The test is finally positive. You and your partner have waited weeks for this. It’s a mixed bag of emotions for you. A transformative journey is about to begin and you can finally start a family.
The road to pregnancy is challenging but extremely rewarding for any mum.
As they say, happiness only amplifies when you share it with others. And breaking this news to friends and family is indeed a special moment. But while your loved ones may be genuinely happy for you, does the same rule apply to your professional life?
In the competitive environment that corporate buildings tend to be, your colleagues and bosses may not welcome the news with the same enthusiasm.
We aren’t trying to deter you but the reality is that your maternity leave could mean another colleague’s promotion. It also means taking a sabbatical from work commitments for a brief period.
While this is necessary and non-negotiable for your wellbeing and recovery, it’s also important that you tackle this situation well.
If you already have a great rapport with your work colleagues, it’s always going to make things easy. But if that’s not the case, here’s how you can make this a far more cordial process that’s beneficial to you and your company.
Remember, the idea is to stay in control of the situation. It’s your pregnancy and your job, after all.
So don’t get too anxious about breaking the big news to your colleagues, here are five ways you can reveal your pregnancy in the office.
Pregnancy Announcement At Work: 5 Common Strategies
1. Keep it to yourself till you enter your second trimester
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Some of you may also want to wait a little longer. For instance, if you are expecting a raise or a promotion from your company.
While it’s illegal for an employer to judge your performance on the basis of your pregnancy, the sad reality is that these factors do play a role in some organisations.
Many women start getting discriminated at their workplaces the moment they share the news about their pregnancy.
On the other hand, you may also decide to share the news about your pregnancy earlier if you are suffering from awful morning sicknesses.
In this case, you might have to take frequent offs or you will be coming in late. So it’s best to inform your office that you are pregnant and then re-work your schedule to create a new work-life balance.
2. Tell your boss first
Before speaking to the HR of your company or anyone else, you should tell your boss first.
If you work in the same office, then you should physically meet your boss to inform him or her about your pregnancy, or else a phone call works.
When you are discussing this, make sure it is brief and to the point. For instance, “I am pregnant and I am due on December 30.”
Give your boss the assurance that you will complete your pending work/project before you go for your maternity leave.
Make it a very professional conversation and don’t sound apologetic. You shouldn’t be sorry for starting a family and planning to give birth.
Also, here’s one important thing to remember. Before sharing the news with your boss, don’t put it on social media.
In today’s age, we are connected with colleagues and friends from everywhere and it won’t look professional if your boss gets to know about your pregnancy first from some grapevine.
It’s just an unnecessary opportunity for your superior to create a prejudice even before hearing you out.
3. Inform HR & your team next
You need to speak to HR about your pregnancy. Be aware of the existing maternity leave policy. In fact, do your homework before you speak to HR.
It might be too early to commit an exact date on when you want to go on your maternity leave because you still haven’t got down to planning.
It’s perfectly okay because there is still a lot of time for it.
Your colleagues and clients should be the next ones in line to know about your pregnancy. However, there is no obligation that you need to go around the office telling everyone that you are pregnant.
Eventually, people will come to know.
4. Enquire about your maternity benefits
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Maternity leave (ML) is the time during which you get to take care of your health and also your baby. It allows a mum to rest more and also gives time to cope up with breastfeeding challenges and adjust her life around the newborn.
So, once you inform the office about your pregnancy, check with them about the maternity benefits available.
At the same time, make sure to know your rights. Check the employee manual and look into company policies regarding pregnancy rights and maternity leave.
You may also want to read up on the rights under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
For instance, as a working mum in Singapore, you will be entitled to either 16 weeks of government-paid maternity leave or 12 weeks of maternity leave. This depends on whether your child is a Singapore citizen or falls in other criteria.
If your office has a creche or a nursery, you would want to pay a visit and check out if it’s feasible for you to bring the baby there in the long run.
Remember, you need to give your employer at least one week’s notice before going on maternity leave and inform them at the earliest about your delivery.
In the case where you fail to do so, you are only entitled to half the payment during maternity leave, unless you can cite valid reasons for not giving the notice beforehand.
5. Take your decisions wisely
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Your office would like to know when you want to go on ML because even they will have to plan on how to get your work done in your absence.
Some of you may also have plans of not returning to work after your ML is over. But don’t take any decision in haste. You may change your decision after your baby is born.
Then finding a job with a newborn is extremely tough. So, always give your decision a proper thought.
If you have been stressing lately about making your pregnancy announcement at work, we hope, these tips can come in handy. Don’t overthink and unnecessarily complicate the situation.
Today most offices are quite understanding and they support a woman in their journey to motherhood. If you have some awesome colleagues, the challenge surely becomes a lot easier.
Yes, we understand that it may be a difficult conversation to have with your employer but it’s best to be direct and confident in your approach.
It’s not easy for mums to climb the corporate ladder. But don’t take undue stress at this moment.
You need to focus on your baby and remain stress-free. Managing office work and your pregnancy hormone is not an easy task. If there’s no one to pat your back, you do it yourself and say “I am doing fabulous work!”
We have great examples of working mums around the world and if your efficiencies as an employee are ever questioned, do not hesitate to drop a few names here and there.