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.


Drquin Thu 27-Feb-14 14:32:08

Guidelines (or even legislation) notwithstanding, I can see her point as the employer.

In reality, yes, there are undoubtedly parents who will choose, or be unable, to split the time required 50/50.

From employer's perspective, she's not wildly out in thinking it would be better all round if she was only exposed to 50% of the short-notice absences for such occasions, as opposed to all of them.

But she's only able to manager her employees and their absences, not employees of other organisations!

Drquin Thu 27-Feb-14 14:33:21

Sorry, my sentence structure is all over the place .....
I meant to say that some parents will chose NOT to split 50/50.

fromparistoberlin Thu 27-Feb-14 14:35:15

time off work for free, or as vacation days???

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:36:36

drquin, sure I can see her point that it would be preferable for her.

I think it's easy to start feeling that you are the 'soft touch' for such things, and that you are having to take the brunt of the absence because it is the easy option. I doubt your colleague's partner is a heart surgeon!

That said, plenty of people in ordinary jobs have much less 'generous' employers when it comes to special leave, so it's hardly surprising if the public servant is the one to take time off, not the one whose employment situation may be more 'fragile' in the current climate.

NatashaBee Thu 27-Feb-14 14:38:21

In general (your examples such as heart surgeon, barrister excluded, maybe), yes, I do think it's fair to expect that both parents share the responsibility equally. It's not fair to expect one employer to bear all the cost of an employee being away.

lunar1 Thu 27-Feb-14 14:38:46

DH could split 50/50 technically, but that would mean cancelling all his patients. Most of them will have taken time off work for their appointments and waited for weeks/months to see him. he would only be off work in an absolute emergency.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:39:07

time off, as in paid time off up to the quota allowed in that organisation and unpaid leave thereafter.

we're not talking about someone coming anywhere even close to that quota- just considering the appropriateness of the boss expressing their view.

Jess03 Thu 27-Feb-14 14:39:38

I'm in this situation, and I wouldn't let my boss think I was doing all the absences even if I was - if you're within your quota and taking the hit in perception for the time off then letting them know too much about your domestic arrangements is just unwise

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Thu 27-Feb-14 14:43:45

By "paid time off up to the quota" do you mean this is separate to your annual leave? If so I think it is reasonable for your boss to think it should be 50/50. Otherwise, it will be the parent with the more generous quota who takes the bulk of the time, and their organisation suffers more as a result.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:45:49

jess, I agree, but what if the boss still suggests its the spouse's turn. surely it's not acceptable to express this? (even if its understandable to think it).

and another angle springs to mind.... if one parent works part time and is a SAHM parent the other days, is it still fair/ equal/ ideal that in principle things should split 50/50 when surely they are the 'primary carer' (if that's the correct term)?

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:46:44

annual leave doesn't apply. setting is a school.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:47:41

I mean, up to the quota allowed for caring for dependents. smile

MarmaladeShatkins Thu 27-Feb-14 14:49:46


My old boss told me to get my DH to take a week off work to care for DS when he had chickenpox.

No, I won't thanks, love. DH's job pays the lion's share of the mortgage and bills.

MajorGrinch Thu 27-Feb-14 14:50:07

I think you should be allowed to take paid leave up to your quota - that's the point of having a quota surely?

Any unpaid leave after that is at the employers discretion though isn't it? I can see where she's coming from as it can be a nightmare trying to juggle resources to fill the gap....

TheScience Thu 27-Feb-14 14:53:27

Agree with your boss, although she obviously can't enforce it.

You're basically saying that your job in unimportant - fine if you see it like that but obviously your boss doesn't!

affinia Thu 27-Feb-14 14:54:32

You should absolutely split 50/50. A mother's employer is not responsible for their partners occupation, why should they be expected to bear 100% of family related absences. I have managed many parents and I can say that the men very rarely called in due to sick children whilst it became a regular occurrence for SOME women, despite them doing the same. I am very pro equality at work and it is attitudes like this that make it very difficult for women to move on at work and I'm sure its one thing which makes employers reluctant to agree to part time arrangements.

Both parents have to take responsibility when they decide to HAVE children in the first place. Rant over!

