If you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant, you are most probably over the moon. Whether it’s your first child or your third, the chances are that you couldn’t be happier with the news that your little family is about to expand. What could be more exciting that adding another little one to your brood?
Of course, while you are happy about your news, you may also be feeling a little anxious about what the impact will be on your career. Perhaps this is your first baby, and you don’t know what to expect, or maybe you are in a fairly new role, and so are unsure about how your boss will react to the news? Perhaps you’re worried having a baby will ruin your chances of moving up the corporate ladder? Maybe you can’t afford to lose your job?
Whatever the reason for your concern about your career and the impact that pregnancy will have on it, try not to worry. There are plenty of laws that are in place to ensure that when it comes to pregnancy us mamas get a fair deal, so there’s no need to stress. We’re incredibly lucky that we live in a country that offers adequate help and support to pregnant women, as there are millions of women across the world who aren’t as fortunate.
To get to grips with how pregnancy can affect your career, have a read of the below tips and advice.
You need to tell your employer that you’re pregnant
Your employer has a responsibility to support you through your pregnancy, so don’t worry, there’s no need to panic about what the future holds. The most important thing is that you are open and honest about the fact that you’re pregnant so that your boss is aware of the situation. If you don’t tell them, you can’t expect them to support you, can you? So make sure to tell them as soon as you announce your pregnancy to friends and family – this normally tends to be at around week 12 of your pregnancy.
When you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, ask them what the next steps are. Most employers will have a manual or leaflet that explains what happens when an employee is pregnant and what you are entitled to. It’s important to get to grips with this so that you know what to expect. Of course, in terms of what happens when an employee is pregnant, this will depend on what line of work you’re in. If you work in an office environment, the chances are nothing will really change. However, say you work in a hands-on role that requires heavy lifting, then the chances are you will be given a desk-based role for during your pregnancy.
You’ll be entitled to maternity leave
The good news is that when it comes to pregnancy and maternity leave; every woman is entitled to 39 weeks maternity leave, complete with statutory maternity pay. That means that not only will you be able to take just over nine months off of work, but you will also get paid for it. That being said, it’s still important to sit down with your employer and discuss the terms of your maternity leave, such as when you can take it from and whether you will need to keep up to date with any work matters while you are away.
Don’t be afraid to ask any questions about what being on maternity leave will entail, as it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what to expect. You may be concerned that when you return to work, you will be placed in a lower position. However, there’s no need to worry as it’s against the law for your employer to demote you due to being on maternity pay. If you’re off of work for under six months, no changes can be made to your role. However, if you’re off for over six months, you can be swapped into a different role, just as long as it’s of the same seniority level or higher.
You don’t have to return to work
While some women are dying to get back to work, others of us would prefer to stay at home and look after our little ones. If you decide that you would rather be a stay at home mum for a while rather than return to work, that’s fine. You can’t get in trouble with your employer for choosing to leave your job, so don’t worry. Just make sure that you give them at least two months notice that you won’t be returning to your previous role. It’s important to understand by not returning to work, you will no longer have a contract at your old place of work and won’t be able to return to your role.
A lot of mums choose to look into alternative ways of working, such as working from home, so that they can earn and take care of their little ones at the same time. If you’ve always dreamed of starting your own small business, then perhaps now could be the perfect time to do so. It might take time to build up a business, but if it will give you the opportunity to take care of your kids and earn at the same time, it could be worth doing, especially if you don’t enjoy your job anyway or fancy making a lifestyle change.
There’s a common misconception that pregnancy can have a negative impact on your career. However, that’s very rarely the case, as there are laws in place to ensure that pregnant women are treated fairly by their employers. Many women use pregnancy as the driving force behind achieving their dream of starting a business of their own and being their own boss. The fact is that pregnancy isn’t a problem when it comes to your career because there’s a good support system in place in the UK. However, not all women are as lucky, and it’s important to remember that and take advantage of the support that’s on offer to you.