You're bursting with the big news—you're expecting! But at what point should you clue your boss in, and how do you approach the subject?
There's no hard rule, but most women wait to tell their boss they're pregnant until the end of the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage goes way down. However, you may want to do it sooner—or later—depending on your relationship with your boss, the nature of your job, how you're feeling and when you start to show.
If you enjoy a close relationship with your boss and are eager to share your news, go for it! Another perk to making the announcement earlier: If you're dealing with some seriously uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms ( morning sickness isn't polite enough to only happen in the mornings), or if your job involves conditions that aren't pregnancy-safe, your boss can make some accomodations. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, if you're temporarily unable to perform your duties, the company should modify your responsibilities and assignments or provide disability leave.
Then again, if you're worried your boss won't be thrilled to learn of your pregnancy, you could hold off on telling him or her...for a little while, at least. That'll give you more time to prove to everyone that when it comes to your work, you totally got this. But it's a good idea to break the news before your growing belly gives you away.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you're gearing up for the conversation:
• Know your rights. Dust off your employee manual and look into company policies regarding pregnancy rights and maternity leave. You'll also want to read up on your rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
• Bide your time. Try to break the news after you’ve completed an assignment or enjoyed a major work win. This sends the message that your condition hasn’t impacted your productivity so far, and that you have every intention of doing your job (and doing it well) for the remainder of your pregnancy.
• Tell your boss first. When you're ready to break the news, fill your boss in first before turning to colleagues. Better to break the news yourself than let someone else do it for you. And that doesn't just mean avoiding the water cooler for a bit—if you're connected with your coworkers or boss on social media, you might want to have the meeting before posting the big announcement. And yes, plan to have a sit-down, in-person meeting so you have your boss's full attention.
• Plan ahead. Assure your boss you'll be putting together a plan for how your duties will be covered during your leave, or have the beginnings of one already prepared. Your boss is much more likely to greet the news with enthusiasm if he or she knows you’ve got the situation covered.