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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Pregnancy

Just found your blog and have a question you can post ;)

So I took a job recently and was 6-7 weeks pregnant and didn't reveal it until 13 weeks.

I wonder how that is perceived in the industry from an HR perspective....


I wouldn't ever reveal a pregnancy to anyone other than my doctor and my husband until after 12 weeks. In fact, I waited to tell boss until I was 16 weeks and would have waited longer, but, well, you can't hide it forever.

But, that's not your question. You were newly pregnant when you took the job and didn't reveal it and you feel a little guilty.

Don't.

I don't know how all HR people feel, but I'll tell you this. It is illegal to discrminate against someone because of her pregnancy. Therefore, if they wouldn't hae hired you because of the pregnancy they would have been violating the law. Therefore, you do not have to feel any guilt, as they could not legally consider it anyway.

(This isn't to say that people don't actually consider it, they do. But, legally, they shouldn't.)

I look on pregnancy as a great thing, so congratulations! Keep in mind, though, that you won't be eligible for FMLA, as you won't have been an employee for a year before the baby is born.

For all you other women who are thinking about getting pregnant, I would caution you not to tell your boss until you are at least 12 weeks along. Miscarriage rates are high in the first trimester and you may not want the world to know. Now, if you have severe nausea or other problems you may have to say something, but otherwise, shhh until after week 12.

7 comments:

Melinda said...

Thank you for that! My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant, and I am also looking for work next year. I have been wondering what to tell an employer if pregnancy happened before I started etc!

Curious said...

About not telling until you're out of the first trimester... What if you do miscarry? What are you supposed to tell your supervisor at that point? I've not disclosed a pregnancy before only to miscarry and have to tell my supervisor, through heavy sobbing, hey, guess what I'm pregnant, but oh no I just started bleeding heavily and I have to leave work right now. Should you just say you can't work for a few days for "medical reasons" if you need time off to recover from a miscarriage?

I'm truly curious and would love it if you would answer this. Thanks!

Evil HR Lady said...

curious--a first trimester miscarriage would be treated as any other medical emergency. Most people are extremely understanding when this happens.

Yes, technically you could say, "I'm having a medical emergency and I have to go home now," and leave it at that. But, you probably would say what you said.

Once you announce word tends to spread. People you haven't talked to in 6 months come up to you and say, "I hear congratulations are in order!" If you start telling people as soon as you get that double line and then miscarry, for months after you've been through the pain and heartache, people will be coming up to you and congratulating you.

Most of us want to avoid that kind of painful reminder.

If you want to say you need time off for medical reasons, that's fine. If you want to tell the reason, that's fine as well. Your company may require a doctor's note for multiple days off. Generally, that is only shared with HR/benefits, not your manager. Your company may vary.

class-factotum said...

I have a moral problem with someone taking an new job while pregnant if she intends to quit once the baby is born. She is creating a hardship for her new employers -- they will have to replace her just as she is getting up to speed on the new job.

Course, I also think it should be legal not to hire someone because she is pregnant. If it were my company and my money, I would pick the older woman or the younger man over the about to be pregnant late-20's woman any day. I'm in business to make money, not to be replacing young moms who might quit.

Evil HR Lady said...

class-factotum,

I'm a free market capitalist at heart. This means, I agree with you. I think hiring laws are bad, I think FMLA is bad, I think gov't regulation that encourages employers to be the source of health insurance is bad. I also think the concept of Dependent Care reimbursement and Medical reimbursement accounts are ridiculous.

By having all these protections around child bearing, we actually increase the cost of hiring young women in their child bearing years. Costs go up! Number of people hired go down.

This could be many, many blog posts, though, so I'll be quiet.

Katherine said...

I just had someone who I am supposed to interview tomorrow call me and say she just found out she was pregnant, and ask about potential maternity leave! Yikes!

Thankfully, the only maternity leave we offer is FML, so I told her that, and that she wouldn't be eligible until she'd been employed with us for 12 months working at least 1250 hours.

She then withdrew her application, thankfully. She was only a mediocre candidate to begin with, and once you hear something like that (I'm planning to take 3-4 months off in 6 months!), it's hard to disregard.

Anonymous said...

another hr rep here again...i understand the business reason for wanting to plan around it, but really we don't expect to be able to plan around every other life changing event so i think pregnancy should be no different. if managers are getting themselves into a situation where they don't have good cross-training and contingency plans should anyone be out for an extended period of time, then that's just bad planning and lack of foresight.

on the otherhand, if an applicant has been interviewing and was explicitly told 'at this time, we need the new person to do x that we've been planning the whole year for' and the woman knows she would be out on maternity leave, then i do consider her ethics questionable, if she didn't make it known she might not be able to make that commitment, even if she's well-within her legal rights.