Pregnancy and Work: Telling Your Boss

When should you tell your employer about your pregnancy? Since benefits and leave policies differ from company to company some women may find telling their boss about their pregnancy a bit nerve wrecking. But, it doesn't have to be. Read on to find out when you should notify your employer that pregnant and what your rights are as an expecting employee.

In general, your pregnancy is irrelevant to your work and legally you don't have to share this information with your boss, until you feel comfortable in doing so or when the signs of pregnancy become noticeable. The right time to spill the beans about your pregnancy largely depends on your medical condition, potential workplace hazards, and your plans.

If you're experiencing severe pregnancy symptoms, such as extreme fatigue and nausea, during your first trimester, it's a good idea to let you're boss know, instead of letting her draw her own conclusion or thinking that you're slacking at work. But if you're feeling fine, and can continue to keep working as normal, you can hold off sharing the news with your boss, unless, of course your work duties or environment can cause potential harm to your unborn baby.

In other words, if you work entails heavy lifting, or if your work in a factory or industry where you're exposed to fumes, chemicals, strenuous physical tasks it'll be in your best interest to notify your boss as soon as possible. So your boss can transfer your potential harmful duties or have you work on another task that won't harm your unborn baby.

As well as, women may be wary about telling their employer about their pregnancy right before a performance or salary review. If this is the case, you may want to wait until after the review to share the news. Keeping in mind that you should do this only if by waiting doesn't harm your pregnancy or worsen your medical condition.

Also review your company's short-term disability and medical policies if your company doesn't have a specific plan for maternity leave. Use this policy to help plan your leave, finish ongoing projects, etc. Present a detail plan to your employer after you share your pregnancy news.

Your Rights

It's important that you familiarize yourself with your company's policies and the law. Make sure you get all the time off that you're entitled to. You can look up this information in your company's handbook. This way you can know what to expect in terms of sick days, paid/unpaid leave, vacation days, etc. After you discuss your maternity leave with your boss, make sure you get the plan details in writing, so there won't be any misunderstanding or confusion when you're on your leave.

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