For every story of a woman who shares her pregnancy and gets passed over, another woman proclaims she disclosed and got hired. It’s a risk. While the laws are designed to protect you, it’s extremely hard to prove pregnancy was a factor if you don’t get the job.
Assuming you’re not showing, before disclosing, consider these:
Is your pregnancy relevant to your qualifications? In 99% of cases, it’s not. Your short-term leave doesn’t affect your ability to make a long-term impact for your employer.
Does it prevent you from doing the stated job duties? Here’s the other 1%. If the role requires that ALL incumbents travel extensively, engage in strenuous physical activity, or limit absences during a particular busy season, it may not be a fit.
Would a male disclose his partner is pregnant? In many cases, it wouldn’t even cross a man’s mind to bring this up in the interview, even if the company offered paternity leave.
Is the company disclosing every detail to you? I’ve had clients who started jobs only to learn their new boss was resigning, 401k benefits were being discontinued, or the role wasn’t what was described in the hiring process. No one wants to join a company under conditions of distrust, and you may feel a company that isn’t accepting of your pregnancy isn’t a fit for you anyway. However, the research doesn’t favor disclosing.
In one study*, “only five percent of bosses [male and female] have employed someone knowing the candidate is pregnant and a total of 76 percent said they would not take on a new recruit if they knew they were going to become pregnant within six months of starting.”
Legally, being pregnant is not supposed to be factored into the hiring decision. In reality it will be, because you’re being hired by a human, who is subject to biases.
If you’re waffling, share the information once the offer is extended, so it doesn’t influence the decision. If the Hirer gets upset or questions why you didn’t bring it up earlier, it’s pretty telling the pregnancy would have factored into the decision – unfavorably.
Another option is to wait until you begin to show, telling colleagues you wanted to be sure the baby was healthy before telling people outside of family.
Companies hire people (and tout them as “their greatest asset”), and people are human. Humans have needs outside of work, which is why organizations offer (and heavily market!) benefits like vacation, sick time, and maternity leave.
Don’t apologize. Confidently share your coverage plan, and reiterate why this will be a positive professional relationship. After all, without pregnancy, the Hirer wouldn’t be here 🙂