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How to Tell Your Boss You're Pregnant

Katlyn Joy |26, September 2011


Sharing the happy news that you're expecting is a bit more complicated in the workplace. Knowing the right timing and way to inform your employer can be a tricky matter. Sometimes knowing the right method and when to tell will depend on how your pregnancy is progressing, or the type of job you do or your work environment.

1. Is your job potentially a dangerous one to a pregnancy? Does your job involve a great deal of physical strain, or expose you to dangerous chemicals or materials? If so, you'll need to speak to your supervisor sooner rather than later. If you are unsure of the potential risks, speak with your ob-gyn about your job prior to informing the boss.

2. Are you experiencing a lot of early pregnancy symptoms or having pregnancy-related difficulties? In this case, you'll likely need to let your employer in on your happy news in order to explain your tardiness or absences or generally green complexion.

3. Is being put on the Mommy Track a valid concern at your workplace? If you have been working hard for your position and advancement and women typically don't get too far in the company, this may be a matter to handle carefully. If you can wait to disclose the pregnancy until you get into your second trimester, it may demonstrate your ability to carry a baby and a workload successfully.

4. Are you bursting out of your uniform or suit? If you are showing quickly your options are limited. You don't want people guessing before you have the opportunity to reveal your news.

5. Do you know what you want to do once the baby arrives regarding your work situation? If you are really still up in the air, then take some extra time before making the announcement at work. It's best to have some plan or idea of what you hope to do after the birth.

Do Your Homework

  • Understand the Family Medical Leave Act and how your company falls into the requirements. For instance, if you've been with them for less than a year or the company has fewer than 50 employees, FMLA doesn't apply.
  • Read up on your company's policies in your Human Resources handbook. Be familiar with policies, both formal and informal of your employer.
  • Explore possible options for returning work such as job sharing, telecommuting full or part time and reducing your hours.
  • Speak with your physician about your employment and how your pregnancy may impact your ability to perform your typical duties.
  • Research your finances to determine realistically how much income you can afford to lose and for how long.

Telling the Boss You're Pregnant

When you've decided the important moment has come to divulge your happy news, set up a meeting with your boss or supervisor, whatever is appropriate? Do not let the secret out so that your boss feels slighted or offended to be the last to know. Confiding in the wrong person on the job can negatively impact your work situation.

Be prepared to answer questions about when you anticipate taking off work. Will you be able to stay at the job fulltime until the birth or will you need to stop around the 28th week for instance? Give your boss some idea of how you envision your return to work once the baby is born, if that is the plan, and perhaps give some options you've considered such as a gradual build up of hours over the first couple months after the baby's arrival.

If you handle a lot of responsibility alone at work, devise a plan for covering your big accounts or projects. Can you train a person already on staff to handle some of your workload? Can you telecommute temporarily? Be sure to have a well thought out plan for different scenarios.
If you feel your boss is treating you unfairly once the cat is out of the bag, make certain you document the incidents and be prepared to speak with your human resources department about your concerns.

After your meeting with your boss to share the news of your pregnancy, you'll want a sit down with HR. Find out about your insurance options and what you need to do to meet requirements.
Pregnancy doesn't mean the end of your career unless that's your choice. Many options and schedules can be worked out for the best interests of your employer and your family. Do the research, speak with your partner and talk to your employer about how to work out this new chapter in your life.

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