When should I tell my employer about my pregnancy?

Navigating a pregnancy announcement can be challenging for expecting parents, particularly when telling their employer. For many employees, the news will be greeted with congratulations. For others, the news may lead to unlawful treatment by their employer.

So if you are pregnant, when should you tell your employer?

Ultimately, deciding when to tell your employer you are pregnant is your decision.

The first thing to note is that there is no general legal requirement to tell your employer that you are pregnant at a particular time.

However, if you are deciding whether or when to tell your employer you are pregnant, here are a few things you might want to consider:

  1. Most employees are eligible for unpaid parental leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) if they have completed 12 months’ service with their employer. If you wish to take unpaid parental leave, you should give at least 10 weeks’ notice to your employer before starting the period of leave. If that is not possible, you can notify your employer as soon as practicable.
  2. There may be important health and safety reasons (for both you and your unborn child) to tell your employer you are pregnant. For example, if you work in a higher-risk job (such handling chemicals) or if there are risks arising from your pregnancy. If it is unsafe for you to do your usual job while pregnant, you are entitled to be transferred to a safe job or receive no safe job leave under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).
  3. Generally, unpaid parental leave starts up to 6 weeks before the expected date of birth. If you want to work during the 6 weeks before the birth, your employer can request that you provide a medical certificate confirming that you are fit to keep working.
  4. Some companies have pregnancy or parental leave policies. These may set out additional requirements, benefits or entitlements for staff. You should check your company policies to see what they say about giving notice of a pregnancy.

Ultimately, deciding when to tell your employer you are pregnant is your decision. Understanding your rights and options as an employee may help you feel more empowered when doing so.

For more information about parental leave, visit: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/leave/maternity-and-parental-leave

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