Advice corner: what is the best time to break the news of my pregnancy when I have not long joined my present employer?

Dear Ash,

I moved to a better job about five months ago and the work and people here are really good. The only thing is, I am concerned that this will all change as I have just discovered that I am pregnant. I am pleased about the pregnancy but feel guilty about revealing this to my new manager. The department is quite male-dominated and given that I have only recently started working for the company, I don’t think the news will go down well. I’m not sure whether to wait a little longer before telling my manager?

ASH replies:

Firstly, congratulations! I am sure you will not be the first nor the last to have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy. You probably need time to get your own head around it before dealing with the reaction of others so do take a little time to digest the news.

I would also encourage you, if you have not already done so, to go to the doctor, first to make sure there is no false alarm, and also to obtain a MATB certificate which is required by any employer to confirm your pregnancy.

Although you will be entitled to statutory maternity leave, there may also be enhanced maternity provisions at your company and it is worth checking the relevant policies as this may influence your decision on the extent of your maternity leave.

Once you have the doctor’s advice and are more clear about when you would want to take maternity leave, I suggest you write down a brief outline of what you intend to say to your manager. It may be best to start off by confirming how much you are enjoying being in your current role at the company and your continued commitment in the long term. Also be prepared for potential questions from your manager regarding your current workload. You could explain when you intend to take your maternity leave, and advise what work commitments you hope to have concluded before then and what areas you anticipate may require to be covered by someone else.

As more and more women have entered the legal profession, attitudes towards pregnancy have slowly improved and you should not in any way feel intimidated or of any less worth as a member of staff just because of your pregnancy. Pregnancy is not an illness, although it can have some unpleasant side effects such as morning sickness and swollen feet! However, at this early stage you should be able to fulfil your work commitments without too much disruption and be able to look forward to the great adventure of parenthood.

  • “Ash” is a solicitor who is willing to answer work-related queries from solicitors and trainees, which can be put to her via the editor: peter@connectcommunications.co.uk, or mail to Studio 2001, Mile End, Paisley PA1 1JS. Confidence will be respected and any advice published will be anonymised.
  • Please note that letters to Ash are not received at the Law Society of Scotland. The Society offers a support service for trainees through its Registrar’s Department. For one-to-one advice, contact Katie Meanley, Manager in the Registrar’s Department, on 0131 476 8105/8200, or katiemeanley@lawscot.org.uk
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