How to Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant

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I was six weeks pregnant — a pregnancy that was not planned. My doctor confirmed the pregnancy a week earlier. Now it was time to tell my boss.

How to tell your boss you are pregnant

This is a guest blog post from contributing author Sarah Huang. Make sure to visit Sarah online!

I was working full time in a management-level position and decided that the best course of action would be to contact my CEO directly to let him know. I chose to meet him outside of the workplace, at my local Dean & Deluca, hoping that the casual location would make for an easier conversation. In the entire 10 year history of the company, I was going to be the first female employee to request maternity leave! Don’t get me wrong, It’s not that no one in our company has children or has had babies, but most women I know had simply quit their full time job and either continued working part time or stopped altogether.

Viewing my situation as a liability, I nervously began the conversation with something like, “I’m so sorry this has happened, I didn’t mean to . . .” but then I realized that my biggest mistake was putting work first and family second. I remembered that in Thailand there are laws in place to protect the rights of mothers-to-be. Women who are employed full time have the right to claim up to 90 days maternity leave. 45 of those days are paid and an additional 45 days of unpaid leave can be taken as long as advanced notice is submitted. The employee can also temporarily hand over duties that are deemed unsafe or may cause harm to the baby. For example, my job consisted of many stressful duties managing finances, funds, clients and employees. If you are worried that some of your job responsibilities may be stressful enough to affect your unborn child you are allowed by law to request additional help or be relieved from those responsibilities. Everything is negotiable.

Whether or not you are confident that your boss will take the news professionally, your best course of action is to address the issue early and with a well thought out plan. Here are some suggestions for getting through this difficult time:

Understand the laws and your rights. If you don’t, it makes it much more difficult to approach your boss with a plan that will benefit both you and the company.

Be specific with the dates you are requesting for maternity leave. It can be hard to pinpoint a precise date of your birth, so try to give a range beginning approximately two weeks prior to your target due date.

Reassure your boss and co-workers that although things will be changing, for now you are still able to be effective at the office. Let them know that there may be some changes in your hours, or that you may be doing some work from home.

Outline and prioritize all of your current tasks. You can reassure your co-workers by clearly indicating which tasks are your sole responsibility, and which tasks are only partly dependent upon you to complete. Your co-workers and boss can see the big picture, and even improve certain processes. For example, one of my duties was to sign documents and checks. I created a forecast for the next year ahead of time, including my planned needs for additional human resources. And I developed documentation and video tutorials so that whoever took over these duties during my leave would be well prepared.

Your workplace will require you to provide an organized handover ahead of time. Starting this early rather than procrastinating is a great idea.

If you think that you may have to work remotely or part time try to clearly define the hours that would work best for you. In most cases employers are quite flexible. Thai laws are strict on codes of conduct and similar to labour laws within Australia, the UK and the US, and most employers tend to know what they can and can’t do. In Thailand an employer cannot refuse your request to work part time or force you into working full time if you are physically unable to do so, so don’t pressure yourself.

If you experience conflict and are not able to negotiate with your employer, I would suggest that you ask for representation within your Human resources department and call for a joint discussion. Above all, keep calm and stick to your plan.

The fact that my pregnancy was unplanned added to the stress of having to tell my employer. It was much later that I realized how beautiful my “mistake” had been. If I had embraced my own situation earlier, it would have made the process of telling my boss that much easier. I wish I would have been calm, collected and professional when I informed my boss, but when you’re life is going to change and your hormones are raging it’s hard to know the perfect approach.

Sarah Huang
Sarah is a full time mommy and entrepreneur backed by a Ardent Capital, she has experience in building and managing technology teams in S.E Asia and India. At her previous job as General Manager for Exa, She managed the complete setup of an offshore center for development and design in Thailand. She also obtained investment promotions and reform policies for government compliance and successfully launched over 400+ IT development projects for the company. She is currently studying for her MBA from RMIT University and had done several courses at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. To Contact Sarah Huang: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sarahhuang

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