Crumbs of comfort: pregnancy and the status of 'worker' under EU law's free movement provisions

Nicole Busby

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


In Jessy Saint Prix v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled that an EU migrant 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'. In order to do so, she must return to work or find another job within a reasonable period after the birth of her child. In determining whether the period that has elapsed between childbirth and starting work again might be regarded as 'reasonable', national courts should take account of all of the specific circumstances of the case as well as national rules on the duration of maternity leave. The case, which was referred to the CJEU by the UK's Supreme Court, raises a number of important issues concerning EU worker status, equal treatment between men and women and protection against pregnancy discrimination under EU law against the backdrop of the rise of precarious work. Furthermore, its origin as a UK case is of particular interest due to the coalition government's welfare reforms and recent statements regarding plans to curb EU migration and to further restrict welfare benefits to EU migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-145
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015


  • migration
  • gender
  • pregnancy
  • social security
  • worker


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