HappySeven Thu 27-Feb-14 14:54:49

I can see what you mean and no, it probably isn't appropriate to voice it but I don't work in HR so can't be sure.

My DH and I both work for the same NHS trust, I do part-time. He often takes the day off to cover a sick child because a) colleagues seem to more accepting of a man doing it and b) if I take a day off it's a third of my week whereas he can usually pick up the extra work over the remaining four days of his week. I'm also 'more clinical' and so my work is harder to shift around and someone else would have to cover me.

I obviously cover all days when I'm already at home and am very grateful to have the DH I do.

littledrummergirl Thu 27-Feb-14 14:56:06

Dh is our main wage earner. I will take time off if needed. When I was the main earner all emergency calls went through Dh.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 14:57:33

I don't think i agree with that at all, the science!

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Thu 27-Feb-14 14:58:37

I don't agree with the parent who works part time being 'primary carer' on the days they are working. If anything, ideally it should be pro-rata, so the full time worker would take more time off.

In practice, you probably do what is right for your family. So the one with the better terms would take the time off. But you'd have to weigh up whether always being the one to take time off negatively affects career progression etc. YANBU in that they don't have the right to dictate the share of time taken off. But I can see why your boss would get annoyed if it was always you doing it.

affinia Thu 27-Feb-14 14:59:19

But littledrummergirl the fact that he is the main wage earner is relevant to you and your husband and how you work out your finances, not to your employer. This is one (of several) reasons women are not taken seriously in the many workplaces, some women make themselves less reliable and invested than their male counterparts.

TheScience Thu 27-Feb-14 15:00:07

Noonar - your boss needs you to be at work. You are prioritising someone else to be at work. Of course there is a conflict there.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 15:00:34

so affinia, do you think people should split 50/50 regardless of profession/ level of responsibility?

Jess03 Thu 27-Feb-14 15:03:44

I think it's simpler. If I'm not out of my quota, but you don't like my amount of time off or feel I'm not committed, reflect it in my review. In reality, not everybody's dp can do a 50/50 split, the boss can say whatever they like, but they can't make me get dh to take sick days when he's not in the country or has to let 100s of students down to do it. I think bosses often make unenforceable remarks, I'd just pretend dh was doing his share.

anklebitersmum Thu 27-Feb-14 15:04:51

Pfft. She could comment all she wanted if she was my boss. Hubby's in the forces so the chances of him having a day off to look after the children because I'm supposed to be at work is minimal at best!

Let her sing it from the rooftops if it makes her feel doesn't mean that she has any right to insist it happens.

affinia So in conclusion then;
Men don't have time off for sick children as often as women do I wonder why that would be then?
you're "very pro equality at work" not practising equality at work hmm

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 15:06:24

interesting debate.

FWIW dh and I split it, but I couldn't say for sure 50/50. when a crisis occurs, we decide who is best able to juggle their timetable/ diary and rearrange stuff. and I always make up the time- which I can do as I'm p/t

I agree with affinia re women in workplace, but not on the 50/50 bit! and anyway, it could well be the father who logistically/ financially need to take the hit for a given family.

BeCool Thu 27-Feb-14 15:07:12

It is so often assumed the woman should do the lions share of sick child cover. Hand up if your partner is a brain surgeon or barrister and you don't have a nanny?

I don't think it unreasonable for an employer to want both parents to share the sick child cover. Why should X employer cover 100% of the cost of the sick leave and Y employer covers none of it?

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 27-Feb-14 15:08:51

I used to manage a large team and I lost count of the number of times women calling in as they needed to look after their ill children would say something like - 'there's no one else, DP needs to go to work'. I couldn't say anything, it wasn't my place to, and they were obviously entitled to take the time off. However, with every single call, I used to wonder why their DHs/DPs wouldn't/couldn't/didn't step up.

BeCool Thu 27-Feb-14 15:09:09

I am separated from DC's father and we still try and share any sick cover for the DD's (admittedly on my insistence as I feel it's not fair to my very accommodating and considerate employers to cover all of it)

louloutheshamed Thu 27-Feb-14 15:09:51

I agree with her. Why should the default be that the woman's job is less important than the man's? That's the message sent if its always the mother taking time off.

