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to be offended and angry with my employers?

(28 Posts)
dobedobedo Wed 23-Oct-13 15:41:01

I'm 12ish weeks pregnant and two weeks ago I worked all week despite having a fever and a bad cold and bad morning sickness. I really wanted to be at home but there was no one else who could do my job and they put a lot of pressure on me to come in and stay in work.
The following Monday, I had cover. I still had wretched morning sickness and I was exhausted from the week before (and coughing which made ms worse) so I took the day off.

After that they informed me I wasn't getting paid for this. Despite the fact I've had time off work sick before and I have been paid.

My contract says I don't get paid if I'm sick, but I did some digging, and despite what my contract says, if I've been paid before I was pregnant, it's implied that I will be paid and if they don't pay me when I'm pregnant it's discrimination and not legal/allowed.

I raised this with my employers and they said that yes, they understand why I'm offended, especially as I worked the whole week before when I should have been at home and yes, what they did doesn't appear legal. But that the only reason I got paid before was because one of the directors "dropped the ball" and forgot to tell the other directors. And they will draw a line under it and not pursue me for the money they've paid me before "by mistake"!

It just sounds like bullshit to me. Yeah my contract says I shouldn't get paid, but that doesn't matter in a case like this.

Oh and my manager also told me that she thinks I was going to get a company car but I won't get one now that I'm pregnant. (I can't prove I was going to get a car though, but my contract mentions one!)

So I'm quite upset about all this. I work late, come into the office on weekends and don't ask for extra. I've worked every day (bar 1) even with bad morning sickness every day. And they're being so mean. I'm fucked off but I don't feel like there's anything I can do. Should I just get over it and accept that some bosses are just horrible?

NadiaWadia Wed 23-Oct-13 15:50:08

Is that even legal? Sounds dodgy to me, and blatant discrimination against you because of your pregnancy. Are you in a union? Or alternatively, could you call ACAS? (They have a free helpline).

RegTheMonkey Wed 23-Oct-13 15:51:06

Does that mean you don't get sick pay from your employer, but you could claim statutory sick pay? I think they are within their rights. But other, wiser posters will come in with the correct info.

dobedobedo Wed 23-Oct-13 15:51:57

No we have no unions with our company. Damn it. If I call ACAS, what will they even do?

dobedobedo Wed 23-Oct-13 16:02:58

Yes I can get stat sick pay if I'm off for 4 days in a row. But it's mostly about feeling discriminated against.

There was someone in the company who takes LOADS of sick days and just recently they've stopped paying her because she "takes the piss" they said.

I've only had time off before because I broke my ribs on a work outing! (and even then, just one and a half days)

If there's a company car mentioned in your contract, pursue it - and if there has been a significant period for which they should have provided it and didn't, ask them for a payment in lieu.

Did the manager who made the comment about not getting the car now you're pregnant put it in writing by any chance? (i.e. was it an email?) If she did, there's some more proof that you're being discriminated against....

TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 23-Oct-13 16:06:15

But if it says in your contract you don't get paid for sick days, then what argument do you have? You signed the contract agreeing this. Unless very likely there is an area of law I am unaware of?

The company car, well if it says in your contract you should have one, have you followed this up before now?

NadiaWadia Wed 23-Oct-13 16:12:43

dobedo I have not used ACAS myself, but they are the experts, and I think could probably advise you quite well?

Also it might be worth checking your home insurance policy, to see if you have legal cover included? (a lot do).

Surely I would hope something could be done for you, your employers are behaving as though its the 1970s!

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 23-Oct-13 16:22:44

I recently took over a business where there had been a policy where all sickness had been paid and there was nothing laid out in contract. I wanted to change this to SSP mainly as I have huge loan repayments so have to cut costs somehow.
I took legal advice, the advice I was given was that if everyone had always been paid in full for sickness whilst not in a contract it had become contactual as it had gone on for several years. To change these 'terms and conditions' I held a meeting tell my staff why I needed to cut costs and that as sickness had cost X amount of money that year it was an area I had identified. I said that I intended to switch to SSP, if anyone had any ideas as to how money could be saved avoiding this please approach me. Three weeks later I issued new contracts (well there weren't any before) with these terms and conditions and a letter inviting them to discuss any concerns they have. This is the correct way to change sickness policy and your company have not followed it.
I would suggest first raising it as a formal grievance allowing them the chance to reply (probably take some professional advice) and if this is not satisfactory then get legal advice.

dobedobedo Wed 23-Oct-13 16:23:08

Tantrums this is what I thought. But if they've paid it before I was pregnant it's implied, so they are supposed to do it when I'm pregnant too. They've admitted that this is correct. Yet they won't pay me because they "dropped the ball".

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 23-Oct-13 16:27:40

If they've been paying other people as well then it isn't that they made a mistake with you.

whatsthatcomingoverthehill Wed 23-Oct-13 16:27:56

Unless their contracts are different I guess.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Wed 23-Oct-13 16:32:10

Tantrums its quite complicated, but basically regardless of what the contract actually states, working conditions are not allowed to change just because of a pregnancy.

