How to Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant

Are you pregnant? There are many things you’ll have to do before the baby arrives. And having the delicate conversation where you tell your boss you’re pregnant can bring about some nerves. Is there an ideal time for breaking the news? Not really, as it will depend on many personal factors, including how you look and feel, the line of work you’re in and how committed your company is to work/life balance. You do want to make sure that your boss is the first to know and gets the news from you. Here are some considerations to take into account and tips for delivering the news in the best way possible.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) Protects Women

Before you think about the right time to tell your boss remember that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978 does protect works from being discriminated against by employers for being pregnant. It covers all aspects of employment from hiring and firing to pay, promotions, training and health-related benefits like your maternity leave and insurance. Your employer must also provide reasonable accommodations for you if you’re unable to do your job while being pregnant. While some employers do get around the PDA and subject women to certain discriminations, just know that the law is on your side.

The Right Time to Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant

While there’s really no “perfect” time to share the news with your boss, there are some things you should keep in mind initially. Are you past the miscarriage risk? Many women wait until the end of the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage has declined. Are you suffering from horrible morning sickness and already showing? You might want to consider moving up your pregnancy announcement before people start making assumptions. Do you work in a potentially hazardous environment that could be harmful to your unborn baby? Having the talk early may be necessary. How is work overall? Are things going well, or are you about to have your yearly review? Do you work in a constant rumor mill of gossip? All of these factors should be considered when you’re looking for the right time to tell your boss you’re pregnant. Finally, think about how family-friendly your company is as a whole. Do you think the news will not be met with positivity? Waiting until your 20-week mark may be a good move if this happens to be true for your employer.

Getting Ready for the Announcement

Before you set up the time for the conversation, familiarize yourself with your rights as a worker. If you meet certain requirements for family leave, you are guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Research your company’s maternity leave policies and set up a confidential meeting with someone in human resources (HR) if you need to. Then figure out how your responsibilities will need to be adjusted and whether or not you’ll plan for coverage while you’re out. One of the biggest things to consider before talking to your boss is whether you realistically feel you’ll come back to work. Can you and your partner get by on one salary, especially when you factor in what you’d pay for possible child care expenses if you don’t stay home? Are there any other logistical factors that might affect your decision? Keep in mind that you may have an initial plan and then have a complete change of heart once your baby is placed in your arms.

Having the Conversation With Your Boss

Once you’re ready to break the news, consider these tips to make the announcement go as smoothly as possible. Make sure you have adequate time so that neither party is rushed or distracted. Highlight the positive and don’t reflect an overall tone of apology or guilt. Express how happy you are and your confidence in your ability to have a family and perform your job well. Go in with your plan and allow for some adjustments and flexibility but don’t back down from what you’re ultimately entitled to. Make sure you have everything in writing so there’s no confusion or deception later.

If you’re unfairly treated after the announcement, report any kind of discrimination in writing to your HR department. Be sure to include specific and detailed notes if possible. The good news is that pregnancy discrimination is more visible and women have earned further protection. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), currently in Congress, protects women by closing the loopholes in the PDA, and 23 states have already passed similar laws. Other parents in your company may have similar experiences and there’s more power in a group. An employer may be willing to consider better parental perks if several coworkers join together for a petition.

Having a baby is a thrilling time for many parents and your employer should be the first in line to congratulate you and share in that excitement.  

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