I'm a teacher, last year ds had chicken pox and couldn't go to nursery for a week. We managed to cover most of it but I ended up taking one day off, and the cover manager asked why my husband hadn't taken time off and untold her that actually he'd been off for the previous two days... It made me wonder if I should tell then whenever dh had taken time off and I hadn't?

At my school there are quite a lot of married couples on the staff s d funnily enough they are less concerned with gender equality when it will inconvenience them either way....

RiverTam Thu 27-Feb-14 15:11:40

it has to be 50/50 on working days - the part-time worker will cover the days they are not at work (thus facilitating the other's career whilst they do so), so the days that they both work have to be 50/50.

When I went back to work after 3 years DH realised how much he hadn't had to do as a parent. DD got chickenpox in my first month of work so DH had to take 3 days a week off for 3 weeks as I didn't want to take time off when I'd only just started - and his employers had to suck it up as he hadn't taken a single day for DD during the previous 3 years. Which they did as they are quite reasonable.

A family's division of salary etc are of no interest to each employer - whether you are full-or part-time, the main earner or earning pin money - your employer is paying each of you to do a job and you are contracted to do that. To be the one who is always taking time off for the DC really means you aren't pulling your weight and probably shouldn't be working.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 15:12:48

the science, I agree there is a conflict.

but basically I agree with jess and anklebiters... how many people can manage a 50/50 split when the consequences of taking time off vary so much depending on the setting? just not viable for so many ! jess, you are spot on when you say they you just have to fulfil your contract as best you can and keep quiet about any 'inequality' that might cause the boss to feel aggrieved.

thefirstmrsrochester Thu 27-Feb-14 15:15:54

When my dc are unwell, DH shifts what he can to be home for them. When he can't, then I have to take dependants leave. DH is self employed so we are luckier than most re flexibility however (and to the consternation of my manager) he has commitments too and cannot cover 100% of the time. With colleagues I've have noticed that it's mainly the mothers to whom emergency leave falls, the DH is (or a assumed to be) the main wage earner. I see it from both sides. There is no easy answer.

NoonarAgain Thu 27-Feb-14 15:16:00

loulou....funny that I actually didn't mention in my OP whether the person in question was male/ female. this thread isn't just about gender. the woman could equally well be the brain surgeon!!

cardibach Thu 27-Feb-14 15:18:09

I want to work in your school, where you have a 'quota' of time to take off with children - a quota generous that you can talk about being nowhere near it. I am a teacher, and we do not have a quota. We are expected tog et other cover for the sick child in place or take unpaid leave - which can be refused. I had to take my daughter to hospital appointments 2 hrs drive away and I had to take unpaid leave, even if it was only an hour at the end of the day in my PPA time (so no need for class cover).
Anyway, I think you should probably share time off if you can. I am a lone parent, so didn't have that choice. It's cost me a fortune!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Thu 27-Feb-14 15:22:56

Just wanted to add, going back to the situation I mentioned above, it was likely in many cases that the women's DHs and DPs were the higher earners. However, my employer (airline) did offer amazing benefits - vvv cheap flights/hotels etc and many members of staff on say £16,000/yr would also take three or four holidays in far flung destinations a year. I guess what I'm trying to say is that in a lot of the cases I dealt with, money was the main reason given for the women taking time off, but the same women would be sure to eek out every last benefit they could from e company, which in part were meant to compensate for lower than market rate wages. It doesn't seem right that they wanted it both ways, if that makes sense?

Blamenargles Thu 27-Feb-14 15:33:59

I see where employer is coming from but it's not alway possible.
I would never split 50/50 A. Because DP often works away so not possible
B. DP earns more in a week than I do for the whole month.

Tailtwister Thu 27-Feb-14 15:42:51

I think it depends on the company policy. Some places allow a certain number of days leave for such things, whilst others manage more on a case by case basis. I think if someone has taken a lot of time off to care for sick children, it's not unreasonable for an employer to suggest perhaps the father takes some time off as well.

Personally, I've always had to take holiday or unpaid leave to care for sick children. I am lucky that I work from home though, so if it's my older child who is off (like he was 2 days this week) I just continue to work whilst he's at home.

