How to Handle Scheduling for a Pregnant Employee
Are congratulations in order for a member of your team? Hearing one of your employees is pregnant is exciting. It’s also a little bit scary. How will you balance her shifts? How will you accommodate the extra time off? Will she be able to perform all of the duties of her job or will she need more help?
As a manager, there is a lot to consider when you have a pregnant employee. Here are some tips to make the baby’s life, the soon-to-be-new-mom’s life and your life easier during this exciting time.
Familiarize Yourself With the Doctor Schedule
As the pregnancy progresses, the need for doctors visits increases. In a normal, healthy pregnancy, doctors visits will look like this:
- Weeks 4 – 28: One doctor’s visit per month
- Weeks 28 – 36: One doctor’s visit every two weeks
- Weeks 36 until delivery: One doctor’s visit per week
These can vary depending on the health of the baby, mom’s health and if she is having multiples. She will also go through several tests during her pregnancy, such as the gender screening ultrasound and the gestational diabetes screening. These usually require a separate appointment.
Although she might not want to tell you if there’s a concern (and she doesn’t have to), it’s good to know if she will need more time off to go to the doctor. Ask her to tell you as far in advance as possible.
Stay Aware of Her Progress
Do you know which trimester your employee is in? How about her due date?
This is important information for an employer. The more her pregnancy progresses, the more likely she is to need time off to go to the doctor. Marking your calendar with her progress will help keep her health and needs in mind as you plan your schedule in advance.
Give Her Freedom to Check the Schedule
Most doctors will want to schedule appointments in advance. This is especially true as the pregnancy progresses and appointments get closer and closer together.
To save your pregnant employee hassle from having to juggle her medical needs with work, give her freedom to see the latest schedule when she’s in the doctor’s office. This can be done by giving her a print out to take with her, or by using an online scheduling app.
Plan Ahead as Much as Possible
It doesn’t help to give your employee access if her shifts haven’t been scheduled yet. If you have a pregnant woman on your staff, it’s immensely helpful to plan the schedule way in advance giving her ample notice of her shifts. This way, she can bring it with her when scheduling her doctor’s appointments.
If possible, you can also limit how much you move her shifts around to accommodate other employees so she is always sure the schedule will stay the same, even months in advance.
You should also consult with the pregnant woman about your plan. She might have preferences and requests that will help ease the planning process. For example, if she knows she is extra fatigued at night, she might work better (and be more productive) during the morning hours. On the other hand, if she’s having a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings, scheduling her later in the day would be appreciated.
Work together to come up with a plan that will keep your business up and running without causing her body and baby too much strain.
Don’t Share the News Before She’s Ready
When it comes to revealing a pregnancy, every woman is different. Some women keep it secret until after the risks of the first trimester have passed. Others are happy to share the excitement soon after seeing the second blue line appear. Many choose a happy medium, informing their bosses after hearing the first heartbeat.
The timing of her pregnancy reveal is up to her – not you.
If your pregnant employee shares news of her pregnancy with you in private, do not reveal it to anyone else. Keep the company-wide announcement hidden until you have her blessing.
Ease Team Wide Concerns
It’s normal for employees to have mixed emotions when they find out a colleague is pregnant. At first, your team will be happy and share in her joy. Soon after, they might begin to worry about what it’ll mean to them.
- Will there be extra shifts they will have to pick up?
- Will they have to take on extra work without extra pay?
- Will they be left short-handed?
Talk about the plans you have in place to help accommodate any of your pregnant employee’s missed shifts or time off from work. The more open you are about your plans as a manager, the less anxiety anyone will feel about what will happen to their schedule in the foreseeable future.
Expect the Unexpected
Ultimately, it’s the baby who is in charge. The baby decides when the woman needs to rest, when the woman needs medical treatment and when he is ready to make his debut into the world.
Every pregnancy is different. Every woman’s pregnancy is different. It’s impossible to predict how each pregnancy will go. Some women stay on track for the standard appointments while others need to rest more often, or see the doctor more frequently.
By expecting the unexpected, you can plan for absences better. Doing this will ease anxiety with both the pregnant employee and her fellow team members. Knowing there is a backup plan will make it easier for your pregnant employee to get the care she needs and your business to remain well staffed no matter what happens.
When a Bundle of Joy is On The Way
When you have an employee who is expecting a child, there are special considerations you must make. Although it might interrupt your business operations, it’s imperative that you are supportive during this special time.
Make a plan taking your pregnant employees needs into consideration, then share the plan with your team when the time is right. The more open you are about it, the less stress your team will feel. This will help everyone share in the joy of having a new beautiful baby on the way.
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