I am about 22 weeks pregnant and it's getting to the point where it's hard to hide! I haven't told my boss or any coworkers yet.

I have a doctors note saying the due date etc.

I'm a bit of a wimp and my boss is a man so I hate these kinds of conversations.

Would it be rude if I just handed him the doctor's note or emailed him? What would you say?

  • 1
    How big is the team/company (how many of you)? how's your boss attitude on a day-by-day basis? rather nice/cool? pretty rough?
    – OldPadawan
    May 28, 2018 at 16:10
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    The company is small about 50 employees and there are 12 people on my floor but I only closely work with a few of them. I've had some arguments with my boss and there have been times where he's been moody but overall he's usually nice. May 28, 2018 at 16:11
  • Do you have regular one-on-one meetings with your boss?
    – user2159
    May 31, 2018 at 8:29

3 Answers 3


Assuming you're planning on taking a maternity leave and then coming back to work, that is the only thing you need to tell your boss. Bosses like to plan workload and know if people are going to be away. It's not that you're sharing your personal good news with them.

So, send them an email asking for a 15 minute meeting. Before the meeting (Before asking for it if there's a good chance the boss will see you immediately):

  • find out what (if any) protected maternity leave you are entitled to
  • decide how long a leave you plan to take. Where I live, 4 months is the minimum and a lot of people take a year. But even if you plan to take 2 weeks, make your decision for now.
  • find out about daycare options near your employer or home, and get on a waiting list if the length of your remaining pregnancy and planned leave total the same or less as the current waiting list length.
  • if you do not intend to return to this job, there may be benefits (such as continued insurance coverage) to being on leave rather than resigning immediately. Understand all of that before communicating any decisions to your boss.

Then at the meeting you say:

I need to let you know that I have great personal news! I'm expecting my first child and plan to take maternity leave probably at the end of September or early October. I am planning a leave of x weeks, so I expect to return roughly the nth week of y. I have daycare arrangements in place already.

A good boss will thank you and record the dates you said.

If you are asked things like "when is your due date?" you do not need to answer. You can say something like "I believe I will start the leave at the end of September. If it becomes necessary to stop working sooner I will let you know. At the moment everything is going great." If you are asked about reduced duties, or told "oh, guess I should cancel that training for you in August" give a BIG smile and assure your boss that everything is going great and there's no need to make any changes or adjustments. If you get any kind of anger, pushback, how-can-you-do-this-to-me or why-didn't-you-tell-me-sooner again a BIG smile and "this is great news for me, I'm happy to share it with you now." If you liked this boss I might have suggested "now that I'm past the dangerous part" or something more personal, but there's no need for it.

Some bosses may ask you if you're ready to announce to the whole group and help you to do so (such as mentioning your projected leave date at a planning meeting in the near future) -- if you feel shy about telling everyone, consider before the meeting whether you want this sort of help from your boss.

Keep two thoughts upmost in your head all the time:

  • I am telling my boss about my planned leave so that my boss can do longterm planning for the business
  • I don't care if my boss is happy that I am having a baby. I don't need approval from my boss, my news is good no matter what anyone else thinks of it.

Congratulations and enjoy the next 20 years. It's quite a ride!

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    "If you are asked things like "when is your due date?" you do not need to answer." I agree that there should be no obligation to answer, and if the pregnant woman does not want to, she should not. But is there a 'tactical' reason not to tell this information to your boss?
    – user9975
    May 29, 2018 at 6:00
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    @Pakk some people ask questions to set up for something less pleasant. How long have you known? --> you could have told me earlier. When are you due? --> you can work longer / you can't work that long. Are you throwing up / tired / gaining weight? --> I will change your duties. None of these prying questions need to be answered. Our medical privacy is still a thing. May 29, 2018 at 11:55
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    @KateGregory This has the added benefit of not giving them ammunition to unfairly dismiss you based on other grounds "unrelated" to the pregnancy.
    – Magisch
    May 29, 2018 at 12:00
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    Great answer. The only thing I might suggest adding is a discussion about announcing the news more widely (so the boss doesn't accidentally steal the OP's thunder or otherwise share before she's ready, and alternatively so he can help spread the word if she's shy of doing so herself).
    – 1006a
    May 29, 2018 at 14:47
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    Some people work until they are in labour. Others stop as much as a month before they are due. "When will your leave start?" is a legitimate question. "Give me a piece of personal medical information" is not - even if the two are related and can be deduced from each other. It's important to answer the legit question (rewording when you answer, so not "my due date is" but "I expect my leave to start") to clearly communicate that "you don't get to demand personal details from me like that." May 30, 2018 at 15:30

As this is Ireland please familiarize yourself with Irish law on your entitlement to maternity leave.