Stockhausen Thu 27-Feb-14 15:43:10

In an ideal world....

But it's a fact that most women earn less for a start, many having less professional jobs.

It comes down to it being the reality of the man losing his job through having time off, meaning losing your home.

funkybuddah Thu 27-Feb-14 15:45:24

In my job I take 100% of the time off for ill dcs as dp doesn't get paid if he's not there plus I only work 16hrs (unless doing overtime) 50% of my hours being a Saturday all I'd not miss that day.

My managers understand this but I'm lucky mine are rarely ill, dc1 (12) has been ill once in 4 years and that was when I was on annual leave anyway.

<eyes dc2 who has a temperature and sore throat, luckily will just be a couple of hours late tomorrow rather than missing a shift if they are ill)

affinia Thu 27-Feb-14 15:47:01

anklebitersmum, sorry I wasn't clear. I am pro-equality!! It makes me angry that the men didn't phone in sick and women did. Its a kind of micro-experiment..generally they were both doing the same job but the men's spouses/partners must have been taking the hit at their own workplaces. There shouldn't have been such a difference but there was and it was depressing to keep addressing attendance in women's reviews and not mens - I was frustrated for the women, not against them, but as an employer attendance was crucial and there should be a level playing field between the sexes.

Somebody said employers often say things that aren't enforceable but attendance (for whatever reason) is a very genuine reason for dismissal and lack of advancement and this is a cause of inequality.

I have a friend where she is by far the main earner and still her DH doesn't take time off causing massive stress for her. This is quite deepseated stuff.

anklebitersmum Thu 27-Feb-14 16:44:03

In todays workplace allowances have to be made for unforseen childcare commitments. It doesn't make it right or fair that it generally falls to the woman but that's the way the societal cookie crumbles and I agree affinia it is one of the main reasons that women often hit that legendary 'glass ceiling' before men.

I should probably come clean and say that I now stay at home. Chose to when I chose to have the biters and a military husband. The demands of his career mean that I would be an unfair burden in a structured workplace even as brilliant as I am as it would always be me that called in missing. With four biters simple D&V can cost you a fortnight off work and that, I suspect, would raise eyebrows wink

DidoTheDodo Thu 27-Feb-14 16:45:58

What is this "Quota" you speak of?
Most jobs in my sector do not have any such thing. You take annual leave. Sounds like you already have a benefit there!

Thurlow Thu 27-Feb-14 16:52:59

It's a difficult one.

I tend to take more time off to look after DC when ill, but actually my time off either comes from my annual leave or is unpaid (not public sector, so my allowance is 5 unpaid days a year)

DP does have paid leave, but he works in the kind of job where it's really not that simple or that easy for him to take time off, and has a bigger impact on the public.

So we take the hit. But I'd be pissed off if my employer mentioned anything about.

Thepoodoctor Thu 27-Feb-14 17:10:41

Hand up - partner is a barrister. No nanny (I bloody wish grin)

It's surprising how often he can and does take his share of sick DCs and other family emergencies, but yes if he's appearing in the High Court the only excuse is your own hospitalisation, if the judge is in sympathetic mood confused

On the other hand, if he's working at home preparing stuff as he often is, that can easily be moved for a sick child. I think there is often the unwritten assumption that the man has a Very Important Job that can't be disturbed, and the woman's work can be endlessly rearranged.

From each couples point of view I think the burden of illness and family emergencies should be shared as fairly as possible given the demands of each role, and always being mindful of the need to challenge the unwritten assumption above.

From an employers viewpoint I guess they have right and reason to comment if because of an individual's family commitments they aren't able to deliver on the job they've been hired to do. But that should be comment on the non availability of the individual perhaps rather than on their domestic arrangements?

steff13 Thu 27-Feb-14 17:24:50

For us it depends on the nature of the jobs. I've been at my job for 8 years, and I get 80 hours of sick time per year. He just started his job, and has no paid sick time yet. In my job, I make my own schedule four out of five days, and I'm solely responsible for my work and deadlines. If I am off, no one has to fill in for me, with the exception of the one day a week that I'm doing hearings. My husband's job is at a bank; if he's off, other people have to pick up the slack. If one of the kids were sick on the one day a week I can't stay home, my husband would have to take off, or make arrangements for someone else to be with them. I could only take off on that day for an emergency.

