By: Amanda Winstead
It can be scary to think about how to tell your boss about your pregnancy, but there are millions of pregnancies across the globe each year, and many occur in women who work full-time and rely on their careers. While it’s an exciting and emotional time, there’s one more thing about your pregnancy that might have you, particularly on edge — talking to your boss about it.
Unfortunately, there are still some stereotypes and stigmas in place regarding women in the workplace. You might wonder how your employer will take the news or if you’ll be putting your job at risk by sharing the news with them.
Thankfully, the perception of pregnancy has changed over the years. Many of those stigmas are long gone, and it’s time for more women to step up and request support from employers that they need as moms, throughout their pregnancies and beyond.
When thinking about how to tell your boss about your pregnancy, let’s talk about what you should be prepared for, what questions you should be asking your boss, and how you should proceed with discussing your pregnancy with them.
The View of Pregnancy Is Changing in the Workplace
Societal perceptions of pregnancy in the last two years have changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we might be entering a post-pandemic society, the effects of the pandemic still linger, and more people are focused on their physical and mental well-being.
Employers across the country are well aware of this. Many workplaces have implemented health promotion programs for their employees. These programs help to:
- Improve health-related behaviors;
- Reduce elevated health risks;
- Reduce healthcare costs;
- Improve productivity;
- Boost employee retention.
Pregnant mothers today have more to prepare for than they did in a pre-pandemic world. You have to think about your mental well-being, keeping yourself and your family safe, and how to set up your prenatal care in a way that fits your health needs and work schedule.
Because so many employers are taking a greater interest in the health of their workers, you can benefit by getting the support you need within the workplace. While there’s no ideal timeline for when or how to tell your boss about your pregnancy, make sure they’re among the first to know and be transparent about your situation. The sooner you start that conversation, the easier it will be to negotiate a healthy plan that works for everyone.
Questions To Ask
Most companies have policies in place regarding maternity leave, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk to your employer about what to expect and work through any questions you might have. You never know what they might be willing to change or update. When thinking of how to tell your boss about your pregnancy, some of your needs to discuss include:
- The specifics of your maternity leave;
- Health benefits you might qualify for;
- Remote or hybrid work options.
Take the time to review your company policies so you can prepare yourself with the right information and relevant questions. Additionally, make sure you understand your rights. If your employer doesn’t want to offer fair benefits or they fire you because of your pregnancy, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) prohibits companies with over 15 employees from discriminating against anyone because they’re pregnant. Asking questions is important, but arming yourself with knowledge will help you build confidence before you have your conversation.
How To Approach Your Employer With Confidence
Speaking of confidence, it’s a “must-have” and makes all the difference when thinking of how to tell your boss about your pregnancy. If you want to be an effective communicator, you’re going to want to be clear and concise with your words. That requires a strong sense of self-worth.
Before you approach your employer, reevaluate your needs and think about how you’ll discuss them. For example, having a baby is going to change your financial situation. There’s no better time to make some smart financial moves. Take the time to build a budget and determine your needs, and consider asking your boss for a raise or a boost in your retirement account. If you’re dealing with underlying health issues or you’re worried about the well-being of your baby, ask for more time at home so you can stay physically active and practice self-care each day.
When you know exactly what you want/need, it will be easier to approach your employer with confidence. They might not be willing to give in to every request, but it’s a good starting point that can lead to healthy, effective negotiations. If you take the time to think of how to tell your boss about your pregnancy, your confidence and suggestions could even end up changing company policies or inspiring your boss to take a look at maternity leave options.
The most important thing to keep in mind when wondering how to tell your boss about your pregnancy is not to be afraid. You’re legally protected from discrimination, and you can’t lose your job just because of your news. While not all companies will offer the benefits and flexibility a pregnant woman deserves, things are changing for the better. You can foster even bigger and better changes by speaking up and approaching your employer with confidence in regard to your pregnancy.