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Time off work to look after a child

(9 Posts)
GypsieQueen Thu 21-Sep-17 20:57:45

Hi, I recently started a new job. It's on a 3 month fixed term contract with a possibility of it becoming permanent. My boss had reservations about employing me when the agency informed her I was a single mum. I have a two year old DD and don't have any family to help out with childcare. I've been with my job almost two months and so far have had to take 4 days off work to look after my daughter as she's been very poorly with tonsillitis. I've had no choice but to stay home as she's been so poorly. I'm so worried that this is going to mean that I won't be made permanent. I think it will have seriously jeopordise my chances, but I just don't know what else I could have done rather than take the time off work. She's likely to come down with a lot more illnesses with being at nursery and I expect I'm going to have to take more time off. I'm thinking that maybe I will have no alternative but to be a stay at home mum until she starts school. I love my job and being back at work, but right now, it feels like I might have no choice but to give up work, as I can't expect my employer to keep me on if I keep having to have time off work. Has anyone else been in a similar position? Thank you.

makeitpink Thu 21-Sep-17 21:00:38

They can't not offer you a permanent job just because you are a single parent. That would be discriminatory. I think I'm terms of being a stay at home mum then that's something you need to decide. Can you afford it? If so I would take the opportunity to have that time with your daughter. Good luck wineflowers

ineedamoreadultieradult Thu 21-Sep-17 21:04:33

Unless your DD has any long term health conditions she shouldn't be I'll enough to cause holding down a job to be a problem. Yes it sounds unlikely your fixed term contract will be made permanent. Maybe look for a job that can be a bit more flexible. I have a job where we work shifts and we regularly swap shifts to help each other in such circumstances. As long as there is someone in doing the hours they don't mind who it is. We also have the option of working the missed hours back at another time. If she is new to childcare she will pick up a lot of bugs at the start but that will soon settle down. I also find when you are working you sometimes have to be a bit more harsh on what you consider a 'staying at home's illness.

Kr1s Thu 21-Sep-17 21:08:54

Did you take the four days as annual leave or unpaid leave or as sick leave ?

Does your child have particular health problems ?

Can't her father take some days off to care for her when she's sick ?

I don't understand why you think it will be different when she's at school - will she be sick less then ?

It's much better for you and your daughter in the long term for you to be in work rather than dependent on benefits , so do your best to keep this job.

BitchQueen90 Thu 21-Sep-17 21:35:46

Me OP. I'm a single parent, I do have family support but not regular as my parents still work full time. My DS's dad is involved but he works shifts and works away a lot so isn't often available.

I stayed on benefits until DS was 3 and then worked nights for a year as that's the only time my parents could help out, DS stayed with them overnight. Luckily these were sleep ins so I could sleep on shift.

DS has just started school and I've been incredibly lucky to find a 10-2 job where they are very flexible and you can take days off as unpaid leave if needed.

museumum Thu 21-Sep-17 21:38:01

My ds is 4 and I think I’ve only had to rearrange work about four days in the last 3.5 years!

GypsieQueen Sat 23-Sep-17 23:26:21

Thank you all for your replies. My daughter doesn't have any health issues but this tonsillitis really hit her hard. It hasn't been discussed how I will take the leave but I will offer to take it all as unpaid leave or combined unpaid and annual leave. My daughter's father lives 4 hours away so it isn't really an option for him to look after her. Plus I don't think he would even if he lived closer. museumum you are very fortunate. Can i ask if you work full time or part time, have any flexibility with work hours and any family or friends to look after your son when he is poorly?

SingingMySong Sun 24-Sep-17 00:45:26

Tonsillitis can be nasty.

Sometimes you just have to do what you can, keep positive and cross your fingers. It would be daft to quit just in case your contract is not renewed. She might not get ill time after time, and as PP says, she is not magically going to stop being ill when she starts school either. It's quite common to have a run of illness when they first start, then it settles down. You're not going to sit at home until she's 11 just in case she gets ill, are you?

I think it helps to be pro-active and come to your employer with a solution if possible. When she is a bit older, or if she is particularly poorly, could you WFH, or offer to make up hours, if they want and the type of work fits it - does DD's dad have her at weekends at all? Or could you work evenings from home? If you can't, though, you can't. Nurseries are not very flexible but I've only ever worked for people who understand that.

We have more options than you, but my mum has done maybe a couple of days over the entire sick days of my 8 and 10 year old, so it's not the difference between holding down a job or not. I think the most important thing is to show a diligent attitude generally and try to minimise the impact on your work, within the bounds of what's possible. Some bosses may not be able to see past x days taken off, but many will be able to spot a hard worker who's just got unlucky.

School holidays are also a big challenge. I never understood how people managed them, but I saw that they did, and now we muddle through like everyone else does. Don't be defeated.

museumum Sun 24-Sep-17 12:55:27

I work four days a week. The four times I’ve had to rearrange work I have usually managed to do some work from home sharing care with dh and mil (who also works so not totally available).
But even in your circumstances that would still only have amounted to just over once per year you’d have to miss work. Definitely not worth giving up your job for!!

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