This is a good link : Citizen's Information on Maternity Leave

Note the conditions on giving notice :

Do not delay doing this.

Notice: You must give your employer at least 4 weeks' written notice of your intention to take maternity leave and you must also provide your employer with a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy. If you intend to take the additional 16 weeks’ maternity leave you must provide your employer with at least 4 weeks' written notice. Both these notices can be given at the same time.

So just set up a simple meeting giving your boss a quick head-ups and send an email giving formal notice of what (maternity) leave you intend to take.

Note that your entitlement to maternity leave is (almost) absolute as long as you follow the rules, so your employer cannot argue with you. He may or may not ask you to modify your intended arrangements, but as I understand it (IANAL) you don't need to accept his wishes, so you are in a position of strength here and should have no worries.

As an employer he should be perfectly reasonable (if surprised) at this and not give you any trouble. I think a quick casual conversation (knock on his door and give that's quick heads-up with a rough plan) will deal with the initial news breaking. Then just follow up in writing and/or email for formal legal reasons with solid dates.

And beyond that good luck.

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    @DmitryGrigoryev I give practical advice not artificially limited by narrow-minded interpretations of "IPS" Q&A. If you don't understand why a legal deadline is important in this case I'd suggest you should refrain from advising people on real world problems. This extremely narrow minded view of IPS that you and some others have would, if applied, lead to incomplete and practically useless answers that ignore real world issues that would make matters more difficult for people needing advice if those matters were ignored. May 30, 2018 at 8:25
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    @DmitryGrigoryev IPS answers which ignore the real world are utterly useless. People making them are wasting everyone's time. May 30, 2018 at 9:00
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    I'm not saying that giving practical advice is not OK. I'm saying that answers on this site must address the IPS part as well. In your answer, the IPS part is a single sentence suggesting to set up a meeting with no explanation of why it is necessary. May 30, 2018 at 9:06
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    @DmitryGrigoryev Because it makes a big difference to the nature of the interaction. In countries with good maternity legislation, the required and expected behaviour is very different from countries without. The law also frequently puts specific limits on what the employer can and can't ask and respond with. Proper interpersonal behaviour is culturally dependent. May 30, 2018 at 9:07
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    I have to say, I agree with @DmitryGrigoryev somewhat. This answer is about the legal and procedural aspects of maternity in the workplace. It doesn't focus on the best way to finesse the situation with the Boss. While good advice, If the OP wanted Legal or HR advice there are other sites for that. What is the polite way to inform said Boss and keep them "on-side" (no assumptions about illegal and inappropriate response?) I suspect the pregnancy is not as secret as the OP thinks and early disclosure is best, purely from an IPS perspective but, that is not what you say.
    – Jodrell
    May 30, 2018 at 15:13

Would it be rude if I just handed him the doctor's note or emailed him?

As an employee, I've done similar things only to bosses (once, small company, 2 partners) who I couldn't deal with anymore (because of their really bad attitudes), and did it just before I quit (as all but one in a team of seven did too). We all did it on purpose, with no explanation, but we were fed up, and yes, we wanted to be rude. We handed our notice without a word, and didn't answer any questions. We were out, period.

So I'd definitely recommend not to do that. It would indeed be rude.

Now, as a business owner, I'd appreciate if you would tell me as soon as possible. Just be nice. :)

You: Hi boss, I have something to tell you.

Me: Hi Alice. How can I help?

You: I'm 22 weeks pregnant.

Me: Congratulations!

From there, let's talk about you for a few minutes (be nice and "pleasantries" on both sides), then switch back to business, so that I can deal with the upcoming events and organize my schedules, team, check with you what you'll need, when and how you'll leave, and so on.

You don't have to be scared, unless your boss is really mean and a [ you name it ]. Be nice and professional, let him know, that's it. But it should be a 1-on-1 meeting. Not by mail or just handing them a doctor's note.

  • 1
    I have never dealt with pregnancy, but I'd point out Kate Gregory's comment on her post regarding not saying when you're due/how long you've been pregnant. some people ask questions to set up for something less pleasant. How long have you known? --> you could have told me earlier. When are you due? --> you can work longer / you can't work that long. Are you throwing up / tired / gaining weight? --> I will change your duties Curious what you think about that. May 29, 2018 at 16:44
  • @AzorAhai : I'm definitely not this kind of person, so I wouldn't use any information against the pregnant lady. BUT I'm pretty sure many would do it like suggested by Kate. Unfortunately:/
    – OldPadawan
    May 29, 2018 at 17:59

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