AIBU re taking time off work when DC sick

(86 Posts)
NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:27:16

There was a situation at work in which my boss implied that she expects both parents to split things 50/50 if they need to look after sick dc/ attend hospital appointments etc.

AIBU to think that if an employee is within their quota of time off allowed in such circumstances, that the boss has no right to suggest that an employee's spouse should be doing 'their share'.

This is a public sector, setting, btw, so v clear guidelines on what is allowed.

although I can see that sharing this kind of responsibility is ideal for many. but I can think of many high pressure/ 'high responsibility' jobs (eg barrister, heart surgeon) where the fall out would be immeasurable if time off were taken for these reasons. So, in a partnership with certain occupations the spouse/ partner may be the one to do all/ most of the sick cover.

AIBU?

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 28-Feb-14 21:37:11

It should be 50/50 as much as possible so that the burden is shared between employers.

I think some people see paid dependents leave as extra holiday like sick leave and use their quota before considering any other options. Where dependants leave is not paid or annual leave needs to be used people tend to split the cover more.

Lucylouby Fri 28-Feb-14 21:52:01

I wish it was 50/50 for sick children in this house. I have had to take two days off work this week for poorly children and had a week off at the beginning of the month for the same thing. DH has said he can't take time off, apparently the factory he works in has a three strike rule, if you don't turn in for work three times your out. (He works through an agency so don't know if it changes things). I am livid about this excuse, they are his children too, but apparently (he tells me) the government only sets guidelines about this kind of thing, the companies don't have to follow them. He also leaves for work at 5.30, so is long gone before I know there is a problem with a child in the morning. So, even though we earn pretty much the same, I have to take time off because my job won't fire me for needing to stay with the children. He could be telling me anything though, in our social group, it always seems to be the mothers taking time off, even when they are in the higher level job.

Mandy21 Fri 28-Feb-14 21:55:33

redhelen court appointments cant generally be rearranged at the last minute, thats the reason for the reference to barristers.

I think the quota is irrelevant to be honest, its your ability to do your job. If you are still doing that, making up your time, not leaving it to your colleagues to do your work / pick up the slack, then your boss shouldn't be commenting. However if you've had quite alot of days off / not made an effort to make up missed time (even though you're technically within your quota) because your H hasnt covered any of the children's sickness then I think shes probably justified.

apermanentheadache Fri 28-Feb-14 21:56:49

There is a statutory right to parental leave but it has to be taken in whole week periods, usually only applies if your child is under 5, and is unpaid. Oh, and you have to give 21 days' notice: helpful!

You can also take time off to care for dependants in an emergency.

TeacupDrama Fri 28-Feb-14 23:24:41

also statutory parental leave can be refused though it has to be granted within 6 months of original request

I am female and a dentist I work 2-3 days a week, i do not take time of work if DD is sick it would mean cancelling 20-30 patients a day you might have had to take annual leave for the appointment, Dh is self employed and can mostly be more flexible, DD would need to be hospitalised before I would cancel a clinic I would not go in if I was ill myself as that is not in patients best interests, I am expected to have a plan B,C and D for childcare as if I am running late with patients I can't just leave because nursery/after school care closes at 6pm, I have to have the other plans for picking her up,

where my sister works they get 2 hours unpaid to arrange childcare if child sick etc

I do not think it has to be 50/50 if depends on job flexibility/ responsibility within job for some people job security and finances will also influence decision,

if an employer thinks someone is taking the mickey with childcare emergencies there are ways of dealing with it

Jinsei Fri 28-Feb-14 23:47:05

I think your boss is right. Why should the woman's employer always have to take the hit? I am the main breadwinner in our family, but DH and I share dd sick days equally.

I used to have a female employee who very regularly took loads of time off to look after her kids. Her DH could have taken time off too, but he never did because he was the higher earner hmm. Her absences caused huge inconvenience to us and to our clients, and put significant pressure on her colleagues. There wasn't anything I could do at the time, but I did judge. She quickly earned a reputation as someone who was just taking the piss and didn't take her job that seriously.

Most of the women in my team take some time off when their kids are ill, but they try to balance this with their partners and/or other solutions. The men in my team very rarely ask for time off to care for dependants, so either their kids are never ill, or their wives' employers are taking the hit.

maddening Fri 28-Feb-14 23:58:14

we share 50/50 and I also have some support I can call on from mum and sister (dsis more if it was a crisis as she has 2 dc) but my dm works part time 3 days. Ds is at ft nursery but my mum would do 2 days if ds was ill an she was free so we can minimise disruption where possible - I had 2 days this year and dp had 3 but I think 1 day was time in lieu. I haven't been off sick myself this last year (touch wood) so I think my being a parent hasn't really impacted my employer too much.

I think I might try emergency childcare such as a nanny if it was a longer illness such as chickenpox when ds was ok in himself but unable to go out and unable to go to nursery - especially if my dmum couldn't cover a bit

SingMoreWhenYoureWinning Sat 01-Mar-14 00:05:55

I take 90% of the time off.

My job ISN'T as important as dh's. He earns three times as much as I do and has 30 odd staff under him. I have a management job also but my team can easily be covered by my deputy or another manager when I'm not there whereas there is no other cover at short notice for DH.

My own manager has had the conversation with me (after two days off at the beginning of the year) along the lines of DH should be splitting it.
I told her he was and that the kids had actually been off four days that week. Not much they can moan about then is there?

MangoBiscuit Sat 01-Mar-14 00:19:17

I haven't read all the posts sorry Just HAD to weigh in with this though. If my DH was a "Heart Surgeon", as an HR recruitment officer in the NHS it would actually be easier in my line of work for me to take the day off! I would be able to scrape together 4 hours in an evening (or just in my commute via mobi;e per week!), which would more than cover the difference of me finding a suitable replacement.

Thankfully my DH does not do surgery, and can work remotely, and for us and our employers, it's more cost effective to work remotely.

MidniteScribbler Sat 01-Mar-14 10:31:00

I think a lot of it comes down to being seen to make a certain amount of effort to minimise impact on the employer. A parent (of either sex) who takes an extended period of time off would be frowned upon for not taking steps to try and put alternative care in place as soon as practicable, especially if the illness is likely to take several days or even longer such as chicken pox.

lilsupersparks Sat 01-Mar-14 12:16:08

As with others here my husband more frequently has the boys when they are ill. He is more able to work from home than I (I'm a teacher) and it is a lot of work for me to be off (setting cover etc). If he had an important meeting i would have to take the day off but I haven't had to for a long time. I agree with the person who said about the pro rata thing too. I am part time and a day off for me is a third of my working week, whereas for him it's only a seventh!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now