You’ve completed the job interview process and have settled into your new position within your company. Your relationship with your new employer is developing, but there’s one important issue you have yet to disclose--your pregnancy. This situation has been encountered by women employed across all professional levels. Although it can be an intimidating task, telling a new employer you’re pregnant doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario.
Research your rights. Read your handbook to discover your new employer’s policies and regulations regarding pregnancy disclosure and other special considerations. For example, some companies offer flextime for the completion of maternity appointments. The Family and Medical Leave Act may apply if your new employer has more than 50 employees. Remember that you’re not the only woman who has had to disclose her pregnancy to a new employer.
Anticipate the reaction. Keep your eyes open to gauge how pregnant employees are routinely treated in your new company. Talk to other women in your new company to get a full picture of their pregnancy disclosure experiences. Although you shouldn’t feel ashamed by your pregnancy, it’s important to prepare for less than enthusiastic reactions. Performance goals and project deadlines could make your superiors seem cold to your situation.
Contact the proper personnel or department. Make sure to follow the chain-of-command when dealing with a new employer. For example, some companies have Human Resources departments that should be notified of issues prior to disclosure to direct supervisors. Refer to your company’s policy book for guidance. Making contact with the appropriate individual will also cut down on workplace gossip and related confusion.
Ask for a private meeting. Choose a comfortable date that doesn’t conflict too much with your regular work schedule. Keep important deadlines and your pregnancy state in mind when selecting a date. For example, consider disclosing your pregnancy after you’ve completed your first trimester, since your risk of miscarriage will be much less. Schedule the meeting behind closed doors to ensure others aren’t privy to your personal information. Make a list of concerns and any tentative pregnancy plans.
Disclose only what you feel comfortable with. Inform your new employer that you’re pregnant with a mixture of happiness and professionalism. Although you don’t have to be stone-faced, avoid making promises as to when you’ll return to work, or about the amount of work you can complete while on maternity leave. While some pregnancy conditions such as extreme morning sickness should be addressed, it’s not necessary to present a copy of your ultrasound pictures to your new employer. Let your employer know your due date, so plans can be made to cover your work.
Tips & Warnings
- Consider contacting higher authorities if your new employer treats you differently after your pregnancy disclosure.
- Never feel ashamed of your pregnancy. Focus your energy into completing your work in an efficient manner.
- Photo Credit Photo by Jenny Rollo
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