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How Do I Tell My Boss I Am Pregnant?

Pregnancy can be a wonderful time of hope and excitement while awaiting your newest family member. It can also be a time of uncertainty, especially where your employment is concerned. Some employers have positive attitudes and policies regarding maternity leave and parenting, while other employers have a less than welcoming approach. The good news is that there are laws to protect pregnant women and most employers fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes.

Often, telling our boss that we are pregnant can be the biggest stress hurdle. Here are some helpful tips to help you tell your employer that you are pregnant:

1. Know your rights. Read your company’s policy on maternity leave and parental leave and familiarize yourself with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and state laws regarding maternity leave. The U.S. does not have paid maternity leave laws. California is one of only four states that have paid maternity leave laws in addition to FMLA. It might tip your hand to ask HR for the company’s maternity leave policies. You should be able to access company policies in your initial employment paperwork, by requesting a copy of the employee handbook/policy manual from HR, or it may be in an employee online portal.

2. When to tell. Many women wait until they are into the second trimester (four to six months) before telling an employer of their pregnancy. Often, this is when women begin to “show” but it is also considered a “safe” time since most miscarriages occur in the first trimester (three months) of a pregnancy. Some women have such severe morning sickness that they may need to share the news with their employer early in their pregnancy as it could become a medical issue impacting their performance.

Consider timing your announcement until after an upcoming performance review, project deadline or deal. Telling your supervisor before a pending company reorganization could be mutually beneficial if you don’t plan on returning after the baby is born. It could be a good time to part ways and possibly leave with a severance package or unemployment benefits instead of just quitting after the baby is born. Conversely, if you plan to return after the baby is born, you might consider holding off on sharing your pregnancy news. Employers are not legally permitted to fire you for being pregnant but they can let you go under the guise of the reorganization.

3. Who to tell. Often, co-workers are close friends so women are most likely share their pregnancy news with them first – or with social media. However, it would be best to share your pregnancy news with your direct supervisor or human resources first. Which leads us to best practices on how to tell your employer you are pregnant.

4. How to tell. Face-to-face is the best way to tell your employer. This enables you to gauge her reaction and give you an insight into how she and/or the company may feel about pregnant employees, maternity leave, and accommodating working parents. If you are concerned about your direct supervisor’s reaction, consider sharing the news with HR first or requesting a meeting with HR, you and your supervisor.

5. What to say. The initial announcement should be brief to share that you are pregnant and the baby’s due date. Don’t overshare about the details – save those for your personal friends over lunch or dinner. You may want to assure your employer that you have given this much thought but all of the logistics (like this maternity leave plan) can be worked out in the coming months. Don’t lock yourself into any promises or commitments early on (i.e. Do not say: “I plan to work right up until my due date,” or, “I will only need six weeks off.”) because you won’t know details until you and your doctor discuss your medical needs in the coming months.

6. Email Follow Up. It’s always good to have an electronic record of the date and nature of your conversation. The face-to-face should be followed up with a simple email the same day: “Susan, Thanks for your time today so I could share my pregnancy announcement with you. The baby’s due date is… I look forward to working out the logistics for my leave in the coming months.”

With a little advance planning, telling your boss that you are pregnant can be a simple and positive experience. If you are pregnant and unsure of your pregnancy decision, the client advocates at Support Circle can listen and help you make a decision that is in line with your values. We can also help prepare for your conversation with your employer by helping you to talk it through and role play.

To schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area clinics, call 888-252-1822 or visit: supportcircle.org/today.

 

Helpful Links
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Reference Links
Dept. of Labor. Federal Law on Maternity Leave

California Legislature. California Law on Paid Maternity Leave 

Fairy God Boss. How to Create a Maternity Leave Plan

 

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How Do I Tell My Boss I Am Pregnant?
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How Do I Tell My Boss I Am Pregnant?
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Support Circle Pregnancy Clinics San Francisco
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