How should business travelers tell their boss they’re pregnant?

a book cover of a bookWhat is the best way and best timing for business travelers to tell their boss that they’re pregnant? Reader C asks…

My job requires 50% travel but in reality I travel less than 20%. I am expecting my first baby early next year and my doctor would like me to stop travel in my 3rd trimester. How/ when do I approach work with this?  Do I start with a conversation with HR or my boss? Any advice would be appreciated. 

Congratulations!!! So exciting. And also so stressful, especially for frequent travelers. We’ve talked about how far in advance of a trip you should tell your boss you’re pregnant, so here is my advice for how to tell your boss.

At this point it sounds like you’re not quite into your 2nd tri yet. Typically people don’t tell their companies they are pregnant until 13-14 weeks, although with both of my pregnancies I didn’t tell my boss until closer to 16 weeks. When I was pregnant with my twins I had to stop traveling in the middle of my second tri–around 25 weeks. It was scary to think about being grounded that long, as well as telling my boss that I was going to be unable to see customers. 

That first trimester I didn’t tell a soul at work, even though it was tempting at times. I made sure that I had plenty of extra time, food, and anti-nausea remedies. (Here are more tips for traveling during your first tri and beyond.)

Who you tell first depends on your relationship with your boss. In most instances I would recommend telling your boss first, as generally you just work with HR to manage the details of your leave. However, that assumes your boss is a reasonable person, and unfortunately not all bosses are. If your boss is kind of a jerk I would consider telling HR first. In the US the law is typically that you can’t fire someone for being pregnant (although I am NOT A LAWYER so this should not at all be construed as legal advice. Here is an article from CNN that may shed more light.)

When you talk to your boss have as much of an outline as possible for coverage when you’re unable to travel and when you’re on maternity leave. Map out what you think your trips will be and who you will approach to cover them. Is it possible you can do more travel now so that less is needed during that time? Can you do some meetings remotely? Even if you don’t have all the details figured out having a plan will go a long way in managing your boss’s potential concerns.

I’ll be honest–I was SUPER nervous both times telling my boss about my pregnancy, and both times they were incredibly supportive and excited for me. I hope this goes better than you’re expecting! Good luck.

Readers, any advice for reader C? How early did you tell your boss you were pregnant?


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  1. Great advice! And congrats. However, it sucks living in America where you have to think about this. Our jobs just seem so fragile at all times. I just want a world where I can be comfortable knowing a capricious boss cannot just let me go for the color of my shirt tomorrow.

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