Tips for Announcing Your Pregnancy in the Workplace
byKathryn WalshJun 01, 2014
Sharing news of your pregnancy at work requires careful balance. Even if your relationship is friendly, your boss may be less than thrilled to learn that you'll be soon be missing at least a few months of work, and sharing too much personal information with co-workers might feel uncomfortable. Going in with a positive, businesslike attitude is the key to a successful announcement. You should never feel apologetic for getting pregnant.
Waiting to announce your pregnancy until after the first trimester allows you privacy in the event you suffer a miscarriage. But in some cases, sharing information early has its benefits. For instance, says the March of Dimes, telling your boss the reason that you're so tired and need so many bathroom breaks prevents him from making assumptions that your work ethic is suffering. Your boss also needs to know about your pregnancy early if your job exposes you to safety risks such as chemicals, radiation or physical demands such as climbing up and down ladders. Talk to your doctor about your job duties to determine whether you're at risk.
Schedule Face Time
This isn't news to share over company email. Because your boss may have questions or concerns, make your announcement to him in person. In her book "The Working Woman's Baby Planner," Marla Schram Schwartz suggests scheduling a meeting during the least stressful time of the week. In many offices, Friday afternoon fits the bill. Tell no co-workers until after you've told the boss, as even a trusted cubicle buddy might let the news slip to higher-ups before you want them to know. A brief, positive staff-wide email -- "I'm thrilled to announce that I'm expecting a baby in late February" — is a suitable way to tell co-workers.
Hold Off on Planning
Talking too early and too often about your maternity leave will only make your boss look at you as someone with one foot out the door. Don't go into your announcement meeting planning to talk about your leave, advises Schwartz. Instead suggest that you get together in a few months to talk logistics. However, because some bosses will want to iron out details right away, it's wise to read up on your company's maternity leave policies before telling anyone your news. If co-workers press you about your plans to return, just say something like "Right now I'm just focusing on making sure the Miller project is perfect by our deadline!"
While many people at your workplace will respond to your news with congratulations and offers of baby showers, some may not. A rare boss may assume pregnancy will interfere with job performance, so brush up on pregnancy discrimination laws before making any announcements. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows you to take 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, but only if you and your employer meet certain criteria. For instance, private-sector workplaces must have 50 or more employees and you must have worked there for at least 12 months to be eligible. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids your employer from discriminating against you in any way because of your pregnancy, and individual states have similar laws on the books.