It has nothing to do with my job being less important that his. To the contrary, I earn twice what my husband does, my job is very important to our family. It just has to do with the flexibility of our jobs.

MrsKCastle Thu 27-Feb-14 17:32:49

In my case, my DH does more of the cover than I do. His work is pretty flexible and will allow him to take annual leave at short notice if necessary. Most days it doesn't impact hugely on anyone other than himself, and he can make the time up on other days.

I teach and if I'm off it's a right pain for everyone concerned. So we don't split it 50:50- we split it to minimize overall impact on both workplaces. That said, if we needed to be off very often, or for a more extended period, the split would probably be more even.

I8toys Thu 27-Feb-14 17:36:05

Just recently had this when DS2 was off school with a virus.

We earn the same amount although I am PT. I have the ability to work at home and do so two days per week so took those days at home and another when I should have been in the office. My husband, a teacher, then took a day off. It is obviously harder for him to take the time off than me as they need to get cover.

But for me - its about respecting my employer by showing that we are both are willing to take the time off and try and share it - maybe not equally but we can be flexible if needed.

Cleartheclutter Thu 27-Feb-14 17:40:11

At my work, we are given 5 days of parental leave per year which we can use for childcare, child illness etc I use this up first and then myself and DH share other days

littlebluedog12 Thu 27-Feb-14 17:44:16

I absolutely think that, where possible, it should be 50/50. Or at least whoever's work will be least impacted that day, which may well not be the lower earner.

Eg my DD came down with a horrible bug on the same day that I was due to accompany my class as a TA to the science museum in London. If I hadn't gone to work they wouldn't have had enough adults to do the trip, they would possibly have taken a different TA out of class to do it but that would have impacted on her class, and she might not have been able to do it for childcare reasons as the coach was getting back late.

DH on the other hand, as a senior manager, was able to take the day off and do bits of work/phonecalls etc around looking after DD. Worked out better for everyone.

Joiningthegang Thu 27-Feb-14 17:44:22

I agree with affinia
We both work and often play work top trumps if one of the children is ill - often the more senior you are the easier it is to rearrange your day or work from home.

Also depend where you are when school call!

As a manager I get annoyed if one partner always does it and the other doesn't take responsibility. I would also probably no help but mention it at some point if it was especially inconvenient.

weebairn Thu 27-Feb-14 18:04:34

I'm a hospital doctor; my boyfriend does something on the internet for a mate.
I feel really guilty at the amount of time off he's had this year to look after the baby.
But I haven't had a single day off. I just CAN'T. Hospital on call shifts are not possible to call in sick to. We are so stretched. We are so understaffed already. Admissions are way up this year, every year they are older and sicker and it's just nonstop.
My employers have no idea how many days I would have had off if DP hadn't taken them.
It's a tricky one.

KristinaM Thu 27-Feb-14 18:06:30

Ooh all this melodrama makes me really cross! Not all the fathers in this country are brain surgeons or barristers or the prime minster. As others have pointed out, barristers are not in court every day, neurosurgeons don't operate every day .

Most father have perfectly ordinary jobs, like sales reps or bus drivers , loss adjusters or joiners. The British economy will not fail if they take a day off to look after their sick child.

Most of the father who say "I couldn't possibly take time off " actually mean things like

I'm too embarrassed to ask because no one else does
My colleagues won't take me so seriously
It's a woman's job
If might affect my chances of promotion
It will be awkward
I will have to catch up on the work another time
I might miss something important
It will be inconvenient for my team

All of which might be true. BUT they are true for mothers as well.

I hope all these mothers ( and their children ) who make all the financial and career sacrifices to enable their partner to earn lots more end up getting a fair share of the rewards of his career.

SuckItAndSee Thu 27-Feb-14 18:11:14

i assume most couple generally have a quick round of Diary Top Trumps

eg my ward round trumps would definitely trump his report writing, but in turn would be trumped by a court appearance.

TBH this system tends towards DH taking time off rather than me, but I would not hesitate to take time off if he were in court.

