Divulging personal details at work isn’t something that most people enjoy. For expecting mothers, the anxiety surrounding telling your boss about your pregnancy can be all too much to bear. You might be worried about what they will say, if they’ll follow through with their maternity leave policy, or if you’re opening the door for discrimination.
Before you let your stress get the better of you, know that you are protected under federal law. While that doesn’t make the conversation any easier, these five tips will. Here’s how to tell your boss that you’re pregnant.
1. Don’t Tell Your Colleagues First
It might be tempting to tell your friends at work the exciting news, but you should refrain from letting anyone at your place of work know before the boss does. A Bay Area FMLA attorney suggest that telling your boss first allows you to judge their reaction to the news. This allows you to prepare for any upcoming battles to protect your rights without giving them time in advance to get ahead of the issue.
If you already know your boss isn’t going to be happy, then you should talk to a trusted individual in your company’s human resources department. You can ask for advice on how to bring up your pregnancy with the boss and have someone at the ready to help you protect your rights under Title VII.
2. Timing is Key
Many women wait until their mid-first or second trimester to tell their boss due to the risk of miscarriages. This is also when most women start to show signs of being pregnant that are visibly noticeable to others.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s more important that you plan your timing around work events. For instance, a vital deal or project might have everyone’s full attention right now. You might be up for a performance review and want to wait until after you’re evaluated. Make sure your boss is going to listen to you when you do finally break the news, but don’t wait until you can’t hide your pregnancy anymore.
3. Know Your Rights
It’s unfortunate, but women across the country face discrimination simply for being pregnant. You should read up on your company’s maternity leave policy and Title VII before breaking the news. Not only will this boost your confidence, but you’ll know where to plant your feet if the conversation starts heading south.
4. Keep It Brief, Keep It Professional
This conversation is simply a head up for your boss, letting them know that you are indeed pregnant. The two of you will have plenty of time to talk more about your ongoing care or maternity leave at a later date.
A lawyer for pregnancy discrimination warns that your boss might try to get you to agree to details, dates, and logistics on the first conversation. Instead, take the time to think about these aspects. How you feel about them today might not be the same in six months.
5. Don’t Be Nervous
This one is tough, but you really shouldn’t be nervous heading into this conversation. You’re protected under federal law and your state more than likely has additional laws that support you as a mother. Even in the worst case scenario, you’ll be able to hire an attorney and win the fight for your rights. In most cases, however, it doesn’t come down to that. So, take a deep breath and relax. Everything is going to be okay.