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Pregnant before starting a job (university lecturer)

(10 Posts)
Aria11 Fri 15-Jul-11 12:17:26

Hello all,

this is my first post. I found out yesterday that I am pregnant for the first time and my husband and I are really happy about it. The problem is that it was unplanned and I am due to start a new permanent job (in academia) in January 2012 and move to a different city. I have not yet signed the contract, which I am now expecting from them. I was offered the job last April and since then we were engaged in negotiations in order to find a solution to some issues (mainly the start date as my current research project was originally supposed to end in June 2012). I like the people there and I feel that it is a very good job, but now I am worried that if I tell them that I am pregnant, they might withdraw the offer. I am also worried that they will be generally upset, as it was clear that they wanted someone to teach classes straight away and this will be precisely the time when I will be giving birth (I will be 7 months pregnant when (if) I join in January). I understand that academia has a better reputation when dealing with maternity issues, but I would appreciate it very much if you could give me any advice on how to deal with this: what to say to them, when and how (in person, by phone or email). My initial thoughts were to inform them immediately of the pregnancy (even before the end of the first trimester) in order to give the option to decide what is best for them and suggest a range of options: withdraw the offer, maintain the offer and try to find a solution for teaching, or postpone my start date until I will have given birth.
Thanks for reading this and I would really appreciate any advice you could give on this.

flowery Fri 15-Jul-11 13:03:32

If they withdraw the offer because of your pregnancy that would be sex discrimination. Similarly if they want to postpone your start date or anything like that.

I wouldn't tell them until you've passed 12 weeks. You don't need a risk assessment from them or anything as you've not started yet.

However once you get to 12 weeks, assuming you've got start date sorted and contract signed, tell them then. What kind of contact will you be having with the person who will be managing you during the next few months before you start the job? If you will be meeting regularly do it then, otherwise I'd ring and speak to him/her and possibly follow up in writing.

I would suggest telling them from the point of view of being helpful with planning, nothing else. Unless you no longer want the job (and I assume you do) then it's just about notifying them so they can plan ahead.

flowery Fri 15-Jul-11 13:03:44

Congratulations by the way!

Aria11 Fri 15-Jul-11 16:08:16

Thanks Flowery! Your advice is very encouraging. I saw my doctor earlier and he actually suggested doing more or less the same thing, i.e. inform them once the trimester has passed. I guess I am concerned that they will think bad of me, since they were particularly eager on having someone sharing the teaching load in January. I won't be meeting any of them regularly before I start, so it maybe better to call them and discuss about it. Thanks again!

SarkySpanner Fri 15-Jul-11 18:25:10

Congratulations. On the pregnancy and on getting this job in z ludicrously competitive job market smile

Get the contract asap. Although bear in mind that unis are notoriously disorganised at stuff like this. I got mine after I started the job. But as long as you gave emails etc confirming shat has been agreed then this is unlikely to be a problem.

I would tell them at 12 weeks. They will appreciate the time to figure out the teaching. Bear in mind that they will have to do this often for existing staff and so don't feel bad about it. But on the other hand don't be overly surprised if you encounter a few arsey comments from the dinosaurs. Most departments have a few smile

SarkySpanner Fri 15-Jul-11 18:26:30

That was an unfortunate typo blush

dontrunwithscissors Sat 16-Jul-11 16:56:39

I would sign the contract and then tell them. They'll probably be a bit pi$$ed , but they can't withdraw the job offer. It's so incredibly difficult to get an academic job (at least it is in my field), and people too often end up in places they don't want to live. They'll survive. I hope that doesn't sound too cavalier, but you need to look out for yourself. I'm an academic with 2 children and panicked like crazy about creating problems for my colleagues when I was on leave. They survived and everyone was incredibly supportive. The department isn't going to collapse because you're on maternity leave. (If it does, you probably don't want to be working there in the first place.) I know somebody who started an academic job and, a month in, discovered he had cancer. He was off work for 9 months. That couldn't be helped, and neither can your situation. <<<feeling quite bossy today>>>blush Oh, and congratulations!

misslillian Sun 17-Jul-11 18:25:22

I'm feeling a little better after reading this. I've got an interview on Friday for a job I've been working towards for the last 3 years. I found out last Saturday that I'm expecting again. It was a big shock initially but I've adjusted to the idea now (and one more won't make a huge difference to my brood) but I don't want it to stop me getting on with my career. I'm just over 5 weeks so there's months til I need to take my maternity leave. I'm thinking I won't mention anything til my first trimester is over. That's providing they offer me the job anyway!

RidcullySentTheBursarMad Sun 17-Jul-11 18:32:25

I was in an almost identical situation to you. I have to say the news didn't go down well, but it won't be the first or last time this has happened. The only thing though, I made the mistake of telling personnel and occ health after I'd reached 12 weeks and assumed personnel would relay the information to the department. They didn't so I had a very awkward first day of going round telling people that yes I am pregnant, no I haven't simply put on a lot of weight since the interview. I'd therefore really strongly suggest telling your new line-manager once you've passed 12 weeks, rather than assuming personnel will do it!!!

beanlet Sun 17-Jul-11 21:54:21

Sign your contract. Tell them at 12 weeks once the risk of miscarriage has lessened. They are not allowed to withdraw the contract or in any way make your life difficult, or it would constitute discrimination. Besides, they'll only have to find someone to teach one semester anyway. You will not be entitled to maternity leave pay because you have to work for an employer for 26 weeks before being entitled. But you will be entitled to the leave itself. The lack of pay might seriously impinge on how much time you can take off anyway.

Oh, and congratulations!!!! On baby and job

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