WWOOWW Thu 27-Feb-14 18:17:32

I work for a LA (social worker) and DH owns his own company (working away from the home). If he doesn't work he loses money. I get good A/L but no child related days.

Kids are rarely off sick but if they are I will generally do the part when they need to be at home and he takes them into work when they are feeling too rough for school but not sick iyswim.

affinia Thu 27-Feb-14 18:22:46

Yes they probably do but I was shocked at how many women sat in their reviews explaining their attendance issues by saying their DH/partner 'couldn't take any time off' as if that were the end of the story. Am sure they didn't feel great about it either and they really needed to have that discussion with their DH/DP, not during their work review. Completely agree with KristinaM's summary!

chutneypig Thu 27-Feb-14 18:44:03

Clearly family situations differ and each has to come to terms with dealing with sickness in the best way they can. For a percentage it clearly would be impossible for a50:50 split but I'd imagine the majority of cases fit with KristinaM's summary. And either way, the employer of the partner doing all the sick days is unlikely to view it as anything other than a negative. Why would they do otherwise?

For us it's varied as to who has taken more time, depending on the job situation at the time. Currently it's far more likely to be DH who takes the time but we always compare diaries.

Scholes34 Thu 27-Feb-14 19:14:16

It's all about mutual respect between you and your employer. I've taken odd days in the past, so has DH, who has a more senior role than me and can more easily arrange to work from home. To make up for time off work, I've gone in earlier on other days or left later. I've also been willing to go in at the weekend, when required, so it makes it a lot easier to ask for time off when needed.

I'm a bit shock about the poster who is allowed 80 hours' sick leave a year. What do you do if you fail to use up your quota before the end of the leave year?

MajorGrinch Fri 28-Feb-14 08:08:11

What's the score if you exceed your quota of leave & your employer won't give you unpaid leave? That may well happen at some stage & if you've come across as classing your job as second best it may not help your case!

Irregardless of which job pays the most, to your employer her job is the most important - she has no interest in your OH's job.

Which is perfectly correct.

WooWooOwl Fri 28-Feb-14 08:22:30

I can see both sides of this so I'm firmly on the fence!

As school support staff I'm paid a pittance and DH earns slightly more in a week than I make in a month, so it's a fact that his job is more important than mine with regards to our finances, especially as he's contract and doesn't get any sick or holiday pay.

But in reality there have been a couple of occasions where he has taken days off to cover childcare because I know that being a staff member down will mean chaos at school during certain lessons and children won't get the same level of education that day if one of us is missing. Plus me having a day off affects my colleagues a lot more than DH having a day off will affect his, so we find ourselves in a ridiculous situation where our family loses money for the sake of other people's children.

Ultimately I think I believe time off should be split between the couple, even if one partner is earning significantly more than the other.

BusinessUnusual Fri 28-Feb-14 08:24:24

Shared equally and I always casually mention "DC is sick today so DH is home; if he's still sick tomorrow I'll need to be off" or similar.

Diary top trumps to see who takes the first day.

If one if you works part time then I would have thought the other takes more days off (as on average the part time person will cover more with their normal days off)

However, if one work place has a better leave policy it might well not be50:50 but I'd try and keep it at 60:40 or something, def not 100:0 as seems to be the case here.

Dh was telling me about a country where any parental leave etc taken in the first half of the.month is done by thw men and in the second half of the.month by the women. Keeps things even I suppose!

BusinessUnusual Fri 28-Feb-14 08:27:36

For a school worker, the partner will never have to cover sick kids for one quarter of the year so if anything the partner should cover slightly more than 50% of term
Time sickness.

RedHelenB Fri 28-Feb-14 08:42:14

Why are barristers so important - court times can be rescheduled, it's hardly a matter of life & death!

KristinaM Fri 28-Feb-14 08:48:55

Woo -surely YOUR family is losing money because one of YOUR children is sick? And surely treating YOUR employer fairly is part of keeping YOUR job, which benefits YOUR family?

I dont see how your sharing such leave with your childrens father is somehow for the Benefit of other peoples children ?

I think some parents need to think beyond the short term issues of " who wil lose a days pay this month " and look toward as the long term. Women always being the one to take sick leave and expecting their employer to make allowances for them will ultimately damage their career , earning power and pension.

