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CJEU judgment on rights of pregnant women to retain the status of ‘worker’


Case C‑507/12, Jessy Saint Prix v. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The European Court of Justice has delivered a landmark ruling on whether a woman who gives up work or seeking work because of the physical constraints of the late stages of pregnancy and the aftermath of childbirth can retain the status of worker.

As previously reported, The Supreme Court referred questions to the CJEU in the case of Jessy St Prix, a French national who worked as a teacher in the UK, who was refused income support on the basis that she did not have a ‘right to reside’ in the UK, after stopping work due to the physical constraints of her pregnancy.

As reported by The AIRE Centre, the Court found that:

  • “A woman who gives up work, or seeking work, because of the physical constraints of the late stages of pregnancy and the aftermath of childbirth retains the status of ‘worker’, within the meaning of that article, provided she returns to work or finds another job within a reasonable period after the birth of her child. Further, in order to determine whether the period that has elapsed between childbirth and starting work again might be regarded as reasonable, national courts should take account of all the specific circumstances of the case and any national rules on the duration of maternity leave;
  • Neither Article 7 of EC Directive 2004/38, or the other provisions of the Directive, can systematically deprive EU citizens of the status of ‘worker’, within the broad meaning of Article 45 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU);
  • The broad definition of ‘worker’ under Article 45 TFEU, and the rights deriving from such status, do not necessarily depend on the actual or continuing existence of an employment relationship”

The case now returns to the Supreme Court.

The judgment is here.

The CJEU press release is here.

The Aire Centre press release is here.

The BBC news report is here.

The CPAG press release is here.

Jemima Stratford QC was instructed pro bono by the interveners AIRE Centre, with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.