To be panicking about new job and taking time off if children are unwell?

(65 Posts)
WreckTangle Mon 02-Sep-13 18:29:11

I went for a job interview a few weeks ago, I had been looking for a job for months and was pretty desperate. Anyway the interview was fine but the manager questioned me about what I would do if my children were ill. On the spot due to desperation I said it would be fine as I had family I could call on. I was offered the job straight away.

Now, I have no family close by and I'm panicking about the kids being unwell now. I have no one to call on. Shit! She kept stressing at the interview that the children were a worry and she can't have me being off all the time with sick children ( I have 3 dc btw). I just needed the job so badly and reading this back I can see I probably was Unreasonable to say I had it covered. I guess what I'm asking is is it unreasonable to employ someone then with children under the basis they are never off due to their child being ill.

Also my youngest came home from school today with a sore throat and runny nose so this is what prompted my post. Crap!

ilovecolinfirth Wed 04-Sep-13 06:37:22

You should not have been asked about child care. That's discrimination. If you have to take time off for child-care you have to take it off. They've given you the job now and cannot take it from you for childcare reasons. If they make an issue of it once you've started I would think you would have a legal case on your hands.

Congrats on the job, but I'd question whether you want to work for that company. It sounds fair enough to work for them because you're desperate to work, but maybe keep an eye out for something else. A good boss will support you when your children are ill.

SimplyRedHead Wed 04-Sep-13 07:05:08

This isn't ideal but if a child is ill, can you pretend it's you instead?

I always feel embarrassed phoning in sick when a child is ill (don't know why) so I sometimes tell a little white lie and pretend I've got D&V.

You can only do this occasionally and I'm sure it's not the 'right' thing to do but it may help practically.

Doubtfuldaphne Wed 04-Sep-13 08:36:37

Can you say where you are op? I would be more than happy to help you if you ever get in to any bother!

buildingmycorestrength Wed 04-Sep-13 09:51:04

This is (partly) why I don't have a proper job. I work freelance and although I'd love a job that gets me out more, my husband is in no position to take time off if the kids get sick. He's the breadwinner so we have to protect his position and ensure he is performing, available, and getting good reviews, etc.

So I have to figure it out. No family near, and friends all have kids too so of course they don't want our germs. To be honest my family wouldn't want the germs either.

Who on earth looks after sick kids but the parents? I simply don't really believe that a nanny will come into a house of proper sickness as then they might get it and lose money. We have spent weeks with serious illness in the house before, first one child, then another, then an adult, etc. Swine flu, other flu, nasty sickness bugs, chest infections, staph infections, etc.

And yes, I'm sure plenty of parents send their kids to nursery and school with bugs but then everyone else gets it...thanks a lot.

Sorry to be pessimistic, OP, I just don't really understand how people do it.

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 04-Sep-13 10:15:54

Ditto corestrength

I work opposite shifts to my DH for this reason (amongst others). I really can't imagine leaving a sick DC with someone else with DCs. It simply isn't fair. And then drag them on the school run, vomit all over their car? Or make them walk in the rain etc? Great for the friendship I'm sure. And for the child.

I would love a Mrs Doubtfire and have tried looking for one. So far I have managed to find a trustworthy teenage baby sitter which is great but doesn't solve the illness problem.

And not everyone has the constitution of an ox waltzingmatilda. Between the two of them my DCs managed to vomit on 9 weekdays last Dec. They weren't fit for a haircut never mind a day in nursery. And I am a doctor so pretty hardened to the usual childhood sniffles.

Good luck OP. Hope the vitamins do the trick and your DCs stay well. I would look for a Mrs Doubtfire in your situation.

PrincessFlirtyPants Wed 04-Sep-13 11:47:52

I'm just so shock that employers would not allow you to have time off to look after your children when they are sick. I've worked for large financial institutions and small companies and they have never had a problem with this.

My mum runs a smallish company and would never stop someone having time off to look after their children (they take annual leave or unpaid leave)

I get that companies need to continue etc, but still. confused

buildingmycorestrength Wed 04-Sep-13 12:52:00

I know that in my line of work, it isn't so much that an employer wouldn't let me have time off work, so much as how would the work get done? It is one thing being ill yourself but add two or three kids and the germ-soup that is school or nursery, and that is potentially a lot of days.

I'm not totally replaceable in my line of work...in a very big company people there are resources to get cover for a lot of days, and in some types of roles people can be replaced or covered for a short notice absence but not every role or organisation is like that.

