Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now that the initial excitement and adrenaline has worn off, you probably have a lot of questions.
Many mothers like to wait until after the first trimester to tell friends and family about a pregnancy. But, what about your employer? Do you have to notify your employer about your pregnancy, and when?
Sharing the Good News
As always, the answer to this question is complicated. Legally, you are under no obligation or deadline to tell your employer about your pregnancy. However, you may want to consider doing so as soon as possible. There are many legal protections and benefits for pregnant women at work, and the only way you can take advantage of those benefits is to notify your employer about your pregnancy.
Disability and Accommodations
Don't be afraid to tell your employer about your pregnancy. Under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against you based on your pregnancy. They cannot refuse to hire, fire, change your job assignments or pay, or make promotion or demotion decisions based on your pregnancy.
Also, the Americans with Disabilities Acts covers impairments resulting from pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. This means employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for your pregnancy related disability.
Family Medical Leave Act
In addition to accommodations, you may be entitled to leave during and after your pregnancy. 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.
To be eligible to take FMLA leave, you must:
Normally, you should notify your employer at least 30 days before you want to take FMLA leave. If leave is needed in an emergency and was unforeseeable then you have to notify the employer as soon as possible.
While there is no legal requirement on when you must tell your employer of your pregnancy, you should do so as soon as possible if you think you may need accommodations or at least 30 days ahead of time if you intend to take FMLA leave. If an employer discriminates against you because of your pregnancy or denies leave, consult with an experienced employment lawyer for help.