So if dobed was paid for being off sick before, even if by mistake, the precedent is set. The then cant suddenly decide that actually due to her pregnancy they aren't going to pay her for being off sick.

She has only been off sick once before so cant really prove (unfortunately) that they didn't just 'drop the ball' but do in fact pay for sickness despite what the contract states.

Dobed I have no advice, but youve been through it and what they are doing is unfair. Can you try CAB or ACAS (I actually havent ever heard of them so dont know what they do!)

sparechange Wed 23-Oct-13 16:33:40

Them paying you by mistake once does not set a legal precedent that they have to carry on paying you. It just doesn't. Just like if HR muck up your salary and pay you too much one month, they don't have any legal obligation to keep you on the higher salary. I'm baffled that you would think it would, and playing the pregnancy card on this is ridiculous.

The company car is a different matter though. If it says in your contract that you are entitled to a company car, then you are entitled to a company car.
Have you been taking a cash allowance instead of getting a car? Because they might say that you can only switch between the car vs cash once a year but they can't move the goalposts and say you can't have a car at all, unless there has been an amendment to your contract

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Oct-13 16:39:33

I'm with spare - if your contract says you don't get paid for sickness and they've paid you once for one bout of sickness then a precedent hasn't been set - they simply made a cock up which they're not repeating. A mistake isn't a precedent.

And if they're suddenly not paying anyone, then it shows they're tightening up across the board, so really not discrimination.

Lonecat you actually changed your workers' ts and cs, which is different from OP's company now enforcing their current contract.

WilsonFrickett Wed 23-Oct-13 16:40:16

Oops meant to add, the car is a completely different thing though, which you should pursue.

Cadsuane Wed 23-Oct-13 16:49:37

The ACAS helpline is there to provide advice in exactly these kind of situations. They are trained specifically on employment law. Citizens Advice give much more general advice and may not be up to date on the most recent changes.
In my experience as soon as I stated that I had had advice from ACAS and the law stated x, y and z I got a much better response (they actually sat up straighter and spoke more professionally)

turnaroundbrighteyes Wed 23-Oct-13 16:52:29

Unless everyone has been paid before it could have been paid on a descretionary basis because the accident causing your prior sickness happened in works time.

Lots of companies don't pay company sick pay, but will occasionally waive that on a case by case basis.

I'd be more bothered about the car though. Although again, if you were supposed to have one, but wouldn't be using it whilst on maternity leave that's a huge bill for them to cover for no-one to benefit (assuming its for work use only). Not worded very tactfully by them, but if you've otherwise enjoyed working there why not check your contract then have another chat.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Wed 23-Oct-13 16:54:27

Spare, no paying once by mistake doesn't, you are absolutely right. However in dobed's work place despite what the contracts are saying they have and do pay sickness to others in the company, and that does set precedence. However as dobed has only been off once before she cant prove anything which is where her frustration comes in.

Mandy21 Wed 23-Oct-13 16:57:28

I also agree with spare - you don't have any entitlement to it unless its been a systematic and continuous approach in the past, i.e. everyone got it repeatedly over a number of years. Even then, what you might find is that the company might have had an unwritten discretionary policy - and it may depend how much time you've had off previously.

pixiepotter Wed 23-Oct-13 16:58:17

I am not sure about the car, I man that is to do business milege in and if you are not there then you won't need it.
WTT the illness , just because your employer has paid you once or twice a s a goodwill gesture, or by accident , it doesn't mean you can demand it.Times are hard and employers are looking to cut back where they can.

Baabaapinksheep Wed 23-Oct-13 17:02:00

I thought that a precedent was set if you don't have a contract, and your terms are then implied by what actually happens. So if you didn't have a contract and we're being paid sick pay, then this right would be implied, as with the poster above. But as you have a contract these are the terms you must go by.

CbeebiesIsMyLife Wed 23-Oct-13 17:02:31

pixi, you can. its all to do with discrimination in pregnancy, the same rules that mean a pregnant lady cant get made redundant etc.

OrangeMochaFrappucino Wed 23-Oct-13 17:10:00

I hate the 'times are hard, suck it up' attitude. Times are hard for employees and pregnancy-related sickness can be very serious, leading to hospitalisation. I think it's inhumane to refuse sick pay and very damaging for people to go to work when very ill. It leads workers to jeopardise their health, their colleagues' health if infectious and potentially their baby's health when pregnant. I hope you get somewhere with this, OP, you have all my sympathy.

sparechange Wed 23-Oct-13 17:10:09

Cbeebies it is absolutely untrue that a pregnant woman can't be made redundant!
She can't have her pregnancy used as the reason for the redundancy, but equally doesn't get exemption from a proper process on account of a pregnancy.
If she falls within the 'selection criteria' (for want of a better term) used to identify roles that might be made redundant, then pregnancy is neither here nor there. Granted, there are additional responsibilties about identifying suitable roles if the redundancy takes place while she is on maternity
It is one of the myths that gets bandied around far too often

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