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Telling your employer you’re pregnant

There’s never a right time to let your work know you’re pregnant, but there may be a better time for you. It varies for everyone and can depend on several factors such as what kind of job you do, how you’re feeling, how pregnant you look and how open-minded your company is (or isn’t).

The main thing to remember is, no matter how you decide to spill the beans, make sure your boss is the first to know – even if you really trust a co-worker, a slip of the tongue could land you in some highly awkward situations. 

There are certain tell-tale signs that might have people questioning, such as your bump popping (suddenly it’s there!) and 24 toilet breaks before lunch – weeing for two I see?

As with anything, it’s better to be forthcoming than to have people finding out before you’ve decided to tell them.

At e-Careers, we work with employers directly and are pretty well-versed in knowing what they expect.

Here are a few tips to help you tell work you’re expecting when face to face:

  • Choose a good time. Setting up a meeting with your boss is usually a good idea. Expect that they will have some questions and want to follow up on a few things. Avoid any “Hi, I’m pregnant, bye!” situations as you’re walking out the door.
  • Prepare a vague plan and be prepared to flex around work’s requirements and make compromises here and there (but at the same time stand firm on your absolute requirements).
  • Don’t be sorry. You heard right – don’t apologise for being pregnant. Your boss is likely to be happy for you, and by apologising you are introducing unnecessary worry into the situation. Make it clear that you’re happy and excited for new changes and committed to balancing your work and family.
  • Follow up with an email. As with many meetings, you’ll want the main points written in an email to be sure everyone is on the same page. Include any agreements that were made about your pregnancy while at work, maternity leave, and your eventual return to work.

In a post-pandemic world, you may feel safer working from home. Working remotely doesn’t affect the day-to-day role and won’t affect how you approach situations like this. Just make sure you have good connection for a video meeting, and lead with positivity.

Your workplace are likely to be thrilled to be seeing you through this journey in your life.

What if my work aren’t going to be happy about it?

Unfortunately, some workplaces haven’t yet evolved to the standards we, as women, require them to be at. It’s sometimes helpful to know you are not alone and there are online resources available for this exact topic. Here’s a few handy hints to help ease the nerves:

  • Tell them how you’re going to ensure the smoothest transition. This can be as detailed as how you are going to finish up projects, accommodate handovers and even training staff to look after your role while you’re gone.
  • Remember: This is a normal thing you’re telling them. It’s not like you’re packing off to go sightseeing and don’t know when you’ll be back. They have likely dealt with this before and have anticipated it to happen again.
  • You’re still valuable to your team. Don’t forget this. Just because you’re giving birth, it doesn’t make you a burden or any less of a team member.
  • Work still being funny about it? Ditch ‘em! Ideally no workplace3 will be so medieval, but as we know the world is rarely ideal. Just remember – there are plenty more fish in the sea (and jobs on Reed), so keep your eye out for another opportunity – though take maternity leave (so long as your contract doesn’t have a pay-back clause) and search while still getting a wage.

It’s good to know that your rights as an employee increase after 2 years at a workplace. If you feel you are being pushed out your job because you’re pregnant but you’ve been there for less than 2 years, speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

The legal stuff

Regardless of where your employer sits, you want to make sure that you are adhering to the legal side of giving notice etc.

As an expecting mama, you’re entitled to:

  • Paid time off for antenatal care
  • Maternity leave
  • Maternity pay or maternity allowance
  • Protection against unfair treatment, discrimination or dismissal

You must tell your employer you are pregnant at least 15 weeks before the baby is due or if you cannot do this, they must be told as soon as possible. You won’t be able to get paid time off for antenatal care until you’ve informed your employer of your pregnancy.

While blogs like this are informative (and a great way to pass time while in a doctor’s waiting room), it’s always best to check the government’s advice on their site. You can find government information about pregnancy rights here.

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