Is this person taking the piss?

(42 Posts)
Multifacetediguana Sat 03-Mar-12 13:57:05

A colleague in my department has just announced her third pregnancy in as many years. She has returned from Maternity leave twice already pregnant and because she has high risk pregnancies (gd) she has to have numerous appointments and scans and so in the past few years, when she has been at work and not on mat leave she has never done a full week without any absence. She has also regulalry missed work through her dc's being ill, which is perhaps inevitable. I know how important maternity right are, how hard women fought to get them, and have taken advantage of them myself, and i am aware that this colleague has been unlucky in terms of her health etc, but the problem is that her erratic attendance is fostering a lot of resentment amongst the rest of the department who are having to cover for her. A case of compassion fatigue, I think. People feel she is taking the mick and I am increasingly inclined to agree with them, even though I am sympathetic to her situation. Aibu?

McQueasy Sat 03-Mar-12 13:58:25


Multifacetediguana Sat 03-Mar-12 13:59:42

Yes iabu or yes she is taking the mick?

McQueasy Sat 03-Mar-12 14:00:30

Yes you are being unreasonable, not she is taking the piss
We all go through difficult times, hope you and ur colleagues find a bit more compassion

Llareggub Sat 03-Mar-12 14:01:12

You are being utterly unreasonable.

insancerre Sat 03-Mar-12 14:04:46

She is obviously being entirely unreasonable and should have had her ovaries removed to save you and her colleagues the inconvenience of having to have a litttle bit of sympathy, understanding and empathy.

MaybeBBaby Sat 03-Mar-12 14:09:26

Firstly GD doesnt make u high risk!! I had GD SPD and severe anaemia, an still wasnt high risk! So you dont know much.

YABU and sound terribly bitter about it! I wa treated brilliantly about my appointments, and Im glad i dont work with you!!! angry

nappymaestro Sat 03-Mar-12 14:15:35


attitudes like yours kept me struggling into work when I was pg and feeling ill.

Multifacetediguana Sat 03-Mar-12 14:18:18

Maybe she uses the term high risk herself, I was not aware it was incorrect. I have been pg at work myself and grateful for the support of my colleagues. But seriously, to have not done a full week in 3 years??

insancerre Sat 03-Mar-12 14:22:46

So, she has 2 children already and is about to have her third in 3 years and is still managing to work full time?
Blimey, I think she deserves a medal!

SardineQueen Sat 03-Mar-12 14:23:12

God I remember when I was pg my boss didn't want me to have time off to go to the hosp for my anti-D jabs on the basis that "she didn't have to have them and had never heard of them".

Begrudging someone time off to go for scans and hosp appts is really shit. Most people would rather be at work than sitting in overheated uncomfortable waiting rooms for hours before variously having to disrobe be prodded and poked and jabbed with needles.


SardineQueen Sat 03-Mar-12 14:24:17

Ohh sorry this isn't in AIBU!

Whoops blush

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 03-Mar-12 14:26:17

I disagree...I think YANBU.

Coconutty Sat 03-Mar-12 14:28:55

UANBU, she is hardly managing to work full time is she, if she hasnt done a full week in 3 years?!

I bet she has the 3rd one, takes maternity leave and then quits.

I wouldnt begrudge anyone time off for doc apps etc but it sounds like she is taking the piss to me. Do the other posters think its reasonable to expect other people to do her work and cover for her for 3 years?

If she wants a family, then great but hanging on to a job that she isnt managing to do isnt fair on the rest of the workers.

Personally I think it is taking the piss, how can she have not worked a full week in 3 years?
I have been in the same job for 15 years, been through 3 pregnancys, maternity leave, dc illness etc but my attendance record is a hell of a lot better than this.

I don't understand why people think this us acceptable, people like this are the ones who make employers reluctant to hire working mothers.

DumSpiroSpero Sat 03-Mar-12 14:36:59

TBH I can see it from both sides. If I was her employer or colleague I would find the situation frustrating, but what's the alternative? Women having to give up work completely if they want kids? Dictating how many children a woman has or how big an age gap between them?

It can't really work any other way so it's just a case of like it or lump it.

Mrsrobertduvall Sat 03-Mar-12 14:40:06

Sorry...I thought it was aibu too!

