Announcing my pregnancy to my boss was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever had to do. Much like handing in my notice in my previous job, I put it off for weeks as I had no idea how the people in question would react.
At around 17 weeks pregnant, I decided that it was about time I bit the bullet and told my boss. I didn't want to string it out, I didn't want the news to somehow makes it way to work from a close friend or family member, and I - in all honesty - didn't know how much longer I'd be able to keep my growing bump a secret for.
Prior to announcing my news, I scoured the internet for weeks in advance, looking for advice and tips, checking out my rights, researching maternity pay, etc, and I found this so helpful - as well as putting my mind at ease, I also felt much more informed.
I've compiled a list, from my experience, of things to consider when you're preparing to tell your workplace that you're expecting.
Things To Consider:
- It's important to tell your boss that you're pregnant before you tell all your friends and acquaintances, especially if you work for a small company or somewhere close to home, as it would be awful and look very unprofessional on your part if your boss heard your news from someone other than yourself.
- Legally, you must tell your employer no later than 15 weeks before your baby is due. It's worth taking into account the fact that your employer may have to find suitable cover for you, etc, so try to consider that when choosing when to tell them as they may appreciate being given more notice but don't let anyone push you into telling them before you feel you want to.
- Think about what you want to do after the baby is born. Although you don't have to give a definite answer when you go on your maternity leave, and even if you do - you can change your mind, it's worth thinking about whether you plan to return to work after your baby is born and, if so, when as your boss may be keen to get an idea of how long you're planning to stay away for. If you're entitled to maternity pay from work, chances are you can take up to 12 months maternity leave, although this can vary in each individual case.
- Do it professionally. Tell your boss or supervisor before your tell your work colleagues, make an appointment to speak to the person you're going to tell first in private, don't send an email or tell them the news over the phone - unless that is the only way of contacting your boss. I asked my boss a couple of days in advance if I could meet with her briefly on said day but didn't tell her what it was about. When that day came we went to her office, privately, and I told her my news and intentions.
- If you have a physical or stressful job, it may be worth telling your boss sooner. If you know that a lot of changes will need to be made in your workplace and for your job role, then speak up. You don't want to be adding any unnecessary risk or stress to a period that is hard enough already.
- Know your rights. I did a lot of research before I told my boss, so I knew that I couldn't be dismissed but I also knew that I wasn't eligible for maternity pay as I hadn't been employed there for long enough, and I felt pretty clued up and confident discussing my maternity leave with my boss. You shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable in anyway by your colleagues and your employer should take any necessary measures to ensure your risk of harm is minimised whilst you're at work too, so if there's anything that you think will become a struggle as your pregnancy progresses - tell your boss.
- Do you want to tell your colleagues the news yourself? If so, make sure that your boss knows this. My boss said that she wouldn't tell anyone and that she'd leave it up to me to tell people when I was ready, and I really appreciated this. It meant that I could tell people in my own time and, also, prioritise who I told first.
Have you ever had to tell your workplace you're leaving to have a baby?
If so, do you have any advice for my readers?
After writing this blog post (whilst looking for an image to use for the post), I found this really interesting article from The Telegraph about breaking the news to your employer. I haven't taken any of my advice from the article, but it has some brilliant points and is worth a read.