You must tell your employer that you are pregnant by the 15th week before your due date. If you would like to tell your employer earlier than this, you certainly can. This can be a daunting prospect for some expectant mothers and therefore as an employer, you must be supportive and considerate of your employee’s news. If your employer does not treat you fairly or changes their behaviour towards you now that you are pregnant, this is a sign of maternity discrimination and unfair treatment. Therefore, knowing how to tell your employer about your pregnancy will help you to feel at ease.
How to tell your employer that you are pregnant
Telling your employer that you are pregnant can raise a range of natural worries: Will my employer treat me differently now that I am pregnant? How will this affect my career after I have given birth? How will my colleagues respond to the news of my pregnancy? Most expectant mothers experience these types of worries. However, your employer and colleagues should be as supportive as possible, to ensure that you are comfortable and safe during your pregnancy in the workplace.
Telling your employer that you are pregnant will help to ensure that there is no confusion and that your health and safety is a priority in the workplace.
Firstly, in the UK you don’t have to tell your employer that you are pregnant until the 15th week before your due date. If you would like to tell your employer earlier than this, then you are free to do so. Secondly, provide the notification of your pregnancy in writing to you employer. Then, your employer should organise a meeting to discuss the following factors:
- Health and safety factors associated with your pregnancy in the workplace.
- Your intended date to begin your maternity leave, as the earliest date you can start your maternity leave is 11 weeks before your due date.
- If you want to receive your statutory maternity pay.
- Any facilities you require.
Finally, your employer should carry out a risk assessment to ensure you are safe to work whilst pregnant.
If your employer reacts unfavourably to your pregnancy or is not as supportive as you would expect, they could be breaching their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act 2010 states that new mothers should not be discriminated against or be subject to unfair treatment. Therefore, if your employer is treating you unfairly due to your pregnancy, it is important to seek advice regarding this.
Unusual behaviour to look out for:
- Your employer reduces your hours without a logical and agreed reason.
- Your employer begins to disregard you and treat you unfairly.
- Your employer does not acknowledge your pregnancy related sickness or is rude to you regarding your time off because of this.
- Your employer does not acknowledge your rights regarding maternity leave or maternity pay.
In September 2016, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s research has recorded that around 390,000 working mums a year report experiences of discrimination at work due to their pregnancy. Many women are made redundant, bullied, treated unfairly or fired by their employer due to their pregnancy. Pregnant Then Screwed, a pressure group which actively campaigns to end maternity discrimination, is part of a drive in the UK to end unfair treatment of new and expectant mothers in the workplace.
Your pregnancy should be enjoyable and as comfortable as possible. Therefore, knowing how to tell your employer that you are pregnant properly and your rights regarding pregnancy is of the utmost importance.