If I'm running a project to a deadline, or have a big meeting with clients, or anything that has any level of responsibility, I make sure my husband books leave or at least working at home on those days so I don't have to worry if the kids get ill.

Anyway, yes to getting a lovely Mrs Doubtfire type to come in for the minor sniffles, and such a good idea to be building up goodwill by covering extra shifts where possible.

Dahlen Wed 04-Sep-13 13:48:59

Huge sympathies with you. This is a massive concern for many working parents (mainly mums), but if you're a single parent with no family support it's even more difficult.

When my DC were little I had a horrendous 6-month period where I couldn't go more than 3 weeks without taking time off for one of them being ill. Fortunately, that became very rare once they started school, so hopefully yours are past that and it will only be the odd day you are affected by it. I'm sure that won't affect your job adversely.

I can only echo other people's advice that by giving all at your job and being accommodating when you can, you are much more likely to be treated considerately when you need it in return. Sadly it doesn't always work out like that in practice, but most people are decent. Your manager may have had issues with unreliable workers in the past and confused unreliability with parental status rather than a character attribute. Hopefully you can overturn that attitude.

As for practical solutions, try a babysitting circle. You may not be able to reciprocate with daytime care for work, but you can babysit someone's child for the occasional overnight in return for that person being available if you need short-term day care. The exception is obviously a D&V bug or something nasty and contagious, but no one can do anything about those.

Congratulations on your new job.

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 04-Sep-13 15:36:17

The problem is Princess that if healthcare professionals, teachers, the police don't turn up for work at short notice then the general public suffers. Pretty much immediately. No doubt in many other jobs too. If a solicitor who is the only one who knows a case has to default from a court appearance that isn't going to go down well either with client, judge etc.

And often people in these professions partner up so it's not simply a case of splitting leave of absence.

It's not about employer inflexibility, misogyny or bullying.

Not that this helps the OP. A babysitting circle would be an ideal solution as far as any could be.

PrincessFlirtyPants Wed 04-Sep-13 15:53:46

No, don't get me wrong alark I'm not complaining I fully understand businesses still need to run etc. I've just never worked in an organisation where it would have been a problem. I must have just been lucky. blush

WreckTangle Wed 04-Sep-13 17:21:33

A few replies to read through.

I'm not in some high flying job btw smile it's a shop, serving food etc. 3 people on the rota per day so if I can't go in it leaves them really short, they need 3 staff on minimum so colleagues would be under pressure (it's very busy)

doubtfuldaphne that's a very kind offer but it's highly unlikely you're near me (Northern Scotland) but thank you!

I'm still no further on with a solution, the childcare link has nothing near me unfortunately.

buildingmycorestrength Wed 04-Sep-13 19:24:51

Hi OP, I wonder if there is someone you could recommend to be on standby for them? A friend who could use the extra cash and would be able to go in at short notice in most cases?

Blondeshavemorefun Wed 04-Sep-13 20:42:02

Be better off if the friend looks after the ill child/ren

Not sure many shops would want a total novice as a help

Prob be less helpful then no help iyswim

CocacolaMum Wed 04-Sep-13 21:01:51

Another one here who doesn't have a "proper" job for this reason. My DH is the main earner and I work from home (paying tax n everything so it really is a job) and hopefully earn enough to pay for my car, credit card bill etc and any extra goes on whatever I fancy. I realise that I am in this position purely because my DH works his arse off so I feel like its important to make sure he can work and not be expected to take time off to look after the kids (not that we could afford him to)

As a wahm I would not want to look after someone elses ill child tbh but I would do it if needed and wouldn't be offended.

alarkthatcouldpray Wed 04-Sep-13 21:03:08

I would start by trying to find a babysitter or two and build it up from there. Advertise in local paper, on gumtree, library notice board, local college. If you are twitchy about trusting someone you have just met, have them mind the kids while you 'catch up with some paperwork' upstairs. I would see the initial financial outlay as an investment in developing a list of back up childcare. The day you need help might just be the day the student has off from lectures, the grandmother doesn't have her GCs or the childminder you got to know through them only has one other charge who has already had the chicken pox your DC has come down with.

Think of it like the final scene from the film About A Boy - you want to be part of a chain of islands.

If you are the confident sociable sort then advertise that you are starting a babysitting circle and go from there.

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