Learning that you are expecting a new bundle of joy is exciting. Expecting a baby, however, can also bring a lot of anxiety. One major source of anxiety is how to tell your employer you're pregnant. Employers cannot discriminate due to pregnancy, but that doesn't mean it will be well received.
Research company policies on pregnancy and maternity leave. It is important to know your rights before informing the boss of your pregnancy. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) states that companies who employ over 50 people must offer a 12 week unpaid maternity leave for employees who have been with the company over a year. Some companies who employ less than 50 people also have this policy. There may be other benefits offered as well. This information is available through your human resources department. It may also be in a handbook or benefit information you received when you started the job.
Decide how much time off you will take. Your boss will want to know how long you will be gone. Many expectant mothers have the 12 week option but cannot take full advantage of it because of tight finances. Talk to your significant other about the financial situation and determine how much time is best for you. Some mothers are able to take more than 12 weeks off due to vacation days or other financial arrangements. Make sure to check to see if you have any available time off you can use towards your leave. You can check with the human resources department to find out how much time you have available.
Consider the best time to tell your employer you're pregnant. If you are currently finishing up a big project, it may be best to wait until its completion to spill the beans. This will avoid any unnecessary worrying for your boss. If you are expecting a review or promotion to come up soon and you think the news may influence that, you may want to wait until that time has passed. On the other hand you may want to consider telling your boss as soon as you can, especially if are job duties you may now be unable to perform.
Think about your job duties and how they will be accomplished while you are away on maternity leave. You do not have to have a plan set in stone. Your boss may want to discuss any plans for your work division with you before sealing the deal. However, having some ideas as to how to achieve the results while you are away will show your boss that you care about your job.
Schedule a time to meet with your boss. It's not a good idea to just step into the boss's office and announce the news. She could be on an important phone call or preparing for a meeting. If your boss is distracted she may not react well to the news even if she is happy for you. A scheduled meeting with your boss will ensure that you will have your boss' full attention.
Be upbeat when you share the good news. Do not act guilty or apologise because you will be missing work. This is a happy time in your life and you do not have to be ashamed or guilty. With that in mind, it is still important to remain professional. Your supervisor will most likely have questions for you as to the length of time you will be gone and even if you are coming back. Make sure you are prepared to answer these questions.
Document your conversation with the boss in writing. Type up a letter to your boss detailing what you discussed and give a copy to your boss, keeping a copy for your records. Make sure you include any dates you discussed, such as an approximate date of leave and how long a leave you plan to take.