Pregnancy and Work

Telling Your Boss

When should you tell others about your pregnancy? Since leave policies and benefits vary widely from company to company, some women experience a great deal of anxiety and nervousness when deciding how and when to broach the subject of pregnancy with their boss.

If you are one of those lucky few that experience severe symptoms during their first trimester (i.e. extreme fatigue and nausea), it is probably in your best interest to let your boss know before they come to their own conclusion. If your boss hears about your pregnancy through word of mouth before you tell her, you’ll have trust issues to deal with in addition to the pregnancy-related issues. However, if you feel fine and are not showing many signs of pregnancy, you may want to hold off on letting people know.

It is important to keep in mind that if you work in an environment or industry that may cause harm to your child through fumes etc., you should let your boss know immediately so that a transfer of duties can be arranged. Some women are afraid of announcing their pregnancy right before a performance or salary review.

In that case, you might want to wait until after before spilling the beans. Lastly, it is always a good idea to have a detailed plan that includes how long you plan to stay at your job, how long your maternity leave will be, how you plan to finish up business before you leave and how any unfinished business will be handled by others. Be ready to compromise a bit but don’t back down completely from your plan.

If you feel completely lost on how to broach the subject, you may want to chat with other women to find out how they went about discussing their maternity leave with their boss.

Your Rights

It is important that you become familiar with what the law and your company’s policies say you’re entitled to. That way, you’ll know what you can and can’t ask for with respect to paid/unpaid leave, sick days, vacation days etc. You should be able to find this information out in a company handbook or you can set up a confidential meeting with someone in human resources to discuss it.

After discussing your pregnancy and plan with your boss, confirm the details of your maternity leave in writing so there can’t be any confusion or misunderstanding later.

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