So you’ve just found out you’re pregnant - congrats! But what about telling your employer? Let’s explore when to tell work you’re pregnant.
It’s happened! You’re pregnant!
And, now you have so many wonderful things to look forward to as you get ready to welcome your new baby home.
Amidst all this excitement, however, there may be something weighing heavily on your mind: How and when should I tell my boss that I am pregnant?
Being nervous or worried about telling your employer about your pregnancy is understandable; you don’t know how they’ll react to hearing that you’ll be taking some time off work when the baby comes.
You may be worried that you’ll suffer some (direct or indirect) repercussions for taking the time you deserve with your little one.
Fear not, though, we’ve put together some tips on how to tell your boss you’re pregnant.
So, take a deep breath and read through our tips—chances are, it won’t be as bad as you think.
In this article: 📝
- Tell your boss you’re pregnant first
- Your rights while pregnant at work
- Plan for your maternity leave
- When should I tell my boss I’m pregnant?
- How do you announce pregnancy at work?
Tell your boss you’re pregnant first
The first person for your work pregnancy announcement should be your boss.
Even if you’re really close with some of your coworkers, you want to tell your boss first to make sure that they don’t find out you’re pregnant from someone else.
After you’ve told you’re boss you’re pregnant, you can move on and decide how to announce pregnancy to coworkers.
While you may be nervous about figuring out how to tell your boss you’re pregnant, don’t forget that you’ve done nothing wrong.
You’re bringing a baby into the world, not running off for a six-week vacation and leaving your coworkers high and dry.
Can my boss tell HR I’m pregnant?
Yes, if your employer has an HR department, you can ask your manager or boss to tell them about your pregnancy.
You can also choose to tell them yourself, but it’s recommended to do that at the same time as you’re telling your boss.
However, your boss can’t tell any other coworkers about your pregnancy without your consent ‒ that is personal information and not for them to share.
You can also choose to tell HR before you tell your boss, and the same applies ‒ they can’t tell your boss without your express consent.
Do I have to tell coworkers I’m pregnant?
No, you don’t have to tell your coworkers you’re pregnant ‒ you only legally have to tell your boss and HR.
But it’s worth letting them know, if you’re comfortable, so they can help support you while you work.
Plus, at a certain point, it’s going to be hard to conceal your pregnancy with that bump!
Your rights while pregnant at work
Before making an appointment with your boss, you’ll want to do your homework.
Find out what your company’s maternity leave policy is.
Do they offer paid leave, or will the leave you take be unpaid?
Will you need to use your sick leave or vacation days for your maternity leave?
If you are unsure of any of these policies or are confused by what you read in your employee handbook, you might want to set up a meeting with someone in your human resources department.
If you do schedule an appointment, you may want to keep it confidential so your boss doesn’t find out you’re pregnant before you have a chance to tell them yourself.
In addition to reading up on your company’s policies, you should also learn more about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Depending on the size of the company you work for, the Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees that you can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to a new baby.
Knowing the laws and your rights will help you go in prepared for your conversation with your boss.
Speak up for yourself
After you’ve told your boss that you’re pregnant, you’ll want to let them know about any accommodations you’ll need to perform your duties or any physical limitations caused by the pregnancy that may impact your ability to perform your job.
If you feel like your boss isn’t offering you the support and accommodations you need, file a complaint with human resources.
If your complaint is not fully addressed within a reasonable amount of time, you can file for discrimination with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against their workers due to pregnancy.
If you feel like you need to file for discrimination, you should meet with a lawyer first to make sure you submit all the information you’ll need to prove your case.
How many hours a day should a pregnant woman work?
There isn’t really a limit as to how many hours a pregnant person can work.
But generally speaking, you can work the same number of hours as you were working before you were pregnant, unless you’re not able to do so due to physical or mental health.
Can I get fired for calling in sick while pregnant?
If your sickness is pregnancy-related, and you can prove that it is with a doctor’s note, then no, you can’t be fired for calling in sick while pregnant, if your employer has 15 or more employees.
However, there is no law that generally protects people who have non-pregnancy-related sicknesses (except for disabilities or, in some cases, chronic illnesses).
What happens if I go off sick before my maternity leave starts?
Each company is different, as there are no federal legal requirements for paid sick leave.
This is why it’s a good idea to plan for your absence about a month before your maternity leave starts.
Is it illegal for an employer to ask if you are pregnant?
No, it’s not illegal for an employer or potential employer to ask if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
But it’s also not illegal for you to refuse to answer.
Not only that, but it’s also illegal for any employer with 15 or more employees to discriminate against people who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
So if you’re interviewing for a new job, they can’t legally refuse you the role because you’re pregnant or TTC.
Plan for your maternity leave
Another thing you should do before having a conversation with your boss is to come up with a tentative plan for your absence.
Think about how your current duties should be distributed amongst your coworkers.
Having a tentative plan to present to your boss may help ease the news that you’ll be out for an extended period of time.
After you and your boss have had a chance to sit down and finalise the details of your leave and how your duties will be covered, get a copy of the plan and your agreements in writing.
Not only will this avoid any confusion as to which of your responsibilities will be handled by which coworkers, but it can also prevent your boss from trying to tell you that you didn’t live up to your end of the deal.
Making a copy of this plan to share with any of your coworkers who will be covering some of your duties is also a good idea.
This way everyone will be on the same page about what they should be doing when you’re gone.
Should you work until your due date?
However, if you have accrued paid leave or your doctor has advised that you take bed rest or that you should stop working during your pregnancy, then you can discuss an earlier maternity leave with your boss.
Can I start my maternity leave early?
Yes, you can, if you want to or if it’s advised by your doctor ‒ but you’ll need to talk it through with your manager, to sort out your maternity leave cover.
