I am running a training programme for a company on how to do return to work interviews. All the managers are male. Many of the employees are young mums.
Among the many areas to cover I have to advise them on handling two issues and as a male manager myself, I am hoping that the users of Mumsnet will be able to share their expertise.
Scenario 1) the Mum rings in sick, but really its the child who is sick. Strictly speaking they have lied... disciplinary? What is best practice for dealing with mothers at work who take off time with sick children.
Scenario 2) Female employee is off sick with what us men would call "Women's problems" ie gynaecological. The Return to work process requires details to assess whether absence genuine and to ensure employee is getting right support both from doctor and at work. Men typically hate such conversations. Does anyone have advice on how to tackle it sensitively?
Scenario 1) You have a company ethos mature enough to acknowledge that parents may need to take time off at short notice for a sick child. This web page may help. You may find it beneficial to encourage fathers to also think about taking time off to look after sick children - it shouldn't just be seen as the mother's role. That way, nobody needs to lie about anything.
Scenario 2) The manager simply needs to pass the sick note to HR, or allow the employee to self-certify, and then ask if there is anything that the company can do to support the return to work. There is no guideline for things like miscarriage, but where I work, it is usually around 1-2 weeks sick leave, but we have a good support network of women who have been through similar, so we are there for each other. There is no right/wrong - it entirely depends on the circumstances. Your (male) managers don't need to get all icky about it, just acknowledge that some things take time and space to heal. You may also want to think about authorising short term absence, or creating flexible working arrangements so that men can support their partners going through such tough times. Although it is the woman that miscarries, it is also a father who has lost his child too, and that should be acknowledged.
Scenario 1) Yes it's a disciplinary issue, and a serious one. Difficult to prove though obviously. In terms of dealing with it generally, presumably people are fraudulently claiming to be sick themselves because that way they get paid and if it was emergency dependent's leave they wouldn't? To avoid that you could consider offering the option to take annual leave at very short notice for this type of thing, or even offer a limited number of discretionary paid days off for emergencies involving dependents.
Scenario 2) I can't imagine why you would need any more detail than 'gynaecological problems'. It's perfectly easy to ask whether the employee is getting support from the doctor and whether there is anything the manager can do to support her.
The Return to work process requires details to assess whether absence genuine and to ensure employee is getting right support both from doctor and at work. Men typically hate such conversations. Does anyone have advice on how to tackle it sensitively?
What sort of details are you suggesting you need? I'm not sure how a manager can establish a genuine gynaecological absence . If someone had piles would you feel the need to investigate and verify if the absence was needed? You are not a Dr ? Why are women's problems different to any other health condition? I think you're either over thinking this or being intrusive
my DH's work run a scheme where you can have a paid day off if your child is sick its brillaint 2 - I have just been poking around and found an ACAS booklet which suggests that if the person feels more comfortable discussing issue with someone of the same sex they do so