Coconutty Sat 03-Mar-12 14:41:34

OP has asked AIBU at the end of post so I think we can answer AIBU styley!

bigkidsdidit Sat 03-Mar-12 14:58:04

Well... I had a baby last year and am working full time so I don't believe women should stop working. But this is taking the piss a bit I think. Someone in my work has done this, two year long mat leaves and both times come back pregnant. It's impossible to plan, to get her projects flowing smoothly etc. it's really hard on the employer.

bbcessex Sat 03-Mar-12 15:02:09


SardineQueen Sat 03-Mar-12 15:43:41

The gripe of the OP is that this woman needs to have lots of hospital appointments when she is pregnant. How is that out of order?

Like I say, my manager tried to stop me going for anti-D jabs on the basis she didn't need them. Was she being reasonable too?

mockingjay Sat 03-Mar-12 17:29:16

YANBU to be fed up of covering for her OP. Yes women should be entitled to maternity leave but not at the expense of everybody else's long term workload. That sounds like very poor management. Does the company contract somebody in while she is on leave? I know that doesn't cover hospital appointments etc before the leave, but definitely a good starting point.

Perhaps a you could make your concerns known - in the form of having too much work to do yourself, rather than she is not doing enough? The company will continue to take the piss if they can IMO.

bunnyspoiler Sat 03-Mar-12 17:40:52

It is hard on the staff left behind, as much as we all appreciate the flexibility and protection offered by enhanced rights, longer paid mat leave and protection it is difficult to argue it does not have a negative impact on others. Most women where I work are now away for 12-15 months with leave accumulated and training up a constant stream of short term replacements is very hard for the other staff. Especially when the person is also off sick on and off throughout their pregnancy or when they return. I'd like to see how the scandinavian countries manage it. Their staff cannot be as overworked and so capacity for cover is better (is all I can think).

Floggingmolly Sat 03-Mar-12 17:54:29

Well look at it from another viewpoint . If she had a chronic illness that rendered her incapable of doing her job properly (and being unable to work a full week on a long term basis is surely that) it would be grounds for dismissal.
When she's not at her desk, who picks up the slack? Choosing to go through a 3rd pregnancy in 3 years while attempting to hold onto the job you haven't actually done properly for years is a bit of a piss take, actually.

Multifacetediguana Sat 03-Mar-12 19:30:09

Thank you for your responses. I struggled to understand a decision to have another dc as she does not have straightforward pregnancies or easy babies (both terrible sleepers) but someone suggested that the risks associated with gf will increase with age so that is perhaps why she is having them so close, not that it is any of my business, I know. And she really is not able to do her job properly. We are a strong and supportive department and will always be willing to help a struggling colleague, but this has gone on for 3 years! She also does not do herself any favors, for example
She openly admits that she lies to payroll and tells them that she is sick rather than her dc's so she doesn't get it unpaid.

Multifacetediguana Sat 03-Mar-12 19:30:31

Gd sorry

I don't think she is taking the mick re having her family- maternity benefits are designed to protect working mothers, and there isn't a limit on how many times you can benefit from them.

However, if she isn't doing her work properly, maybe that's a management issue? If (due to ANY reason) someone was consistently unable to perform their job, there should be some performance appraisal systems in place to identify and deal with this.

Perhaps, because it's due to maternity leave, management are not addressing the issue (fear of reprisals?) - which is that she is not capable of performing her job to the level required. You never know, if it were done properly, she might jump at the chance of changing roles to something more suited to her capabilities. This would also benefit the company as they could put someone in her current position that is capable of doing the work.

Separately though if she is lying to payroll and saying she is sick rather than her dc's, I think that is well out of order. Personally, I kept back some annual leave each year to use when my DD was sick (I am a single parent so it was down to me). I have a great employer who has very good family friendly policies - so because they treated me well, I treated them well back. I got a nice surprise about 5 years ago when my DD grew out of all the childhood illnesses - it came to the end of the holiday year and I had 10 days left, most unexpected!

northerngirl41 Thu 15-Mar-12 14:27:01

I do think that she's being unreasonable - she's paid to do a job, she's not doing it and is landing everyone else with having to take up the slack. It's not fair and it's taking other people away from their families when they need to do overtime or get stressed about their workload etc. So it's all very well defending her rights, but what about all the other people who work there?

