How to handle this delicate work situation?
August 30, 2010 9:07 AM Subscribe
An employee/friend came and confided that they are six weeks pregnant. Our boss has been hinting at reducing her hours and does not know she's pregnant. What to do, how to handle this in a professional manner?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total)
A woman who works for me recently confided that she is six weeks pregnant. She is also something of a friend, as best as one can be when it's a boss/employee relationship. We have a lot of fun working closely together, as we have similar views on our industry and general sense of humor.
She got pregnant via IVF, i.e. had donor eggs implanted. Getting pregnant has been a big desire of hers and she was heartbroken for a while about not being able to do it naturally. Now that she is, she's thrilled of course and quietly bubbling about it, but only to me, as it's just six weeks and things could still go wrong.
Money is tight for her and her husband and it's been a worry for her before. We just gave her a small raise. There will be no further raises for a while (year or more) due to the economy.
One of the consequences of our business is that we have an odd work cycle, which means I have to work one day on the weekend, while having a day off during the week. A possible change could change that for me, enabling me to have the weekend off, which is something I'd really like. But that would mean two people would be here on a certain non busy day, when really only one would do. My boss has questioned that if this change happens, perhaps we could cut my employee back to 4 days a week. I personally know this would be devastating for her money wise. My boss does not know she's pregnant She would not lose health benefits nor vacation time, just have a smaller salary in exchange for only working for days a week. Everything I know about her tells me that this would not make her happy, despite having a new born to look after/play with. Her parents will be watching the kid for the first few months, at which point she intends to have a sitter while she and her husband work during the day.
Summing it up: There's a possible change at work which could make my work life better, while harming an employee/quasi friend by reducing her work hours and salary, when she's already financially struggling. She's also pregnant and I'm the only one at work that knows. What's the best way to handle this is in a professional manner while dishing out the least hurt?