The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.
Furthermore, if a medical condition arises related to pregnancy that makes you unable to perform your job, you are required by federal law to be treated the same as any person with a temporary disability. Accommodations for pregnancy vary according to state laws. Be sure to review your state’s policies on pregnancy in the workplace. It’s also important to understand the pregnancy and maternity/parental leave policies specific to your employer, which should be detailed in your employee handbook or relevant employee documents.
Given the protections in place for people in the workplace who are pregnant, telling your employer is ultimately a matter of preference. When choosing to tell your employer, you may consider things like:
Waiting until after the first trimester – After 12 weeks, your chance of miscarriage drops significantly. Many people opt to wait until after this time to disclose their pregnancy to people outside of their immediate circles.
Your relationship with your boss – If you have a close personal relationship with your boss, you may feel comfortable sharing your news right away.
Your work environment’s impact on early pregnancy – If you work in an environment that could cause potentially harmful chemical exposures, you may want to disclose your pregnancy early to determine how you can reduce your risks.
Your early pregnancy symptoms – If your first trimester causes severe nausea or vomiting, you may want to disclose your pregnancy early so your boss and coworkers will be more understanding and compassionate when you need to bolt out of meetings/shifts and opt out of employee lunches or other obligations.
Time to prepare for maternity/parental leave – Many people share news of their pregnancy in their second trimester in order to provide plenty of time for employers to prepare for your upcoming absence.
Learn about coping with early pregnancy and how to plan for a healthy rest of your pregnancy in an early pregnancy class with Lamaze.