Are you scared to tell your boss you're pregnant? Mums-to-be reveal their fear at telling their managers they're expecting

Nicola McCafferty
Yahoo Lifestyle

Having a baby is one of the happiest moments in a woman's life, but it seems fear of what their boss may say is putting a real dampener on the occasion.

Nearly half of working women in the UK feel nervous telling their employer they're expecting - findings which could explain why we're waiting longer than anywhere else in the world to have children.

Currently, the average age at which a woman in the UK starts a family is 31 - an increase of almost two years since 1995, according to the Office of National Statistics.

A new study of 1,000 women released today found that many of us are unclear about our maternity rights, with a staggering 78 per cent not asking about their company's maternity policy before accepting a job.

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In fact, some are concerned that asking about maternity policy will have implications for their career and could play a part in whether they get the job. As a result, just half make enquiries within the first year of employment.

The findings, by QualitySolicitors, uncovered that two thirds of working women would like their employer to be more transparent about their maternity policy from the outset.

Craig Holt, founder of QualitySolicitors explained: “In today’s economic climate, women are understandably concerned about job security.

"Despite strong legal regulation to assist the employer and employee, a culture of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has been allowed to develop. Women are not asking about their rights, and employers are not always communicating clearly what these rights are and where they can find them.”

The survey revealed that women feel the need to establish their job security and career before bringing up the subject of maternity rights with their employer - results which are driven in part by the recession.
As a result, 50 per cent of women said the maternity package offered by an employer would not affect their decision to accept a new job.

Many of us aren't aware of our rights either, as 40 per cent were unaware they could share maternity/paternity leave with their partners - while almost half felt their employer could do more to support them on leave.

QualitySolicitors employment lawyers have written Guides aimed at both employers and employees which can be downloaded here.