Louise (a customer) on pregancy, maternity leave, and culture:

We took on a cost tracking VA about 3 months ago and she is AMAZING!! She is working in with our bookkeeper VA – who is also AMAZING and they’ve been great at creating systems and processes. We catch up frequently for a team huddle and have a good culture between us.

Our cost tracking VA hadn’t showed up for meetings the last 2 days and was unresponsive to messages so i was a a little concerned that something had happened.  She reached out today to say she went into early labour.

I am gutted as I didn’t even know she was pregnant.  So i am trying to manage my emotions around, why she wasn’t upfront and honest and now obviously scramble to deal with keeping her work front going whilst she is recovering.  She asked for a week leave from work, which is more than fine, but i am really confused.   As a mum of 3 myself, I had months off work after having a baby as you deal with the new baby changes which are life changing.

My questions are:

Is it something Fillipino women typically try to hide from their employers?
Do they not spend time with their babies when they are born?

My only thinking behind it is that she needed the work and money and then was afraid to be honest with an employer for fear that they wouldn’t hire her.

Would love to know your thoughts to help me understand the culture better?

Since this was over my head, I turned to Julia. Here are her answers:


Is it something Filipino women typically try to hide from their employers?
– Not typically, BUT there are circumstances that would make Filipinos hesitate to tell their employers about their pregnancy:

1. If their previous workplace isn’t friendly to pregnant women or people with families. I know people who quit their jobs because of this.

2. If the employee is hiding the pregnancy from family and friends. The Philippines is still a mostly Catholic, patriarchal country. Pregnancy out of wedlock doesn’t carry as much stigma as before, but it can still cause issues if the family is very conservative. Maybe they’re afraid that telling their employer about the pregnancy risks other people knowing about it.

Do they not spend time with their babies when they are born?
– We do! In fact, the Philippines has good laws regarding maternal and paternal leave. But if we need the money, we will want to return to work as soon as possible.

Since your OFS is working from home, she probably feels she can manage working and taking care of her baby at the same time.

It’s good that you’re allowing your OFS to go on leave while she recuperates. Knowing that they have a supportive employer creates a better working relationship and a loyal OFS.



PS. For some reason, we’ve dealt with pregnancy very, very little since I started hiring from the Philippines in 2005. I have no idea why.

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