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I am considering a job offer from a company that offers 3 months paid parental leave. I am expecting a child in a few months, and I intend to take advantage of that benefit. I have already reviewed the policy to ensure that I would be eligible; it only requires that the baby is born after my start date.

Since that is a large period of leave so close to my start date, should I disclose my intention before accepting the offer?

If I don't disclose it now, I will have to soon enough, and the timeframe is such that they will know that I already knew about the baby when I accepted the offer.

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    I think thursdaysgeek's answer is pretty solid, but I'd also just throw this out there - if they went to the trouble to implement this policy, they must have considered the possibility of someone joining and then taking advantage of it almost immediately. That would be a huge oversight otherwise. If they have no kind of timed exclusion (i.e. "You have to have worked here X months to take advantage of this") then I don't think it's an issue; they've likely already decided they can work around the inconvenience in exchange for finding the right people. – delinear Sep 13 '18 at 14:31
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(This is advice based on US laws, and may not be applicable for other countries.)

The appropriate time to let them know is after you get a job offer, but before you start. Alison at AskAManager gives this advice for mentioning a short vacation, not a long parental leave:

“I’m interviewing for a job. When should I mention that I have a one-week vacation already planned and paid for that’s coming up three months from now?”

Don’t bring it up in the interview stage; it would be premature then. The time to raise it is once a company makes you an offer. At that point, it’s very, very normal to say something like, “I have a trip scheduled from April 15-27. I’m willing to take the time unpaid since I assume I won’t have accrued enough vacation time by then, but I want to make sure up-front that that’s okay.” It’s a lot better to mention this as part of the offer discussion, so that they don’t feel like you’re springing it on them later.

This happens all the time, and it’s totally normal to say this. It may, however, be an issue if you don’t bother to mention it until after you start. So make very sure that you mention it during the offer conversations.

However, at this link, she is talking about someone who is pregnant, and whether it is you or a spouse, the same advice applies:

tell them once you get the offer.

I wouldn’t raise it before you get an offer, because even at many family-friendly places and even despite the law that prohibits discriminating based on pregnancy, plenty of interviewers are still going to think, “We have that big event right when she’ll be out on maternity leave, and candidate B, who is not pregnant, would be able to be there for it.” It’s human nature. Don’t risk that.

But you’re pretty safe raising it once you have the offer, because rescinding it that point would look an awful lot like pregnancy discrimination, which is prohibited by law.

  • If you're going to force their hand by giving them no option to back out, does it make a difference if you announce it after you sign the contract? – NibblyPig Sep 14 '18 at 11:46
  • @SLC - I think the point is you tell them at the earliest possible moment. But no earlier (so they don't knowingly or unknowingly discriminate against you). – thursdaysgeek Sep 14 '18 at 15:17
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You're in the united states, so I'll assume that context for this answer.

Pregnancy discrimination is of course illegal. But people are always just people. You have to be careful with this. If you accept the offer with them none the wiser and then immediately take paid maternity leave, they'll probably feel betrayed if they haven't been told beforehand. The problem isn't that they'd have a legal handle to fire you because of this, the problem is that you want to continue and succeed in your position in the company.

A boss is going expect honesty and a fair bit of keeping company interests in mind from their employees. If I was a boss, I'd like to know before my candidate accepted the offer. You interviewed there and probably found the place to be worthy of working there, so you want to start off on the right foot.

Consider also that telling them early on might additionally establish you as credible and reliable and as willing to be fortright and honest. It might also help your boss to coordinate early to fill the gap you're going to leave during your 3 months absence. Better coverage for you works out in your favor too: they'll be less likely to bother you during your leave.

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