Pregnancy can be an exciting time in your life, but may also be a little stressful. You find yourself evaluating everything in your life, including your job. Once you find out that you are expecting, how do you tell your employer, and when is the best time to tell them?
Many women like to wait until they reach the second trimester. By that time, you are sure that the pregnancy is viable and will continue. You will probably start to show at that time too. It is better to tell your employer that you are pregnant before she can see for herself. If you feel that your boss will be very supportive and excited for you, you may want to tell her even earlier.
Some other factors may affect the timing in which you tell your boss you are pregnant as well. Will your boss be supportive? If you feel that your boss may be worried about your performance due to your pregnancy, or if you think that she may be biased towards pregnant employees, you may want to reevaluate your options. If you are in the middle of a big project or have a performance review coming up, it may be better to wait until that is completed before you tell her the news. That way, she will see that even though you were pregnant, you got the job done and you should be rewarded.
Before you tell your employer that you are pregnant, do your research. You should find out the corporate policies on maternity leave and leave for doctor appointments. You will have quite a few of those. Does your company offer unpaid or paid leave? How long are you able to be out before returning? Some other things to think about is whether or not you plan on returning back to work. If you know for sure that you will not return, you should tell them. They cannot fire you for that, as that is discrimination.
If you are not sure of what capacity you will return, it is best to tell them you will continue working post-pregnancy, at least until you figure out your plan. Once you get further along, think about some different options such as working part time temporarily, telecommuting, working flex time, taking a long maternity leave, or bringing your baby to work part time. Many companies these days are doing more and more to assist their new mom employees, so as not to lose them. Find out if your company has any flexibility, and if not, write up a proposal. It is best, however, to let the news of your pregnancy sink in for a few months before you start asking for post-pregnancy flexibility.
Once you are prepared, set up a meeting with your boss and let her know of your pregnancy. It is best to tell your boss before your co-workers. You don’t want her hearing of your news through the company grapevine. During the meeting, reassure her that you will still be available in the capacity she needs you. Let her know of your due date and any doctor appointments that are coming up. Discuss briefly what kind of maternity leave you would like to take and whether or not you are planning to come back to work after your leave. If she appears uneasy or anxious, be positive and reassuring.