Juts remember that between 35-50% of the men for whom all these allowances are being made ( of course his job is more important than mine , he earns more ) will bugger off in the end . And if you want to know how many of them will be reasonable and do 50% of the child rearing and pay their share -check out the single parent and relationship threads here.

Chunderella Fri 28-Feb-14 09:01:23

In an ideal world, it would be split. In practice, that isn't realistic for a number of reasons. Obviously there are couples where one partner works away, or is in the forces. With the best will in the world, it's highly unlikely someone will be allowed back from Afghanistan in order to help their child observe the 48 hour rule.

Sometimes one job is just plain more important than the other, and not always the same one. For example, if one of you is a teacher, that person really can't miss deadline day for handing in coursework but it isn't so bad if they're not there in the final week of the summer term. If you're a barrister and it's the last day of a murder trial or a final hearing in a care case, it would be pretty negligent of you not to go. If it's a quick case management hearing, your colleague can cover easily enough. If you're a consultant and people have taken time off to see you, then you need to be there. But if you were having a paperwork day anyway, you can just as easily do that at home while you shove your 9 year old in front of a DVD.

Additionally, the consequences of taking time off may not be the same for both partners. If one of you is self employed, that person might lose a lot more than a day's pay by cancelling a client at short notice. If one of you has paid parental leave allocation and the other doesn't, of course you're going to use the paid portion first. If one of your employers is a complete bastard, you're going to try and avoid pissing that one off. In reality, these things are all going to weigh more heavily than strict 'fairness'. Regarding the OP, I can see why the supervisor might be pissed off but if employees have a contractual allowance and the person is nowhere near exceeding it, tough shit. I would also be watching her extremely carefully to ensure she didn't treat me less favourably because of it. So OP is NBU.

SuffolkNWhat Fri 28-Feb-14 09:02:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littledrummergirl Fri 28-Feb-14 11:27:44

Affinia, I absolutely agree that is is relevant to my family. My responsibilty first and foremost is to my family. If I had a career or a job that did more than pay a wage then it might be different.

babacoon Fri 28-Feb-14 11:36:03


I work in a highly pressurised job where sometimes it is just not possible to take time off so DH does most of the childcare.

Having said that I now make it a point to either take time off when DS is unwell or work from home to atleast be around him . Fortunately I can do it and I completely understand that most people wouldn't be able to make this sort of arrangement.

I think that if your company policy allows you to take time off when your DC is sick then no one should be telling you what your other half should be doing or not doing. It is your personal matter. Your boss/ company do not have an automatic right to dictate your personal life because they employ you.

SeaSickSal Fri 28-Feb-14 11:57:12

Noonar, you are coming up with a lot of hypotheticals but you don't say they apply to you. Yes if course if someone has a job where it's going to hugely impact other people (barrister, surgeon) an employer should be sympathetic. A hypothetical situation is no justification though.

She can't force you, but I think you would be blind not to see this will probably rule out promotion for you and mean you are first in line for redundancy.

JammieCodger Fri 28-Feb-14 13:13:49

Glad to see this has moved on from the 'Depends who's the main wage earner' argument. It should have nothing to do with who earns more money and be entirely down to whose job is more flexible on any given day.

Many low paid jobs are much less flexible than higher paid managerial posts. My husband and I both work in the same field. He is two grades higher than me and full time to my part time, but that's not something that comes into the equation at all. We look at if either of us has any immovable meetings, and if we're both equally free then it will come down to who drew the short straw last time. If we are both particuarly busy then one will aim to get into work very early, do five hours or so then head home and let the other go in and work late. On the extremely rare occasions that we both have meetings at the same time, it will more often be him who rearranges; its a benefit of his seniority that he's far more likely to be able to do that than I am.

BusinessUnusual Fri 28-Feb-14 13:17:17

Yy Jammie. I am client facing, DH manages an internal team and rarely has client meetings. That plays a part in diary top trumps.

Mushypeasandchipstogo Fri 28-Feb-14 21:06:25

It should be 50 / 50 as much as possible. It is in our house but it depends who has the busiest day. Incidentally most female GPs I know have au pairs or nannys who can help out if need be.

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!

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