When it comes to the question of how to tell people at work you are pregnant, there are absolutely correct and incorrect methods to go with. Continue reading to learn the basics about the correct methods to use.
When and How to Tell People at Work You are Pregnant
It's perfectly understandable to be excited when you learn you're expecting. However, jumping the gun and sharing your good news freely at work may be more detrimental than not. The best thing to do is get all your eggs in one basket and proceed with a well-thought out plan.
Whom to Tell First
The very first person to know that you're pregnant at work should be your direct superior. Reasons that your boss hear it from you first rather than a nosy co-worker include:
- Respect: Whether you like your boss on a personal level or not, all workplaces have a basic hierarchy protocol. When a problem, announcement, resignation, or other work event occurs, it's considered respectful to go to your direct superior first and then move up the ladder to your boss' boss and then perhaps human resources. You never start off a chain of events by telling a co-worker or your boss' boss first. It's simply not considered kosher in the business world.
- Details: Only you clearly understand your pregnancy and post-pregnancy workplace plans. Co-workers can get details wrong, spin wild tales about you leaving forever, or say you are demanding six months maternity leave. When your boss hears the news from a co-worker, she may receive incorrect details about the situation.
- Fewer surprises: Before telling your boss, you should consider what his or her concerns about the pregnancy may be. If someone blows your cover and you haven't completed this step, then you could be in trouble. The last thing you need is your boss surprising you by saying "Guess what I just heard."
Timing is Everything
Now you know to tell your boss first. However, along the lines of how to tell people at work you are pregnant, there are other people you should contact before making an appointment with your boss. These people include:
- Your human resource department: You do not need to tell them that you're pregnant, but you do need to make sure that you understand your maternity leave rights, health insurance coverage, maternity disability insurance, and basic rights as an employee before telling the boss.
- Your pregnancy care provider: Your midwife or doctor may have ideas about how long your leave will be based on your health.
- Your partner and yourself: You'll want to make sure that the both of you have thought long and hard about your leave options as well as your intentions about returning to work. Although many women change their minds about maternity leave and work plans after giving birth, you should format a basic initial plan with your partner that includes a discussion about your finances and resources.
After talking to the people in the list above, make an appointment to talk with your boss about your pregnancy. The following is a basic checklist to help you manage this conversation.
- Time your meeting correctly. Wait until after your yearly review if possible, but don't wait until it's obvious that you are pregnant. It's also smart to plan the meeting to coincide with something positive you've done for the company. This positive event could be snagging a major client, completing an important project, or other nice deal. This ensures that all your boss is focused on you being a great employee.
- Make yourself a checklist to take along that covers things like your views on maternity leave, who will cover your clients and responsibilities. You may think it's all in your head but once you're at the meeting you may forget a point.
- Plan for the unexpected. Do you have a plan in place in case your boss flips out? Many employers are supportive of pregnant employees, but there's always a chance yours won't be.
- Know when to cancel the talk. If your boss is in a poor mood, go ahead and reschedule. There's no reason to have a meeting of this importance when you both aren't in tip-top emotional shape.
Sharing Your News with Clients and Co-Workers
After your boss knows, it's fine to share your news with clients and co-workers. There aren't any hard and fast rules about telling clients or co-workers the big news, but here are a few helpful points:
- If you have a partner at work who you often work with, it might be nice to tell them first.
- Plan on breaking the news in a short time frame. For instance, tell all your co-workers on the same day. Telling a few scattered employees may contribute to a rumor mill. The same goes for clients. As soon as other people know, there's a chance that someone other than you may break the news. If you want to be the one to tell your clients that you're pregnant, than consider making sure everyone finds out from you within a span of a few days.
- If one particular co-worker will be taking over your clients, you may want to bring the individual along when you tell them about your pregnancy so everyone gets a chance to meet.
- When you do tell your clients, make sure to discuss with them how their needs will be sufficiently covered when you are on maternity leave.
If you want to learn more about how to tell people at work you are pregnant, take a look at these helpful resources:
- Everything you need to know about the Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Maternity Leave Laws
- National Advocates for Pregnant Women: offers support related to your rights at work.
- Performance Review While on Maternity Leave
- Find a great parent forum like SheKnows where you can ask other women questions and share stories or concerns.