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ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Do I have an obligation to inform a potential employer of my pregnancy?

Asked by ItalianPrincess1217 (11979points) February 15th, 2011 from iPhone

I’m starting to apply to a few different places due to my current job not paying nearly enough for the amount of work I do. If I have interviews with any of these potential employers, must I tell them I’m pregnant? Or can it wait until I’m hired? I feel as though telling them something like that right away would decrease my chances of getting the job. I’m only a little over 9 weeks. I’m not really showing yet. What should I do?

Edit: I should add that these positions I’m applying for are desk jobs. So there isn’t a possibility of any work I wouldn’t be able to perform due to my pregnancy.

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31 Answers

Kayak8's avatar

This is a tough one. You are early enough in the pregnancy that when you start to show, it is almost close enough that you didn’t know when you were hired. As an employer, I would be ticked that you didn’t tell me. While I know it shouldn’t influence my hiring decision, I can’t with honesty tell you that it wouldn’t. I am hiring you to do something and now you won’t be there to do it during pregnancy leave, etc.

Make sure that the new employer isn’t one that where you have to build up leave time or sick time or you could be in a very bad position (not able to make pre-natal visits, etc.).

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Best wishes and happy times for you and your baby.

The time off for your child’s birth would not be covered where I worked. AND medical insurance, if included with employee benefits, will not cover the the birth or hospital costs; unless it is the same insurance company.

Seaofclouds's avatar

It’s illegal for them to use your pregnancy against you when it comes to hiring you, but sadly, many will do just that (especially if they have a non-pregnant person applying as well). I wouldn’t tell them until they made a job offer that you were pregnant. Once they offered you a job, I would tell them at that point.

Just so you know, FMLA (if you work for a company large enough for it to apply) doesn’t kick in until you’ve been employed by that company for a year, so if you change jobs while pregnant, you won’t have FMLA protection for your new job once you go on leave or if you start missing a lot of time due to the pregnancy.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Very tough call. As an employer, I’d be a little ticked if you didn’t tell me, even though it’s not legal for me to take it into consideration. I can see your side as well. Maybe pass on telling them on the first interview and if you get called back for a second, mention it at the end? I’m going to leave it at this point and see what feedback that generates.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I feel sorry for employers in this situation and I think it would be unfair for a woman to not inform any future employers of a known pregnancy. You’ll be working there for about another six months before you go on maternity leave and, if where you are is anything like here in England, you could be on maternity leave for a year and be paid for it. From your point of view, it doesn’t create very good feeling with other staff members if you work for a few months and then disappear while claiming the benefits of maternity leave. This could make it awkward for you when you go back to working for the compay after maternity leave.

My opinion is only based on the system here in the UK, it may be different in other countries.

marinelife's avatar

What are you going to do about the costs of the birth? Is this a good time to leave your present job?

That said, at nine weeks, I would not tell them. If you get asked later when it becomes apparent that you are pregnant if you knew at the time of hiring, I would say no.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Leanne1986 In the US, maternity leave is mostly up to the company. Many companies do not offer any kind of paid maternity leave. We have the Family and Medical Leave Act which protects a woman’s job for 12 weeks of leave (just means the company can’t fire the woman, but they can put her in a different position). So, most of the time, the woman must use up any vacation/sick days she has accrued for her maternity leave and still end up with having a period of time they aren’t getting paid while on leave (depending on how long they take). A lot of women in the US can only take 6 weeks off. I know many that would go back before 6 weeks if they could get their doctor to approve it because they can’t afford to be without pay.

janbb's avatar

You are not required to reveal anything about your family status and they are not allowed to ask you. However, you might want to be aware of benefits, such as when health care starts, before changing jobs.

blueiiznh's avatar

You have no legal obligation to divulge medical conditions to an employer.
You may ruffle some feathers of your direct report as they will be counting on you in a role that they need. Getting a job posting is hard enough in companies nowadays and this could start you off on difficult standings. You may need days out until full term for things as well. If you are looking for medical care coverage in the new place, make sure you are aware of any waiting periods. You really don’t know the coverage until you are hired.
FMLA would cover you for any leave, but they don’t have to retain your exact job, only a place for you to return to. Afterall, they do have a business to run. If your not being open with them about this and springing it on them until late in the game, they may use that fact and you would come back to doing something that you were not hired for.
I know jobs are tough and agree that letting this fact out during interviews may give you less of a chance. It is really a tough call.
Do you know if you will want to go back to work after having a beautiful baby? Have you thought that out? Will the position be flexible enough for the various time out you will need with a young one?
In my opinion, you need to think all these and more points out to help make your decision.
Do you have an option to find short term or contract work until then?
If you have medical with your current position, my opinion would be to ride it out. Go on leave with the current place. Figure out your future needs after having your child. Once that is done, go knocking on doors without any conflict.
Congrats and good luck

Seaofclouds's avatar

@blueiiznh From what I’ve been told about FMLA, if you (general you) haven’t been employed by the company for a full year before the event occurs, FMLA may not protect you. It’s under one of the FMLA exceptions. Also, it would depend on if the company is large enough for FMLA to even apply. It doesn’t apply for many small companies.

bkcunningham's avatar

@blueiiznh unless something has recently changed, the Family Medical Leave Act has certain criteria. You must have worked for the covered employer for at least 12 months.

