Tips on Talking to Your Boss

Now that you are pregnant, you are probably very excited about announcing the news to those closest to you. It can be lots of fun telling parents, friends, and other family members that you will soon be expecting your very own bundle of joy! However, it can often be a little more difficult when it comes to announcing your pregnancy to your employer. Telling your boss that you are pregnant can be a nerve-wracking and anxiety-provoking experience, especially if you are unsure how she is going to react. Here are some tips to help you when it comes to telling your boss that you are pregnant!

Deciding When To Tell
Deciding when to tell others that you are pregnant is difficult for many parents-to-be. You may be very eager to tell everyone around you, or you may prefer to wait awhile before announcing the big news. When it comes to telling your boss, it is a good idea to find a date that feels right for both you and your partner. Many women choose to wait until they are in their second trimester before informing their bosses of their pregnancy. Because the first trimester has the greatest risk of miscarriage, you may also feel more comfortable waiting until after the 12th week of pregnancy. Other women choose to tell their boss just when they are beginning to show. When deciding when to tell your boss, remember to consider other factors, including:

  • the severity of your morning sickness and other pregnancy symptoms
  • any complications with your pregnancy
  • the safety of your workplace
  • the type of job that you are doing

Do Your Research!
Before you tell your boss anything about your pregnancy, be sure to do your research about maternity leave and how long you plan to spend away from work. If possible, talk with an employee in your HR department to find out what your company’s policy is regarding maternity leave. Companies with more than 50 employees are required to give parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave in order to care for a newborn or adopted child. If your company doesn’t have an HR department, your maternity leave and health benefits should be outlined in your orientation package or contract.

Talk to Others
If there are other moms or moms-to-be in your office, consider talking with them about how their announcement went with the boss. You may be a little bit nervous about talking with your boss for fear that your news will not be taken with great excitement or happiness. It can often be helpful to find out how other women approached the situation. Be sure to find someone that you can trust with the news that you are pregnant, though. There is nothing worse than your boss finding out the news from someone other than you!

Make a Plan
It is a good idea to outline a plan of action before informing your boss that you are pregnant. Though it can be difficult to know exactly how much time you will need off of work, try to have a rough estimate of the amount of maternity leave that you would like to take. You should also consider:

  • if you are going to start your maternity leave before or after the baby is born
  • if you are going to take your maternity leave all at once
  • if you would like to split up your maternity leave

Be sure to consider how stable your finances are when deciding on your maternity leave. You may choose to work part time or to work from home after baby arrives in order to keep up your pay cheque. Also, be sure to give some consideration as to how you can help your employer find a replacement worker for you while you are off of work.

Arrange a Meeting
Depending upon your relationship with your boss, you may decide to tell him that you are pregnant in different ways. If you are close to your boss, you may choose to meet for coffee in order to announce the news. If you are uncomfortable speaking with your boss in person, you may opt to write him a letter revealing your news and requesting maternity leave. Most employees opt for a formal environment in which to tell their boss, and schedule an appointment to meet with them privately.

Whatever your relationship, be sure to find the best time possible to tell your boss. Schedule a meeting when the office isn’t too chaotic or busy, and after all big projects are completed. If things don’t feel right on the day of your meeting, consider rescheduling for a better day.

Talk Openly and Honestly
When it comes time to tell your boss, try to be as open and honest as possible. Tell your boss your due date, make your request for maternity leave, and outline your leave plan. Be sure to emphasize that you enjoy working for the company and have every intention of working with them in the future, after the baby is born. This will reassure your boss that you are committed to your job, and may help to secure you a more generous maternity leave.

If you are interested in work at home or working part time after the baby is born, make this known during your meeting. And share some ideas for potential replacement workers with your employer too. If you are experiencing illness or troubling signs of pregnancy, you may also want to inform your boss that you may need to take sick leave.

If There are Problems
You can’t always expect your employer to be as happy about your pregnancy as you are. After all, it will mean a little extra timetabling for your boss. However, you are entitled to fair and equal treatment under state and federal laws. If you feel that you are being discriminated against because you are pregnant, become familiar with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. This employment law prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, and requires employers to treat pregnancy as they would any other health condition. If you feel that you have been let go, fired, or demoted based on your pregnancy, be sure to inform your HR department and local state government.

Having troubles balancing work and being pregnant? Find out how other women have done it in the forum

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