There is very little that is more stressful than having a baby. That being said one of those things that may be almost as stressful is finding/ starting a new job. Doing both at the same time can seem impossible. Pregnancy at work can be difficult, even for seasoned professionals. The reality is, no matter how awesome you are at your job, you’ll need time off work.
First off, don’t worry. We will go through what you need to disclose and what you do not need to share depending on how far along you are in the process. You got this Mama!
You aren’t required to disclose a pregnancy in a job interview. You’re not even required to tell your boss when you’re in a job, although eventually, you’ll want to bring it up. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a woman on the basis of pregnancy.
However, there are a couple components you will want to research/ ask about before settling in a job:
Make sure your new company has proper medical insurance. Your medical insurance options will be more important now than ever before, so as you’re evaluating potential employers, make sure they offer the coverage you need.
- Official Maternity Leave Policy
It is always easier if the company you are going to has an official maternity leave policy. In that way, HR can be supportive and your colleagues can have a timeframe/ idea of how long you will be out of office.
- Work Life Balance
With a little one on the way your life is about to drastically change. It is important for you to be honest with yourself and therefore find a job that will allow you to spend time with your new growing family. A telling sign if your company is family-friendly is if your future colleagues at your station have families and/or young children themselves.
Legally, you don’t have to tell your employer until you give notice for maternity leave in the 15th week before your baby is due, but it’s often better to do so earlier. Also, the sooner you tell them, the sooner you can get the benefits you’re entitled to, such as workplace assessments and time off for antenatal appointments.
Can they deny you leave? The answer to that is probably not. Companies are required to treat pregnancy as they would with any disability. So, if they would give someone who broke a leg time off for recovery, they have to give you time off when you have a baby.
It’s important to know that as a newly hired person you are not entitled to coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Among other things, this act guarantees eligible employees the right to retain their position after going on maternity leave.
The key word there is eligible: To be covered under FMLA, the company must be of a certain size and the employee must have worked there for at least 12 months. If you’re pregnant while interviewing, you are not covered under the FMLA. However, depending on what state you live in, you may be eligible for coverage under a state-level family leave policy.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that if you choose not to disclose your pregnancy to your employer it can manifest itself as a trust issue later on. Especially with a lot of meetings and working situations being remote at the moment, it is easy for the would- be normal observation of your boss and coworkers realizing you’re pregnant to be completely missed. If you don’t want to share the information right away, set aside a date/ time for you to tell your coworkers and boss that you are pregnant.
Stick to the schedule and more than anything do not apologize for being pregnant. It is not a problem and it is not something for you to be sorry for. Being pregnant is a gift and a miracle in the making!