Can you look at your employee handbook on sick leave and put her on SSP when she goes over the allowance straight away? It wouldn't work if it was pregnancy related sickness obviously, but for all those days off because the kids are ill or because she's knackered, it would certainly incentivise her to get out her bed and into work?

hifi Thu 15-Mar-12 14:41:44

shes taking the piss

Gillypom Fri 20-Apr-12 15:02:44

Most mums can and will sympathize with this lady and expect entitlement beyond reasonable bounds (because it's so hard being a mum right?)

Well wake up my fellow ladies!! Life is hard and if you can't afford to have children and that includes saving for it rather than expecting an employer to fund time off then you should have kept your legs shut, found a partner who can afford it or BUDGET properly!! Just because maternity rights are lawful does NOT make it right or fair to other employees or your employer.

HateBeingCantDoUpMyJeans Sat 21-Apr-12 09:05:39

She is taking what she can get, although I don't like tge sick bit I don't have a problem as such with tge mat leave. Her fibs about the dcs illness would make me doubt other things, like how sick she is during pg.

As a manager I found it hard to believe sometimes when peopke has x,y and z happen all at once. Unfortunately after changing jobs I have been tgat person over tge last couple of years.

I can totally understand why you feel like you do, she isn't doing herself any favours at all.

TeddyBare Sat 21-Apr-12 09:20:25

OP, if your work load has gone up enough that there is an expectation that you will do more overtime than you are willing to, or that you are suffering in some way from having to cover for her, then speak to your manager. If the team who are left there are unable to cover all of the work without it being an unreasonable burden, then they need to hire someone else too.

As for this woman taking the piss, I think YABU. If you're being asked to do too much then your problem is with your manager, not with anyone else who might otherwise have been asked to do the work. She is entitled to maternity leave and if the company can't afford to cover her while she is away, then their business plan is a disaster. No one campaigns for companies to get let off of other statutory obligations like taking safety precautions, or paying tax, even when they are expensive. I don't see why maternity pay is seen as something entirely different and somehow less valuable or "unfair" for businesses.

TeddyBare Sat 21-Apr-12 09:23:02

Gillypom shock Are you being serious? Of course it is fair for women to take all of the maternity payment they are entitled to. Why should women, and therefore children, loose out on money they are legal entitled to, so that a business can make a bigger profit? What kind of priority is that?

Blueskyclouds Sat 21-Apr-12 12:55:56

In my workplace (nhs) in there is never any provision for cover when someone is sick or on mat leave. We all just struggle on and get it in the neck from managers who think we should just somehow make up the gap. This kind of situation would be incredibly stressful.

finefatmama Sat 21-Apr-12 22:45:01

YANBU. It's v unreasonable to expect that your workmates who have better attendance records want to be told that you have been lying to get paid while they've been covering the absence. That is taking the piss.

Tranquilidade Sat 21-Apr-12 22:54:32

I think maternity benefits should be capped to prevent this sort of thing. I worked with somebody in a management role who took 4 maternity leaves in fairly quick succession which meant others had to work harder to cover the gap. The irony was that so many others got fed up with the workload and left that she got promoted!

SardineQueen Sat 21-Apr-12 23:08:45

Old thread.

thecook Mon 19-Nov-12 01:12:55

She should resign. She is taking the living piss. If she wants that many kids she should pack up and be a full time mummy

thecook Mon 19-Nov-12 01:16:59

And get the husband to support her.

thecook Mon 19-Nov-12 01:22:43

God I am so cross with women like this. I am 42. Childless by choice. Fed up with carrying smug mummies.

chocolatesolveseverything Mon 19-Nov-12 15:32:31

Hmmmm I find this a difficult one. Whilst it really annoys me to see women disadvantaged for simply trying to perpetuate the human race, if this lady hasn't managed a full week of work in three years, then IMO that puts an unfair burden on the employer. Why should the company owner pay out that much money in wages, annual leave costs etc, (and even 8% SMP contributions) and get so little in return?

This sounds like an extreme case and because of that, if I were this lady, my conscience would force me to ask myself, 'is it realistic for me to remain in this job for a third pregnancy when I'm not even managing to cope with work after the first two?'

chocolatesolveseverything Mon 19-Nov-12 15:34:33

Oops just realised this was an old thread. Hadn't noticed, sorry!

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