Pregnant woman rights at office workplace
Graphical representation of a pregnant woman at workplace. Image source:

Finding out that you are pregnant can be among the most exciting news in your life. A lot of women however wait till after the 1st trimester before telling their friends and family about it. However working women often wonder about when they are supposed to notify their bosses about the pregnancy and how they should do it.

So here are some tips that can help you:

Sharing the news of your pregnancy

There is no perfect moment to reveal your pregnancy at the workplace. It would depend on various factors including your comfort level, the kind of work you do, how pregnant you look, your work environment etc. However whenever you decide to reveal it, it is advisable to directly tell your employer and not other people at your workplace.

Legally speaking, you are not obligated to disclose information about your pregnancy at any point. But you may want to do it at the earliest possible since several legal protections are provided to pregnant women at work. Notifying your employer will help you in availing the benefits and advantages of your pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)

The PDA of 1978 is the federal law that protects workers from being discriminated against by their employers for being pregnant. Therefore you do not need to be worried about telling your employer about the pregnancy since the PDA covers all aspects of employment, from hiring and firing to pay, promotions, training and benefits (like leave and health insurance). Thus you cannot be discriminated against on any basis owing to your pregnancy.

Furthermore covers impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This essentially means that your employer is bound to provide and accommodate all your pregnancy related requirements. Additionally, planning for your announcement may help you make a better case to your employer for locking in the time off that you need (especially since maternity leave laws in the U.S. are lacking).

Finding the best time to announce

Before you announce your pregnancy do keep in mind certain circumstances like the risks of miscarriage, how you feel and how much you show, since if you’re undeniably showing then it would make more sense to announce your pregnancy at the earliest. You should also consider the kind of work you’re doing and how the work is going. For example if you work with chemicals, it would be advisable to not wait for long before announcing since this would help you change your duties or transfer of jobs. It is also a good idea to check how family friendly your work place is to avail maximum benefits out of whatever your company may offer.

Family Medical Leave Act

You might be entitled to avail leave from the work place after your pregnancy as well. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) requires employers to allow eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job protected leave for family or medical reasons each year. Pregnancy is a covered medical reason for FMLA leave. Under this act you are supposed to notify the employer at least 30 days in prior before taking the leave. However in cases of emergency you need to notify them as soon as you can.

The following criteria need to be fulfilled by you to avail FMLA leave:

  • Work for an employer with at least 50 employees within 75 miles
  • Worked for the employer for at least 12,50 hours over a 12 month period

Even though you are not obligated to tell your employer about the pregnancy, remember that to avail benefits under such statutes, you may have to make the announcement in advance.

In case you get discriminated against because of your pregnancy, it is advisable for you to consult with an experienced employment lawyer for help.

Originally posted 2017-08-17 01:10:46.


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