How to Tell Your Boss You're Pregnant When You Just Started a Job
Everyone knows starting a new job has unique challenges. But pregnancy can add a whole different level of complication to an already stressful time. So how do you break the happy news to your boss? Read on for some tips and suggestions—and congratulations!
What does the law say?
First things first: you are not legally required to disclose your pregnancy during a job interview. According to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which is in place to prevent discrimination against women in the workplace on the basis of pregnancy, companies must treat a pregnant woman exactly how they would treat any other workplace disability. And no, this does not mean pregnancy is a disability—just that it needs to be treated as such when it comes to time off, reasonable workplace accommodations, etc.
Maternity leave—what can you expect?
Sadly, the United States is behind other countries when it comes to paid maternity leave, which means you may have to plan your time off around the idea of not receiving a paycheck while you’re away from the office. Because of this, Inc. highly recommends researching your new company’s policies around pregnancy and maternity leave so you at least know what to expect and discuss when going into the conversation.
So now you’re armed with the basic knowledge surrounding workplace pregnancy. The big question remains: How do you actually tell your boss? The most important thing to remember is to be clear with your supervisor about the needs and expectations for both parties. While the point of the conversation is certainly to get information about your boss’s plan of action, it’s also to relieve any fears or anxieties he or she may have when faced with a pregnant employee.
How does your boss feel about pregnancy in the workplace?
According to Career Builder, employers typically have two major concerns about pregnancy in the workplace:
1.The amount of time away from the office that will be needed either during pregnancy or immediately after birth
2.Your level of commitment to the new job, considering some major life changes are about to occur.
The first point is easy to understand—after all, your employer just hired you to fill a gap, and you’ve essentially announced the gap you were hired to fill will be open once again (at least temporarily). That can be a hard reality for some companies to handle, but it is absolutely something you can work around.
Have a plan for the time you’ll be available
First things first. Announce your happy news, and immediately move on to some ways in which you both (or the whole office, if need be) can strategize to make sure your training, projects, etc. are completed with the least amount of disruption as possible. It helps if you’ve already brainstormed some ideas you can present to your boss in case they need a few minutes to gather their thoughts. Although doctor appointments, possible morning sickness, and various other unexpected blips can occur, it’s vital that you reassure your manager that you’re still readily available to fulfill the requirements of the position for which you were just recently hired.
Address your time away
For most women, the actual pregnancy isn’t the hardest part—it’s the time away from the office after the birth. This is where the concern from point number two comes in. Many employers worry that once the baby comes, you’ll decide you don’t want to come back to the job after all. If the company has gone through time and expense to properly train you, this can be a very worrisome possibility from a corporate standpoint. Make sure you address this head on, and discuss your strategy for making as seamless a re-entry after the birth as possible.
Presumably you accepted the position with the full intention of staying there for the foreseeable future, and you want to convey that confidence to your boss through both tone and actual verbal reassurance. Expressing interest in creating an action plan will also go a long way in indicating to your higher ups that, despite your newbie status, you consider yourself an integral part of the company and will continue to be so both during your pregnancy and after the birth.
Just remember: don’t get discouraged if your boss doesn’t express immediate excitement over your announcement. It may very well take some time for him or her to digest this new information. As long as you remain clear about your needs, address your boss’s concerns, and are on the same page when it comes to expectations, you’ll soon find juggling a newborn and a career is more than possible!