Employer addressing me taking day off with sick child

(48 Posts)
solveproblem Tue 04-Dec-12 17:50:22

I've been with my current employer for a year, I have not had any days off sick for myself but a few when my chikdren have been poorly. In this year I've been here I've probably had 5 days off with them.

This month I've had 1.5 days off. My childminder phoned at 3pm one day (I normally finish at 5) and told me my DS1 had been sick so I left work to pick him up.
My husband stayed home the following day with him and then I took a day off with him.

Today I got called in to a meeting where my boss addressed this and said it is putting them in an awkward position, but that he understands that I need to stay home with my children when they're sick.

I said that I was terribly sorry but that I had not had a choice but to stay home, I also explained that me and my husband always share these days equally between us.

He again said that it's "putting them in an awkward position" with me having days off. They will not deduct anything from my wages this time but if this continues we will have to have further discussions.

Now, I know for a fact this will continue, kids are kids and they are going to get sick now and then.

So can anyone please tell me what my rights (and responsibilities) are when it comes to taking days off with poorly children?

trueblood1fan Tue 04-Dec-12 17:56:32

just phone in sick yourself if dc are ill - simples :-)

flowerytaleofNewYork Tue 04-Dec-12 17:57:11

Well if they've been paying you so far that's very generous.

You are entitled to unpaid emergency dependents leave, which is for unexpected situations and would include a day or two for child illnesses, although if your child is ill for longer you'd be expected to use the time to make alternative arrangements.

flowerytaleofNewYork Tue 04-Dec-12 17:58:18

Do not phone in sick if you are not sick, that's really not a good idea.

PurpleTinsel Tue 04-Dec-12 17:59:54

My employer will let staff take holiday or unpaid leave if they need to be off work to look after sick children.

As far as I know, employers are under no obligation to give you paid leave in order to look after sick children.

MoreBeta Tue 04-Dec-12 18:00:04

You are not supposed to claim you are sick when your children are sick. The employer is paying you sick pay I presume?

As far as I am aware you are entitled to take emergency dependent leave, usually unpaid, in order to care for a sick child, but this is usually only for a day or so and you would be expected to have something else in place after that.

Pourquoimoi Tue 04-Dec-12 18:01:41

Agree totally with flowerytaleofnewyork both with regards to rights and the fact that you shouldn't call in sick if you are not sick.
You are lucky that they have paid you so far.

solveproblem Tue 04-Dec-12 18:02:09

Thanks flowery,

I know they are being generous paying me, I wouldn't mind them deducting pay it is just that I didn't like the fact that I got called in to a meeting and it seemed like such a big problem.

When you say a day or two, is that in a year or per occassion?

We would not be able to make alternative arrangements as we have no family nearby.

mnistooaddictive Tue 04-Dec-12 18:02:15

You are entitle to "reasonable" time off but it doesn't have to be paid. They have been very generous so far!

Ladymuck Tue 04-Dec-12 18:05:10

What flowery said: you have the right to take unpaid emergency leave to sort out emergency childcare (and that would usually cover a day or two off ill), but that is it. In terms of the discussion with your boss so far, how is your absence being treated? Unpaid or as sick leave or as annual leave?

Ladymuck Tue 04-Dec-12 18:06:07

When you took the day off did you phone and ask for unpaid leave?

solveproblem Tue 04-Dec-12 18:08:19

Ladymuck; I don't know how the absence is being treated, it has never shown on my payslip and I have never had any pay deducted. I am very grateful for them not deducting pay, I do not take it for granted.

charllie Tue 04-Dec-12 18:08:22

You are entitled to I think 15 days a year unpaid when you have a sick child under the age of 5. Double check online though

LaCiccolina Tue 04-Dec-12 18:08:37

Don't use ur own sick leave. This could leave u in open for discipline later or play into their hands if any question of ur performance ever arises.

Firms have ways of noting this type of leave as flowery describes. Usually the idea is really for u to make alternative arrangements to avoid being off long. They do have to be fair and across the board. Depending on ur type of work, leave could be agreed to be unpaid.

Are there ways you can catch up with missed work? Laptops? Extra shift? It's worth being very nice as it makes it much harder to be cross with someone whose trying hard. Keep a personal diary of days, offers and where they are accepted etc. I'd advise against outward stroppyness even if you feel aggrieved (and honestly u would be a saint if u didn't!) as that makes it very easy for a boss to act hard. It's all a bit of a game you see. A long one. Keep ur back covered.

Most work places are the same unfortunately.... sad

YDdraigGoch Tue 04-Dec-12 18:09:50

Being able to look after a sick child while you're working is always a problem. Unless you lie and say you are sick yourself (which would certainly be a disciplinary if you were found out), you'd have to take holiday, although that could be very inconvenient for the employer.

When you take a job, you'd be expected to have adequate child are and emergency cover in place. It's not your employer's problem.

I'm not surprised they've started to get difficult.

bakingaddict Tue 04-Dec-12 18:09:55

I work in the NHS and we are allowed 6 carer's days each year but it only covers the first day of illness. If you need longer you take it as annual leave or unpaid.

It's up to them if they have decided to pay you but it's unreasonable of your employer not to let you take it as AL or unpaid and to make out it's going to be dealt with like it's a disciplinary matter

solveproblem Tue 04-Dec-12 18:10:41

Ladymuck; I've always phoned in and said that I can unfortunately not come in due to sick child and I've always been apologetic about it. I have never asked for a specific kind of leave as I don't know what it would be classed as.

NaiceDude Tue 04-Dec-12 18:12:37

Definitely ask for a VPN connection on your personally-owned computer for these occasions so you can login from home. You need to be at home but you can still work. They'll probably have spare licenses for any programmes you need (such as Outlook) as businesses buy them in bulk.

Employers need to be more bloody flexible for parents.

Ladymuck Tue 04-Dec-12 18:14:36

Do you have an employee handbook? Does it cover emergency dependents leave? If so, is there a procedure to follow?

If there isn't then perhaps if you show them the directgov section on it, they will be aware that they need to give you some unpaid leave. Hopefully that will leave you with a compromise whereby you still get the leave that you need, but they are not left feeling out of pocket.

givemeaclue Tue 04-Dec-12 18:17:01

Well they are paying her, can't get more flexible than that!

Op normally this time off would be UNpaid so they are being supportive.

Ask for the policy on dependants leave, he they haven't got one statutory applies.

Work out a way to work from home or hire an emergency nanny. If dh has also had 5days off does that mean your dc has had 10 days sick?

givemeaclue Tue 04-Dec-12 18:18:02

Wouldn't draw their attention to the fact they don't need to pay you!

mnistooaddictive Tue 04-Dec-12 18:20:05

The fact that you have no family nearby is your responsibility and not your employers. You can have 2 days off to make alternative arrangements but legally that is all.

solveproblem Tue 04-Dec-12 18:24:21

If I wouldn't be able to make alternatice arrangements afet two days, what would happen? Can they sack me?

Just read through the handbook, it doesn't mention dependants leave.

Ladymuck Tue 04-Dec-12 18:48:57

They could start their disciplinary process.

Emergency dependents leave is a statutory right I believe, so they have to offer that, though as has been pointed out it is a right to have unpaid time to sort out childcare, not to actually provide it yourself.

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