When should you tell your employer about your pregnancy? What does the law state and what is the general advice?
Finding out your pregnant is exciting and welcome news, but having to announce your pregnancy to your employer can be extremely stressful.
This is especially true when the all important time comes to finally tell work you are pregnant.
So what is the general consensus? And is there one?
The exact time will vary depending on whether you are showing, the type of work you do and how family friendly your employer is.
When to Tell Work You’re Pregnant
In general, most women tend to inform their employer that they are pregnant during the end of their first trimester or early into the second trimester.
But as mentioned there are no hard and fast rules, the true answer is that it depends on your circumstances and your personal preferences.
People don’t tend to tell many people, including their employer too early due to the higher risks of miscarriage and other complications in the early stages of pregnancy.
Other reasons why you may wait until the later stages of pregnancy to tell work:
- If you want to plan and thing ahead about your maternity leave and return to work schedule.
- If you think a promotion is likely in the very near future.
- If you want to have a little more time to adjust to the idea of being pregnant.
What if you have pregnancy symptoms?
While you may have every intention to announce your pregnancy to work in your own time, the reality is that this isn’t always possible.
If you have severe pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, then it may be difficult to hide.
Additionally, if your work involves a lot of physical activity, then it may not be safe for you or the baby to wait.
In these circumstances, you will likely need to announce your pregnancy to your employer earlier than you may have planned.
The general rule is that you want to announce your pregnancy to your employer and at work before it becomes obvious.
The danger of not announcing your pregnancy to work before it becomes obvious is that it can destroy trust and lead to other issues, such as workplace gossiping.
Another thing to remember is to always tell your boss or manager first as the danger of telling colleagues is that it will lead to office gossip.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to tell your boss first, since you can work together on a plan for your maternity leave before other people try to involve themselves.
If you are still unsure about telling your manager or boss that you are pregnant you can always talk to your human resources department confidentially about any concerns you may have.
What Are Your Maternity Rights?
A good port of call is to familiarise yourself with pregnancy laws, in particular the The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978.
This is an act that essentially protects employees from discrimination during pregnancy.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act takes care of practically everything related to pregnancy, including employment, such as hiring and firing to pay, promotions, training and benefits.
In addition, it also states that if you are pregnant and unable to execute any of your work duties your employer must provide “reasonable accommodation” for you to be able to continue safely.
However, sadly this Act is by no means perfect and many employers fail pregnant women.
For example, there are loopholes in the act that many employers take advantage of, in particular those related to pay and promotions.
If you do believe you are being treated unfairly by your employer ensure you seek professional legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Please note: You need to disclose your pregnancy to your employer to be protected by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
It may also be worth checking your companies official employment policies with regards to pregnancy and maternity leave as this will give you a better idea as to whether your place of work is mother and family friendly.