Telling the employer about pregnancy is a very important moment, for both you and your boss. No one can tell you what is the perfect time to do it. Therefore, your decision about pregnancy announcements at work will have to be based on many different factors.
Consider the month of your pregnancy, the way you feel about leaving work, and how family-friendly your company is. Also, make sure that your boss is the first one to know about your leaving. Don’t wait until your hormones start going wild since you don’t want to give away signs of pregnancy before telling your boss about it.
Why is Being Pregnant at Work a Challenge
Pregnant women are protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act which has been used since 1978. This federal law is there to protect female workers from being discriminated against by their bosses during pregnancy. This act covers everything regarding employment, from day one you start to work and firing pay, training, and promotions. Besides, your employed is required to provide a reasonable accommodation if you are unable to do any part of your job while you’re pregnant. For example, if you are working at a factory and your job description involves heavy lifting.
With all of that being said, you have to remember that the PDA has several loopholes. A lot of pregnant women in the USA think they are treated differently. Some women say that they are not receiving accommodations, while others say they are not getting passed up for a promotion. This is why telling the employer about pregnancy can be quite hard for some women. Careful planning is essential to make the best possible case for your employer and to get the necessary time off you need. Discriminatory treatment is something that you might face, and you can’t do anything about it if it happens.
The main thing you want to aim towards is a productive discussion with your employer. The pregnancy announcement at work can be tiring, so you should know about some tips that will help you achieve what you deserve and what you need.
Find the Appropriate Time
To get the best possible results from the announcement, you need to carefully calculate when are you going to tell your employer about your pregnancy. These are considerations that might impact your timing:
The risk of miscarriage declines considerably after the first trimester. Many women wait until the second trimester starts before they reveal their pregnancy to their bosses. Some women even wait until the end of the fourth month. Waiting for the amniocentesis results is are very important so a mother can be sure that the baby’s brain development and overall health are good.
The way you feel
You probably won’t be able to keep your secret for too long if you have severe vomiting and nausea. Also, having a belly with an unmistakable bump and being unable to lift your head off the pillow will be some of the reasons why you have to speak to your boss. If this is your case make sure you speak with your employer as soon as possible so you can get your time off and proper treatment.
The kind of work you do
Think thoroughly if any workplace hazards might impact your pregnancy. Being exposed to harmful chemicals can be very bad for your baby’s health. If you work in a place that could cause damage to the fetus, make sure you make the announcement as soon as possible. Getting transferred to a better workplace is crucial in these situations. If that’s not possible, at least ask for a change of duties.
The work commitment
The management and your coworkers will probably have raised concerns after you announce your pregnancy. For example, they will probably be worried whether you’ll be able to keep up with the work while you are pregnant, or if you are even going to return to work after your maternity leave.
It may seem unfair, but try announcing the news at your work after you are done with something big. For example, pregnancy announcement at work will probably go better after you finish a report, or after you score a deal, or even after you come up with a great idea. Your coworkers and management will more likely have more trust in you and your abilities, and you will be treated as you deserve.
Reviews coming up
It is always better to wait until the results of an upcoming performance or salary review are out if you are afraid your announcement might influence these. Share the news once the results are out so you don’t take any chances of getting discriminated against. Keep in mind that getting promoted will be a lot harder after you make the big announcement since you will be leaving your workplace for some time.
Gossips in your workplace
Be especially wary if gossip is one of your company’s chief products. You will have trust issues to deal with if news of your pregnancy reaches your employer before you officially do it. Telling the employer about pregnancy is very important and you want your boss to be the first one to know. Do not test your coworkers’ trust. Of course, if you have close friends at your work feel free to share the happy news.
Is your company family-friendly?
Ask your coworkers about their experiences with announcing the pregnancy. You will found out your boss’s attitude toward your condition and you will be able to prepare a good speech. Try waiting until the 20-week mark if you think your boss won’t be welcoming to the news. Of course, this option is available only for mothers who can hide their stomachs. If you do this you will prove yourself to your boss that you can do your job even while you’re carrying a child.
On the other hand, if you think your boss will be more than happy about you, you should make the announcement as soon as possible. You will be able to take full advantage of the special benefits your company might have for pregnant women.
Prepare Yourself for the Announcement
The next step after deciding the good time to announce is to make sure your boss will take the news well. Here are a few things that will help you have a more productive discussion with your employer:
Your company’s family leave
Make sure you learn everything about your company’s maternity leave policies before you make a pregnancy announcement at work. Some offer unpaid leave, some paid; others allow for vacation or sick days to be used towards family leave. You most likely have the employee handbook that you (probably) never even read thoroughly. Read it and then think about setting up a confidential meeting with someone from HR.
Make sure you know your rights
When it comes to family leave the U.S. is probably behind almost every industrialized country in the world. The Family and Medical Leave Act ensures that you will get guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave if you and your company meet certain requirements. Don’t forget that some states have more robust maternity leave laws. To get the best out of your situation, make sure you familiarize yourself with these laws.
Adjust your responsibilities
Adjust your work responsibilities until you are ready to deliver if you work in an intensely physically intensive job. Also, do the same if you are exposed to potentially harmful chemicals or if you are under constant stress at work. Try swapping some of your responsibilities with a coworker if that’s possible. Taking a different role until your child is born is also a good option. Chat with your colleagues who have already been pregnant and they will probably be able to help you with your situation.
Tell Your Boss
As already mentioned, telling the employer about pregnancy won’t be easy for you. However, the time will come and you will have to do it eventually. These are some tips that will, hopefully, make it a bit easier for you:
Accentuate the positive
Don’t start announcing pregnancy to your boss with apologies. Instead, make it clear that you are very happy that you are finally pregnant. Show confidence and ability that you are still able to work and that family and work are something you can cope with.
Set aside the time
The one thing you want to avoid is telling your boss about the news when he or she is not prepared. Don’t tell the news while you are on your way to a meeting or in a taxi. Schedule an appointment, so both of you can stay focused.
Be open to compromisation and discussion, but have a plan in place. Come up with a realistic plan that you can stick to and don’t back down on it completely. Don’t allow your boss to be the only one who sets the rules about your pregnancy.
Baby Planet Overview
Telling the employer about pregnancy is something you will probably have to go through. This can be quite hard if you know your management and employers can’t keep a secret and like to gossip. However, you should think about the situation and your workplace and decide when is the best time to tell your boss about it.
Read everything you can about maternity leave and your rights as a pregnant woman in the workplace. Talk with your coworkers who already gave birth if you have trust in them and try to find a solution for your situation.
- When should you tell the boss you’re pregnant? ncbi.nlm.nih.gov