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To think that a miscarriage shouldn't count as sickness absence from work...

(167 Posts)
lurcherlover Wed 04-Jul-12 15:05:24

...because pregnancy complications don't, do they? You can be off for weeks with HG etc and it doesn't go on your absence record. So why does miscarriage?

The background to this is that I had tonsillitis (a recurrent problem for me) in Jan and was off for 2 days. Then in May I had a missed mc (only found out at the dating scan) and subsequently an ERPC. I was signed off for a fortnight. On my return to work ( I'm a teacher) I found a lovely letter telling me that two periods of sickness absence within 6 months triggers "attendance concerns" and that I had to attend a meeting with someone from HR, to which I could take a union rep if I wished (jeez, thanks). I was really upset and told the head I couldn't go to this meeting (what was there to be said? Did they really think I wanted to be off for a fortnight recovering from a miscarriage?) in the end the meeting didnt happen but the miscarriage still counts as a period of sickness absence.

I've now got tonsillitis again (luckily Weds is my day off) and have just been to the dr and prescribed antibiotics. She told me to take the rest of the week off, but I feel I can't (much as I should) as I will get another bloody letter and a meeting when I go back and I'm really worried my sickness record looks bad. If it wasn't for the mc I wouldn't get a letter as it's 2 episodes of sickness in 6 months that triggers it and I was last off in Jan. AIBU to think classing a mc as sickness absence is unfair? And what do I do about this week?

fruitysummer Wed 04-Jul-12 15:10:31

What else would you have it classed as?

I understand what you are saying and think some discretion and empathy could be used but I don't see how employers have any other choice.

You were 'sick' if you weren't you'd have been in work.

Aworryingtrend Wed 04-Jul-12 15:11:05

That sounds awful and grossly unfair, I am [shocked] and angry for you. Of course it shouldn't count against you in that sense and fancy having to go to a meeting to discuss something so upsetting. As you say pregnancy illness doesn't count against you so goodness knows a mc shouldn't. have you raised this with the Head? What has s/he said?

BupcakesandCunting Wed 04-Jul-12 15:11:59


Should be compassionate leave.

Do HR know the reasons for your leave in May? Your boss could have just entered you as "sick" when really you could have had CL. I would take the time off for tonsilitis and talk to HR when you get back.

Hope you are OK smile

WithoutCaution Wed 04-Jul-12 15:12:22

It is unfair. Talk to your union rep and/or ask the head why they feel that an mc is recorded but other things aren't.

MAYBELATERNOWIMBUSY Wed 04-Jul-12 15:12:25

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

lurcherlover Wed 04-Jul-12 15:13:12

Fruity, I think it shouldn't count in the same way pregnancy-related illness doesn't count. If my pregnancy had been successful I c

Ambivalence Wed 04-Jul-12 15:13:13

I don't think you should worry about this, these are just "automated processes", i am sure if you go to the meeting, hrs will be understanding and just note it as no cause for concern - or you could ask in the meeting for the time off for the miscarriage to be removed from your sickness record and be recorded as special leave or something else?
I suspect your manager has no discretion to do this

lurcherlover Wed 04-Jul-12 15:14:22

Fruity, I think it shouldn't count in the same way pregnancy-related illness doesn't count. If my pregnancy had been successful I could have been signed off for a month with extreme morning sickness and it wouldn't have gone on my absence record. How is that fair?

Piemistress Wed 04-Jul-12 15:14:29

I thought pregnancy related absences were not allowed to count On your absences record?. Try the employment threads

PrettyFlyForAWifi Wed 04-Jul-12 15:14:51

So sorry for your loss. Does a miscarriage not count as pregnancy related illness, which would therefore not be part of your sickness record?

Piemistress Wed 04-Jul-12 15:15:05

Ps so sorry for your loss, mc really sucks ass x

whathellcall Wed 04-Jul-12 15:15:38

That's really unfair sad. I know in our workplace illness during pregnancy doesn't count but anything after does regardless of whether it is pregnancy related. However I would have thought that in the case of a miscarriage the time off could be classed as Grief Reaction following a loss, in which case it shouldn't count against you either. I know when I was off after my mother died it was classed as that, and it is one of the exemptions alongside illness in pregnancy.

squeakytoy Wed 04-Jul-12 15:15:39

Not sure really... you couldnt go in work, so you were off due to sickness.

It is still sick leave.