At least 30 days’ notice is legally required ahead of your maternity leave.
Is 36 weeks too early to start maternity leave?
Do most people work until they give birth?
Most people tend to work until 36-39 weeks into their pregnancy, to take some time to prepare for baby’s arrival.
But if you want to work right up until your due date or until you’re in labor, you can (depending on your industry).
When should I tell my boss I’m pregnant?
There is no set time for when you should tell your boss you’re pregnant.
It is really up to you and what you feel comfortable with, how your pregnancy is going, and other work-related considerations.
Below are a few factors you should think about as you decide when the right time to tell your boss you’re pregnant will be.
Whether you’ve started showing yet
If you’ve started showing already, you may want to figure out how to tell your boss you’re pregnant sooner rather than later.
You don’t want them finding out before you tell them or for your coworkers to start speculating.
How you’re feeling
The way you’ve been feeling with your pregnancy may also impact when you’ll want to have a conversation with your boss.
If you’ve had a lot of morning sickness or other symptoms that are causing you to miss work or could impact your ability to perform your job, you should let your boss know so they don’t assume you’re being delinquent.
Your risk of pregnancy loss
If this matches your comfort level, hold off a bit on telling him or her until you get to a point in your pregnancy where your chances of having a miscarriage are lower.
The type of work you do
The type of work you do is another important thing to consider when deciding when you’ll want to talk to your boss.
If your job requires a lot of manual labor or exposes you to chemicals that could harm your developing baby, you’ll definitely want to schedule a meeting with your boss right away.
This way, they can help you arrange to switch to a new position for the duration of your pregnancy.
Whether you have important work-related tasks coming up
If you have a large project or presentation that is coming up soon, you may feel more comfortable waiting until after the event has passed to talk to your boss.
This way, you can focus your attention on your important work tasks, and you won’t need to worry about your boss questioning your ability to complete this important task because you’re pregnant.
Your work environment
Your work environment will also likely impact when you’ll want to schedule your meeting with your boss.
If you know many of your coworkers like to gossip, you’ll probably want to schedule the meeting soon so gossip doesn’t start spreading around the water cooler and make its way to your boss’s office.
If you know that the company you work for is very family-friendly, it can be easier to share the news earlier than if you’ve heard from other coworkers that your boss is not understanding of family matters.
Whether you’ve announced your pregnancy on social media
This is worth bearing in mind if you have any coworkers as friends on social media, and where the confidentiality agreement with work gets a bit muddy.
As you’ve shared your news with ‘the world’, your work can find out about your pregnancy via social media, too.
And if you haven’t discussed it with them beforehand, it can make for a slightly awkward conversation.
How many weeks pregnant should you tell work?
Technically, there’s only one requirement when it comes to when to tell work you’re pregnant ‒ you legally have to give at least 30 days’ notice before taking maternity leave.
But the majority of people who are pregnant choose to let their boss know ahead of this.
Is 6 weeks too early to announce pregnancy?
But it’s entirely your choice, mama-to-be.
Should I tell my boss I’m pregnant at 7 weeks?
While most mums-to-be choose to tell their work at 12 weeks, some decide to opt for an earlier date.
Is 9 weeks pregnant too early to announce?
Many mums make their pregnancy announcements to coworkers at the 12-week mark, when the risk of pregnancy loss has decreased dramatically, but there’s no hard-and-fast rule.
Should you tell your employer you’re pregnant before 12 weeks?
Only if you want to.
Legally, you don’t have to tell your employer about your pregnancy until 30 days before the date that you want to take your maternity leave.
But that will mean that they can’t help support you during your pregnancy ‒ because they won’t know.
So many mums-to-be tell their work about their pregnancy at 12 weeks, well before their due date.
How do you announce pregnancy at work?
When you do have your meeting with your boss, be professional.
Instead of popping your head in their door one morning to share the news, schedule a meeting with them in advance.
This way, they’ll have time set aside on their calendar and the two of you will be able to have a real conversation without worrying about outside interruptions.
Make sure you communicate to your boss through your words and actions that your pregnancy isn’t affecting your ability to perform your job.
Allow your boss to share any concerns they may have and address them to put them at ease.
Keep this initial conversation brief and to the point.
You can schedule a future meeting to fine-tune more of the details relating to your leave.
How do I tell my team I’m pregnant?
So if you are the boss, how do you tell your team of coworkers that you’re pregnant?
It depends on the work environment and atmosphere ‒ if everything’s done by the book, opt for a quick meeting to let your team know, send an email, or announce it during a regular weekly catch-up.
But if it’s more of a fun office, why not have a bit of fun yourself?
Here are a few ideas for pregnancy announcements for coworkers:
- Cupcakes for the office that spell out “I’m pregnant” or “[Company name] baby due [due date]”.
- Make it subtle by ordering a mug to announce your pregnancy, like this one, and see how long it takes for your coworkers to cotton on.
- Bring baby-shaped cookies to the office with a note announcing your pregnancy.
- Bring in a few bottles of bubbly or beer with the note “Can you guys drink this because I won’t be able to for the next 9 months”.
- Bake a cake for the office with tiny plastic babies inside, iced with “Surprise inside”.
- Give each coworker a cookie in a different letter, spelling out “I’m pregnant”, and see how long it takes them to figure out the anagram.
- Send an email to your team telling them there’s a new member of staff, joining on your due date, and that you’ll be taking a short leave of absence around that time.
- Come into work with a fun t-shirt announcing your pregnancy.
If you’ve been worried about when to tell work you’re pregnant, hopefully, you feel a little less stressed after reading our article.
Get your plan together, review your company policies, find the right way to share the news professionally, and stop worrying about how to tell your boss you’re pregnant!