Announcing your pregnancy to family and friends can be filled with excitement and joy, but quite often, it might not be the same when you have to reveal it at your workplace, to co-workers, and to your boss. Know when to announce pregnancy at work.
But as they say, pregnancy is the one thing you cannot hide. You'll start showing some day or the other, so eventually your boss and colleagues will come to know that you are pregnant. However, it is your decision when to tell them. How the news of your pregnancy will be received depends on the culture of the workplace and the relationship you have with your peers and your supervisors. Though you might not have control over what effect it will have on them, you can at least time the announcement so that the "shock" is minimized!
But there are certain situations where you must not delay announcing your pregnancy.
1. If your job involves working with toxic substances, or being exposed to chemicals and radiation, you simply must not delay announcing your pregnancy. Tell your boss and co-workers immediately, so that suitable arrangements can be made for you to work on something else or in some other capacity until the baby is born.
2. Similarly, if your job is highly stressful, and involves a lot of physical and mental strain, it might not be advisable to continue in the same vein during your pregnancy. Depending on how you can handle it, you might want to tell your boss right away and get involved in something else that doesn't affect your health adversely.
3. If you have complications with your pregnancy that necessitates rest and taking a break, it is better you let them know right away.
If you are not compelled by any of the above circumstances to tell your workplace early, then you can, and must choose the time to tell them.
You could tell after the first trimester, especially if you have told other people, and if there is a chance of the news leaking to your boss. The advantage of announcing early is that you can plan your work for the next few months, factoring in the break you will need for the delivery. But don't feel compelled to give out the news early. You must decide when the time is right. You could tell them between weeks 14 to 20, when you definitely start showing, and cannot explain away that unmistakable baby bump. At this time, you can also show that half of your pregnancy is already completed, and you have been working pretty well through it!
The other things you could do are:
1. Choose a Friday, when the boss is in a relaxed mood. Or choose a period after lunch, or before going home – or when there is a light workload – a time when the boss is not stressed.
2. Tell close friends at work first, so that they can suggest ways to break the news to the boss. But tell the boss soon after you tell your friends, so that the news is not inadvertently leaked.
3. Tell your boss after a major event is over, or after a project you've been working on has reached a milestone.
4. If there is an impending salary hike or promotion, wait until it is over, so that news of your pregnancy doesn't affect the management's decision about you.
When you tell, be positive, and business-like – don't be apologetic. Avoid discussing maternity leave right away.
What you should know about laws and regulations at the workplace.
1. Talk to the HR about your options, rights, maternity leave, unpaid leave, etc. They would have had experience counseling other female employees, and won't be personally affected by your impending absence. So they are the best people to advise you.
2. The HR can also advise you on the health and safety requirements of the company, and help you negotiate changes in your work environment based on that.
3. Remember that according to the general work laws, you can't be fired because you are pregnant, as long as you are able to work properly.
4. You cannot be discriminated against in any way because you are pregnant. People cannot refuse to assign you work, or they cannot exclude you from projects. There might be instances where this could happen subtly where colleagues / boss might give you excuses. You might want to be prepared for it.
5. You cannot be forced to take leave if you are fulfilling your work obligations correctly.
6. Make sure you are well-acquainted with the company policies, so that you are aware of any kind of discrimination against you. Take the help of a sympathetic supervisor if necessary, even if you don't directly report to her.
Though there are cases of pregnant women being given the cold shoulder at work, not every employer is like that. So don't worry. Make the announcement with your head held high, and you can tackle anything that comes your way!
Also read more about: When do I announce that I'm pregnant?