Ariel24 Wed 04-Jul-12 15:16:26

So sorry to hear about your mc. I agree that it shouldn't count as sickness absence, it's a horrible thing for a woman to go through and you deserve more support from your employer, not threats of meetings about attendance concerns.

If iit was me, I would definitely take the rest of the week off. You need to rest and get better. Then I'd go along to the meeting at work and make it clear my absences were totally valid and there are no problems with my attendance. If you are able to do it as well, I'd raise the issue about a mc being treated as sickness absence and how that is unfair. Im a bit fiery though and would probably tell them to contact my dr if they had any problems with it.

I hope you feel better soon xx

NimpyWindowMash Wed 04-Jul-12 15:17:33

It might have been better to agree to the meeting with HR so that you could ask for it to be not counted as sickness absence. Can you explain to HR and have it changed? It sounds upsetting, but it's just procedure, not a personal vendetta.

Ilovedaintynuts Wed 04-Jul-12 15:18:13

I'm afraid you were sick as having a m/c meant you were no longer pregnant so weren't having pregnancy complications.

There are being horrible though. To me, in this instance, the best form of defence is attack. This is actually a form of harrassment and possible discrimination (?) for having a chronic illness. I wouldn't be intimidated or bullied. If you are not well enough to work and you have a Dr's cert. then there is not much they can do.

They sound like a shower of shit.

ForSaletotheHighestBidder Wed 04-Jul-12 15:18:29

In my company any sickness absence counts as an absence, and similarly, more than 2 absences in a 6 month period means that you have a "chat" with your manager. However the individual managers would be aware of the reason for the absence and would not have the "chat" with the individual, considering the circumstances. I'm surprised you were summoned to a formal meeting, but even if you had gone I'm sure it would have been "oh you had a m/c, I'm terribly sorry, well we have to do this meeting because its the rules, now go get yourself a cuppa and get back to work"..

lurcherlover Wed 04-Jul-12 15:18:56

Thanks for the compassion there, maybelater. Clearly you've never had a miscarriage.

Thanks to everyone else - I think I need to speak to HR and see if this can be removed from my record. I was signed off by the hospital though, which might complicate trying to turn it into CL.

LordGiveMeStrength Wed 04-Jul-12 15:19:28

I agree with Ambi and not worry. Your sicknesses have been legit and not abusive of the system.

I work in government and there are just automatic triggers. It doesnt' sound like you are a habitual abuser of sick leave. I had to conduct a couple of those "return to work" meetings with one of my workers, but she was definitely taking the piss. She missed 5 months due to depression (during which time she posted to facebook every day how she was so excited for christmas and how she managed to get all her shopping done and her house decorated), then after 3 weeks back (i suspect she only came back because at 6 months our council stops paying sick leave) she went back off on another sick note.

this is not the case with you.

If it really concerns you, you can speak to HR and have them change your MC sick leave to annual leave. I know when I had two bouts of tonsillitis (which is horrific) I took it as annual leave instead of sick.

KellyElly Wed 04-Jul-12 15:19:32

Slightly off topic but I suffered recurrent tonsillitis and had my tonsils out in Jan this year. It was the best thing I ever did. I didn't realise how run down I was and people who have it a lot basically have it all the time just waiting to flair up.

I think your work are being unfair and it's horrible you should have to justify yourself after going through a miscarriage x

Wigglewoo Wed 04-Jul-12 15:21:51

I think that's very unfair... Sorry for your loss.

I think they should record it as sickness but it shouldn't count towards a disciplinary ... It should just be written off.

I think you should take the rest of the week off as per your doctors suggestion and then I would argue my ass off on my return if they tried to say anything to me about it... Can you ring ACAS and ask for their advice?

Spuddybean Wed 04-Jul-12 15:22:08

I work in HR for a large company and all pregnancy related illnesses go on the records as illnesses. Also any mc which happens before 26wks you aren't actually entitled to any leave - compassionate leave is at the discretion of the employer other than that it would be sick leave. If you have a miscarriage after 26 weeks you are entitled to full Mat leave still.

Same as anything like IVF - all at the discretion of the employer.

whathellcall Wed 04-Jul-12 15:22:50

Good luck Lurcher. Hope you get it sorted, don't let them upset you thanks

hackmum Wed 04-Jul-12 15:23:04

What others have said - it sounds like an automated process.

Anyway, sorry to sound like a bastard, it's not intentional, I'm just curious, but why two weeks off work for a miscarriage? I think I had a couple of days for mine, but I was only 7 or 8 weeks gone. Was yours a late one?

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