To be eligible for FMLA benefits, an employee must:

have worked for the employer for a total of 12 months;

have worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months; and

work at a location in the United States or in any territory or possession of the United States where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.”

iamthemob's avatar

In the U.S., you have no duty to tell them, and it is illegal for them to ask you – but they can ask you about whether you’ll be able to perform all the duties of the job (so it’s all good that you’re on a desk job).

So it might be that an employer might be ticked that you didn’t tell, but they also can’t take it into consideration. Therefore, if you get the job, if they’re ticked it means that they might not have hired you because of your pregnancy as the only factor. ;-)

You should, therefore, feel no moral, ethical, etc. duty to inform the employer during the hiring process.

Also, your state may have supplemental FMLA coverage. Check on that.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Seaofclouds Thanks for the info, that’s quite different to how it is over here.

john65pennington's avatar

If you could prove that you were not employed, strictly by you advising them, upfront, that you are pregnant, would be a valid case of discrimination.

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Judi's avatar

I just hired a girl who told me she was pregnant. I have to tell you that I did quince inside at first, knowing that in s few months I was going to have to find a temporary replacement, but in the end, I appreciated that she was honest with me and that place on my heart that knew it was wrong to hold it against her prevailed.
I am an exceptional employer though~

OpryLeigh's avatar

@noelleptc Haha “weenies”

mattbrowne's avatar

Not in Germany. You are legally entitled to lie about it in case such a question is being asked. In fact you could sue your potential employer for actually asking such a question.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Seaofclouds @bkcunningham Agreed on the letters of the law. I also know for those companies that do not meet these guidelines, they will have a policy drawn out for it and their specific exclusions or exceptions.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@blueiiznh So, since @ItalianPrincess1217 is already pregnant, she wouldn’t make it to the 12 month requirement to be eligible for FMLA protection before she needs her time off for maternity leave. That’s something she needs to consider when looking for a new job at this time.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Seaofclouds Correct. And I did list my opinion in my posting as such.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@blueiiznh Not trying to argue, but in your post you wrote, “FMLA would cover you for any leave, but they don’t have to retain your exact job, only a place for you to return to.” (emphasis mine). That is not true because she would not be eligible for FMLA protection since she would not have been with the company for the 12 months before her maternity leave would come up. I’m not trying to have an argument with you about it, just making sure @ItalianPrincess1217 realized that FMLA will not be protecting her job should she switch jobs at this point.

blueiiznh's avatar

@Seaofclouds this assumed being approved for FMLA. My point was about what to expect when you return from an approved leave.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@blueiiznh I’m not disagreeing with anything else you wrote. I’m sorry if it seems that way. Like I said, I just wanted @ItalianPrincess1217 to realize that she won’t get the protection with FMLA. I’m going to be in the same position of possibly looking for/starting a new job and then going out on maternity leave (shortly after starting the new job), so it’s something I’ve looked a lot into.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

All very good information! Thank you. So if I were to accept a job offer, and let’s assume they do not offer maternity leave for employees that haven’t been there 12 months yet, would not be eligible for NY state disability either? I thought after being out of work a certai amount of time, the state automatically pays disability if your employer doesn’t cover you.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I know just about nothing about NY state disability, but from what I just read, you’d have to have a ‘disability arising from pregnancy’ in order to qualify for it (unless I’m reading it wrong). This site states: “New York State disability benefits insurance provides temporary cash benefits paid to an eligible wage earner when he/she is disabled by an OFF THE JOB illness or injury, and for disabilities arising from pregnancies”. It doesn’t sound like they consider maternity leave or just wanting to be home with a newborn as a reason to get disability from the state. You might want to get in touch with someone about that to get more definite information about what they consider to be a ‘disability arising from pregnancy’.

Supacase's avatar

I was in your situation and I did not reveal my pregnancy until I was hired. I think I was around 6 weeks and told her I found out between the date I was hired and the date I began work. I felt a little guilty about it, but I knew that I probably wouldn’t get the job if I told them.

I don’t know how it works other places, but I received full benefits.

mrrich724's avatar

You have ZERO obligation. Because if you do tell them, and they use that information to choose to not hire you, they are discriminating.

Therefore, it is not required or expected to share that information if you don’t want to.

Keep in mind however, if you are not eligible for FMLA (which you probably should not be if you haven’t been with a company on a full time basis for at least one year), they will have no obligation to hold your job for you when it’s time to give birth and stay home.

I am an HR professional.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Seems like I’m stuck with my current job at least until after the baby. I didn’t consider the maternity leave situation. That’s really disappointing…

filmfann's avatar

there isn’t a possibility of any work I wouldn’t be able to perform due to my pregnancy.

Hahahahaha. First child, I expect.
Pregnancies are rife with problems for the mother to be. You will have trouble sitting for long periods, frequent trips to the Loo, and flat out barfing all morning for months.
Your potential employer has the right to know.

Bellatrix's avatar

It is a tough one. I can understand why you are asking the question and no, it shouldn’t make any difference but the reality is it would prevent some employers from employing you. I wouldn’t be thrilled if you lied to me though and I wonder how doing so would affect your ongoing employment opportunities with that company? If you ever want promotion or jobs with responsibility, will you lying prevent you getting those jobs? I don’t envy your situation. Can you look for government/public service type positions? They are perhaps more likely to accept that you are pregnant and still employ you?

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