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When to Tell The Boss You’re Pregnant: Three Things to Consider

When to Tell The Boss You’re Pregnant: Three Things to Consider

If you’ve ever typed “how to tell boss I’m pregnant” into your search bar, chances are you need some help with telling your manager that you’re pregnant. Here are some things to consider around timing.

When you’re expecting a baby, it can feel like the entire world is waiting for you to announce the news of your baby. If you’re unsure when to tell your boss you’re pregnant, know that there are three major things to consider before you tell your boss you’re pregnant.

It’s understandable that some people don’t want to share early pregnancy news with their boss, especially if they’ve heard horror stories from other moms or if they’re nervous about how it will impact their career. But there are many reasons why telling your manager about your pregnancy is important — and why doing so early on is actually beneficial for both parties.

But if you’re worried about how your manager will react, it can be tempting to keep the baby news to yourself – at least until your second trimester. It is hard to know when it is safe to tell your boss you’re pregnant, but there are three major things pregnant workers should consider before spilling the beans to the boss.

Consideration #1: Know your employee rights and benefits.

home office, office, work

As an employee at a company that offers maternity leave and other parental benefits, there are certain rules and regulations that govern when you must notify them of your pregnancy. Some states require employers to offer paid time off (PTO) for employees who are adopting too. If your company has a policy of job protection during maternity or parental leave, be sure to review it thoroughly before deciding When to tell your boss you’re pregnant.

You may be aware of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave for pregnancy or other family leave reasons. Family leave may apply to taking care of new baby — biological or adopted– who needs your support.

There are also other laws that protect your rights as a new parent in the workplace. The federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. It also requires employers to treat pregnant women the same as any other temporarily disabled employee, such as those who take leave for an injury or illness. In addition to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is another law that protects employees with disabilities from discrimination at work.

Under this law, an employer cannot refuse to hire or fire someone because of their disability; however, it does not require an employer to provide special accommodations for disabled employees unless they have been able to show that doing so would be “reasonable.” If your employer refuses, you may be able to seek assistance or redress from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Pregnancy isn’t automatically considered a disability, so in order to seek protection, your doctor would likely need to show documentation of a health complication that would render you or the baby disabled. The act can help, however, if you need to change work location, type of labor performed, shifts, or physical space accommodations as a result of a complicated pregnancy or birth. Pregnancy discrimination can be a tricky thing to triangulate. You’ll want to be very careful, especially if you’re a shift worker or if your worksite houses potentially harmful chemicals.

The Medical Leave Act also may apply to expecting moms well before their due date. Those suffering through morning sickness at the beginning stages may also

In addition to federal law, each state has different pregnancy discrimination restrictions, which align with–but may be more generous than–those protected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Get well-versed in your rights and your company’s employee handbook. If you need to ask human resources staff, then do so. It’s imperative that you know all the applicable regulations, including the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, before you share your big pregnancy news with your boss. After all, if your health insurance is tied to your employment, you’ll want to heed any advice to tread lightly. This is why so many women wait a few weeks to even a few months before telling their supervisor their due date and sharing their maternity leave plans.

Consideration #2: Think about your work environment.

people, business, meeting

If you’re contemplating how to tell your boss face to face, you may have a good relationship with him or her. They may really appreciate advance notice about your personal news, especially if you share the same office.

Otherwise, if you don’t work near your boss or your relationship just doesn’t click, some people decide to share their pregnancy news officially and via email a few weeks after any high-risk period has ended. There’s no right or wrong way to deliver your pregnancy news, but there are a lot of good reasons why women wait.

Size up your work environment and decide what’s the best approach. If you’re in a male-dominated industry, it could be difficult to tell your boss that you’re pregnant — on both a personal and institutional level. You may not know how exactly to tell your boss, especially if you’ve seen other pregnant workers be mistreated in the past.

If he or she is someone you’re close to — perhaps even someone you consider a mentor — it might feel more natural to share this news early on, even if it means risking being outed before you want to be. If you’re worried about your boss’s reaction, be prepared to answer questions about your timing, when you plan to return to work, and what accommodations you’ll need during your pregnancy. Talking it out with a mentor or trusted colleague can help you game out how you’ll adjust your workload between now and your due date. Walking through plans for maternity leave, parental leave, and/or family leave, can help you gain clarity about the kinds of questions your boss might ask and the answers that are in your best interest.

upset, overwhelmed, stress

Walking in with a plan is key to a successful outcome. This can help you hold back some information around your due date or medically sensitive information that may affect your pregnancy. Oversharing this kind of information too soon can be a recipe for pregnancy discrimination.

Instead, you may want to talk with other employees who have been pregnant in your office, especially those who have worked for your manager. They can tell you how it well: how their supervisors reacted and whether the company has any policies supporting working moms-to-be.

man, manager, boss

Think about your work environment as well. If the company is in the throes of layoffs, you may want to better understand where you fall in the pecking order before making your announcement. Even if managers are well-intentioned, some may change how they work with you or assign work to you. Some qualify as pregnant discrimination under the terms of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Being passed up for physical labor, travel opportunities, or more demanding projects are things many women report after announcing their pregnancy in the office. Sometimes, these are welcomed adjustments at the time, but the lack of opportunities given to peers may be held against women later–especially after returning from maternity leave–when it is promotion time. Consider timing your notice until after you’ve already taken advantage of the opportunities you’re prepared to take or, if you can wait that long, until after the end of a promotion cycle.

Consideration #3: Your health really matters.

heart health is important. mental health is important.

