When and How To Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant

When and How To Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant

Are you having a baby? Not sure when and how to tell your boss? Your pregnancy and the impending birth of a child will have an impact on your work life, so it’s important to plan on how you’re going to share the news.

Carefully managing how you communicate with your employer about your pregnancy will go a long way towards determining what impact your pregnancy might have on your job and your career.

Review these tips for when and how to tell your boss you’re pregnant, what to say, and how to decide on the best time to tell your boss.

Learn the Law

Before you begin discussing this issue, it makes sense to educate yourself about the federal and state laws which govern family leave.  The federal government guarantees twelve weeks of unpaid leave. 

Some states, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have more expanded coverage for family leave.  

Keep Your Options Open

You should also think about your bottom line regarding when and if you will return to work before broaching the subject with your boss.  It is hard to anticipate how you will feel in advance about returning to work, particularly if it is your first child. 

Keep your options open if you are undecided.  For example, you might say, “Though it is hard to be 100% sure that I will return after my leave is up, my current plan is to return at that time.” 

Once you say that you will definitely not return, you have given your employer permission to fill your position.

Know Company Policy

Make sure you know your company’s policy and typical practices regarding leaves.  Be ready to negotiate a return date which might extend beyond the requirements in the laws and policies. 

Consider how difficult it will be to replace you as you assess your options and how highly you are valued by your boss.  Keep in mind that your partner will also have some family leave privileges. So you may elect to have him/her cover some of the time after you return to work before turning your baby over to a childcare provider.

Have a Private Discussion

You should schedule a meeting with your boss at a time and place when you can have an uninterrupted private discussion.  You might want to meet with a Human Resources representative to gain further insight about company policies/practices shortly before your meeting with your boss. Let the HR representative know you will be meeting with your supervisor and ask them to keep the situation confidential in the interim.

If you have decided to return to work, try to reassure your boss that you will do everything possible to ease the transition and emphasize that you remain very committed to your career and employer. This might include training your temporary replacement, completing some assignments prior to your leave and/or answering a few questions as they arise while you are out.

When is the Best Time to Have a Meeting?

The timing of your meeting is a tricky issue and will be impacted by the quality of the relationship you have with your boss and your perceived value as an employee.  You will certainly want to inform your supervisor prior to the time when your pregnancy will be apparent. 

If you have a positive relationship and/or a very secure status, then you might inform them earlier to allow further time to plan and train your replacement.  Wait at least until you are confident the pregnancy is viable.

Plan Your Transition

Even if you do not plan to return to this job, try to make the transition as smooth as possible for your supervisor.  The odds are you will return to work at some point and will want to receive a favorable recommendation from your employer.

Offer to help with planning coverage for when you’ll be out of work, if you are planning on returning.  If you’re not coming back to work, offer to help plan the transition.

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  • January 13, 2022