Telling your employer you’re pregnant can be really shouldn’t, but I know from experience how nerve wracking it can be! So I’ve decided to put together a few tips to help it be something that shouldn’t be keeping you up at night.

First things first....

1. Know your rights

Ok so this may have not even crossed your mind but there are lots of laws in the UK surrounding Maternity, below I have added some links to websites that I found very helpful:

2. Check your contract

As well as knowing your rights as a pregnant woman in the UK regarding work, leave, pay etc. you should also dig out your contract. Most companies have maternity policies. Your contract may give you further information on any additional maternity pay you are entitled to, who you inform of your pregnancy, where you send your MAT B1 form or any additional info they may need during your pregnancy while at work.

3. Decide when to tell them

By law you do not need to inform your employer you are pregnant until 15 weeks before the beginning of the week the date the baby is due.( Ultimately it is your choice when you tell them, but it should be by this date. With my first pregnancy I informed my employer about week 5 of my pregnancy as I had bleeding and needed to go straight to hospital to be checked over. I wasn’t planning on telling them this soon but I’m glad I did, as they were very supportive of the situation and throughout my pregnancy. My second pregnancy I waited until after my 12 week scan although I was slightly showing by this point, I wanted to wait until I’d had the scan first. I also had only started the job a few months before; although I had no idea I was pregnant at the time, this meant I was still in my probation period so I was trying to hold out as long as possible.

4. Document everything

Regardless of whether you work for the best company with the kindest most understanding bosses, or a crappy one, document everything! I emailed my manager/employer with an email informing her I was expecting, the expected due date, and that I would let her know any appointments that would coincide with work, when I would like to take mat leave etc. further on in my pregnancy. I keep my emails very formal and like to know that I always have copies; the reason for this is if there was ever any query over a conversation I have a record logged. Here is an example of my email:

Dear *Employer*,

I have been advised by my midwife to now inform you that I am pregnant, my estimated due date is 30th July 2019.

I will be looking to start my maternity leave some time in May, I will confirm this date by at least 15 weeks prior to my due date.

Kind regards,

Sandy Ridpath

I would if possible also inform your employer face to face, I spoke to her first, followed by this email. This can be very daunting, I understand that, and I was very nervous both times of having a fight on my hands and having to explain myself.

The truth don’t! You are not letting the company down, you are not throwing away your career and you should not in any way feel or be made to feel guilty! A good employer/manager should congratulate you! Anything else they aren’t worth the stress, if they are good at their job they will find cover for you. It may come as a shock to them but in no way does this mean they should be unprofessional.

I email my employer with all my appointments and attach a copy of my appointment letter. This is again not only for my records but for theirs too! Here’s an example of an appointment email:

Dear *Employer*,

I have received my next set of appointments with my midwife and will need to take time out of work for one of the appointments.

The appointment provided is Thursday 25th April 2019 at 12.00pm. I understand that this is not a particularly convenient time, and so, I have contacted the surgery but unfortunately no other appointments are available.

I will keep you updated with any other upcoming appointments that may coincide with my working hours.

I have attached a copy of my appointment for your records.

Please let me know if you need any further information.

Kind regards,

Sandy Ridpath

5. Stand your ground!

If for any reason your employer decides to make things difficult for you, stand your ground! Going back to the Acas and Direct Gov websites you will see you clearly have your rights stated. If you need to, direct them to this website. I have done in the past, I’ve sent links or copied sections and sent them in emails. You are entitled to attended your appointments during working hours PAID! Most midwife and scan clinics work 9-5, Mon-Fri which means if you are a full time employee this most likely means taking time out of work. Work may get funny about this, but that’s tough! It’s not always possible to get appointments first or last thing, it doesn’t mean you can’t try but you also shouldn’t feel guilty because it means you need cover or are missing a meeting. Your health and baby’s health come first!

6. Don’t leave it all to the last minute!

Start thinking about your mat leave date, KIT days, how long you might like to take mat leave for........this can be amended nearer the time but it’s good to have an idea. You may not be entitled to SMP which means you will need to apply for Maternity Allowance which is a very in depth form requesting different information which you will need from your company, leaving this until the last minute can complicate your application and you could loose out on money! It’s also nice for you and your company to know what your plans are. Here’s an example of an email regarding starting maternity leave;

Dear *Employer*,

After discussing with my midwife, my last day of work before maternity leave will be Friday 31st May 2019. Therefore my maternity leave will commence from Monday 3rd June 2019.

I understand if for any reason I need to change my Maternity leave date I will give 8 weeks notice unless it is for unforeseen circumstances i.e premature labour/signed off due to pregnancy related issues 4 weeks prior to my agreed Maternity leave date; as per the direct gov website ("Pregnant Employees' rights").

I will be provided with my mat B1 form at my next midwife appointment. I will then complete and send my mat B1 form to head office as requested.

Kind regards,

Sandy Ridpath

I’ve added example emails to hopefully give you something to start with as I know it can be tricky figuring out what to write or include. If you are ever in any doubt contact your midwife with questions or acas for further information, don’t be afraid to check things if you are unsure. The best advice I can give is to be organised, understand your rights and most of all to try and relax and enjoy your pregnancy 😊

Congratulations and good luck mama!