 1
    I can't catch the bus instead because the bus doesn't go near my house either. I live in a rural area. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 15:37

How should I bring this up with my boss?

As a first step: just ask them nicely. You working from home might not be a big deal for them. And you can only figure this out if you ask.

So you basically describe you situation to them - like you did here - and highlight that you will be more productive when working one day per week from home because it's your productivity that should be most important to them. Beforehand you should also think through how you would need to change your workflow in order to be able to work from home. Then you can bring up solutions proactively.

As your boss, I would also be very happy if you said something along the lines of "with respect to the weekday I am relatively flexible, so if something comes up that requires my attendance on site, we can shift the day without problems."

Since you mentioned in one of the comments that in exceptional circumstances your employer allows you to work from home, it might not be such a big problem for them.

Only if your boss says no, I would starting thinking about using your vacation days to achieve the same goal. But also if you receive a positive answer, you should make up your mind about how you want to use the remaining vacation days. In my experience, the earlier you ask for vacation, the easier it gets approved.

No matter what answer you get, the way they react might be some indication whether the company remains a good fit for you in the near future as people with young children often require an employer that can be somewhat flexible (for example if the child gets sick).

Good luck.

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