Last, but not least, your health will affect your timing. And this one can get mighty tricky. You may need more sick days than others. You may have to recuse yourself from work that requires you to lift heavy objects. And you may find yourself battling morning sickness in important meetings. All of these realities may force you to tell your boss you’re pregnant sooner than you want. While it is within your legal rights to wait to share your exciting news at your job, you may find it useful to share with someone in the HR department that you’re pregnant even before you make an official pregnancy announcement. Your health may end up determining your timeline. This may be the best approach if this is your first pregnancy or first baby and you’re not sure when to tell your boss you’re pregnant, but you need to use sick days, unpaid leave, or family leave sooner than expected.

sick, girl, woman, morning sickness

If your job is tied to your health insurance, then you’ll want to make a call to your insurance company to really understand what’s covered and what’s not. Pregnant workers may be particularly vulnerable (or feel as such), so you’ll want to see if your insurance offers emotional support or therapy too. Again, your health insurance may offer pregnant people prenatal or antenatal services that you didn’t know possible. While this might not make you want to talk to your boss sooner, if there are any gaps that insurance doesn’t cover you may need to refer to your employee handbook about additional pregnancy benefits that may apply. If so, it may be in your best interest to make your pregnancy announcement early enough to take full advantage. Whether you wan to share in your first trimester or second trimester, there may be reasons to tell your employer sooner than you tell your boss you’re pregnant, individually.

Pregnancy is a personal and private matter. But it’s also an important part of your professional life, especially if you plan to continue working after birth. Your maternity leave plans or your ongoing plans to have multiple children, even after this one, can leave your boss feeling uneasy. Know that your reproductive plans really aren’t any of their business. Pregnant people have legal rights to keep them safe, but no obligations about when, where, and how to share details about their new baby. If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss before, you may be particularly sensitive to a longer wait. Safety is key.

You may feel like you should wait until you’re well into your pregnancy before sharing the news with your boss or colleagues. But that can be risky if you have underlying conditions that could put your health in jeopardy. If something goes wrong during the early stages of your pregnancy or if you need accommodations at work, it’s good to have a supportive supervisor on your side.

woman, redhead, scarf

Also, if you’re “hiding” your pregnancy at work, that can add unnecessary stress throughout the most important early months of the baby’s development. If you work around hazardous chemicals or equipment, you will need to minimize exposure—for your sake and the baby’s. The same is true for professions that entail altitude or oxygen-level changes or those that require women to lift heavy objects. Extreme heat or cold may also be reasons to disclose as early as your first trimester. Many jobs have provisions to have added safety measures during pregnancy. Women should not wait if sharing their pregnancy news in the first trimester could be the difference between good health and bad for mom and the new baby alike. Chances are you’re not the first person to announce their pregnancy in this job and, while it’s uncomfortable to share, it’s in everyone’s best interest.

The more dangerous your line of work, the earlier you likely need to tell your boss (or the hr department) so that you can make a safe shift. In such cases, your workplace leadership at your company may have an appropriate way to lead the conversation with your boss. Again, there’s just no need to wait if your health is jeopardy or if you’re leaving health benefits on the line.

That said, many people downplay pregnancy as “not an illness.” Sure, you’re not sick, but your body is creating human life. That sure is taxing. Many moms report low iron, fatigue, body pain, trouble controlling urine or stool, poor concentration, swelling in the extremities, memory loss, and an entire slew of other concerning symptoms. These are changes that really matter. Chances are your colleagues already notice too, no matter how much you hide. So, a pregnant person may want to be one who share with the boss first–before their symptoms or work colleagues reveal as much.

Although some pregnancy symptoms may be temporary, some can be very disruptive and severe. If you’re experiencing anything of the sort, you’ll want to warn others around you every day that you’re just not feeling well. If it is ongoing, that’s probably when it is best to tell your boss you’re pregnant. Sharing any medical preclusions your doctor may write up on a doctor’s note can serve to both justify paid or unpaid time off work, as well as workplace accommodations or benefits that your company may offer to workers expecting a new baby.

Your health is the most important thing for your growing family. Your first trimester is when most miscarriages occur and when women are most susceptible to complications like blood clots or preeclampsia (high blood pressure caused by pregnancy).

If you are experiencing any of these complications, disclose your conditions appropriately and right away to your boss and HR, so that you can be sure to have the safest pregnancy possible. If your job has a person who monitors and upholds OSHA regulations, that person may also need to get involved.

Taking care of yourself as a pregnant person may mean taking extra time off from work when you need it, staying hydrated, working remotely, eating healthy foods on a set schedule, asking for help with work tasks, taking bed rest, and caring for your mental health. All of this is true even before the baby comes.

father, family, baby

If there are ways to do this at work without disclosing the pregnancy, then great! But, if not, it’s probably time to tell your boss you’re pregnant. After all, a well-supported mom has lower stress levels and is much more likely to have a healthy pregnancy and birth. If you have a history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, it’s especially important to disclose these conditions in case they flare up during pregnancy or postpartum. The postpartum period can last years after the baby is born, but many employers offer therapy benefits, and the Medical Leave Act may cover severe cases of medical illness, hospitalization, and periods when prescribed drugs may take you out of the workforce (even temporarily).

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with your boss, consider reaching out to HR at your job about the options available for mental health issues in the workplace. With a doctor’s note or prescription, you may be able to get an accommodation without explaining how this is connected to your pregnancy, but if the condition is expected to affect you for years, then it’s best to play it straight with your supervisor and galvanize their support for a sustainable solution for everyone at your job.

If you’re so excited about your baby news that you’re not sure why this talk with your employers is such a big deal, you’ll want to take the PreggyFinance course to learn more about how to blend family planning with tried-and-true workplace advice to help you welcome a baby with the least amount of workplace drama.




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