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The Impact of Telling My Boss I Was Pregnant: A Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Working Boss Rights Pregnancy Company

For some female employees, it can be hard to tell your employer that you are pregnant because you appreciate the impact your pregnancy and Maternity Leave may have on the business.

Although all employed pregnant women, no matter how long they’ve worked for a company, are entitled to basic working rights including at least 39 weeks Statutory Maternity Leave, paid time off for antenatal care and no unfair treatment due to their pregnancy, that does not mean that it is always easy for companies to accommodate this.

First-hand Experience

The experience of Maggie Peters highlights how working rights are one thing, but in practice, however much the employer may be trying to do the right thing, it may not always go to plan.

Maggie, 30, worked for a small local company that specialised in completing work permit applications. As the only employee of the company, Maggie worked alongside the owner of the company on a day-to-day basis. Maggie had worked for the company for two years before becoming pregnant and in that time had helped to make the business considerably more successful. After her 12-week scan had confirmed the pregnancy was going well, she decided to let her employer know.

Telling the Boss

Maggie explained, “I was due to have a meeting with my boss about an upcoming trade fair that we were due to attend, so I asked if I could speak to him about another matter at the end of the meeting. I told him that I was three months pregnant and asked for us to have a follow up meeting about my maternity leave. Although he said congratulations, I could tell that it was a shock.”

Maggie had researched her working rights to maternity leave, including a risk assessment of her role, and wanted to ensure she was treated fairly, but she was also keen to not leave her employer in a difficult financial situation.

She continued, “As the only employee in a very small company, I knew that paying for my maternity leave and paying for a temporary member of staff would be crippling for the boss. I felt very concerned that I wasn’t going to cost the company too much, resulting in it having to close and me not having a job to return to after my maternity leave. But I was also determined to get what I was entitled to, which were two very conflicting emotions. It’s not as though I was working for a big company that could easily absorb my maternity rights, and I had enjoyed the benefits of working for a small company, such as a rapid career development.”

Mutually Beneficial Arrangement

Maggie decided to be very honest with her employer in the hope that they could come to a mutually beneficial arrangement that gave her working rights to maternity leave but did not cause unnecessary problems for the company.

“We decided that I would train a person to deal with my work on a part-time basis and that the company would not attend trade shows during my maternity leave. I also offered to be available for email and telephone advice. This meant that the company was able to take on a less qualified temp for my maternity leave, which did not cost as much, and also that the business would still be strong for my return to work after 39 weeks maternity leave," she explained."I’m pleased that we were both honest, as it meant that I could enjoy my maternity leave knowing my job was safe and the boss knew that it would not cost a fortune.”

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