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to ask managers how they view time off work for kids being ill?

(136 Posts)
MaximumHoldMousse Tue 22-Mar-16 23:15:53

Hi I would really appreciate some insight please! My preschooler has got an awful bug, keeps vomiting after every drink, really nasty. I was working from home when I had to collect from nursery. I emailed in to explain situation, and that I thought she would sleep so I could continue with work but she stayed awake so I couldn't till late at night (managed to get work done in the end). Today my OH was of with her. She can't go to nursery tomorrow so will have to be off I think. I would just really appreciate anyone who has parents working for them, how do you feel about this? Does it happen a lot? Am really new (1 month) into my job and worried it looks bad.. But then I feel daft for worrying..

tl,dr: how annoyed would you be if your employee was off work because their child was ill?

Thanks! x

Coldtoeswarmheart Tue 22-Mar-16 23:18:52

It happens. That's all really.

My employer has a policy on carer's leave which outlines what is and isn't acceptable, do you know if you have one?

FanDabbyFloozy Tue 22-Mar-16 23:25:47

I am fine with it, especially when I know both parents (presuming there are 2) are making an effort to share the duties. It is also good to make up the time in the evenings or whatever.

What gets on my nerves is women who prioritise their partners' jobs to do all the emergency leave ("He just can't take time off, people really rely on him as his job is so important blah"). That's seriously annoying.

But overall I am very relaxed about parents having to take time off/work from home to care for family.

yummumto3girls Tue 22-Mar-16 23:26:16

Don't feel guilty about it, it's life and a large proportion of us have kids. We get carers leave, I can make up the hours or take annual leave. If an employee thinks badly of you for taking time off for this then they are not a good employer!

JeanSeberg Tue 22-Mar-16 23:33:41

It depends if the father does his share. I don't see why my business should take the hit all the time. And not all jobs are suited to being able to catch up in the evening, especially customer facing roles.

Blu Tue 22-Mar-16 23:40:02

I am relaxed and flexible about it, and operate on going the extra half mile for staff and then knowing that will be reciprocated. People usually do what they can to make up the hours.

However, like others on this thread I have no time for the expectation that it is always the mother that covers.

BackforGood Tue 22-Mar-16 23:53:32

Obviously depends on the role being done - yours sounds fairly flexible if working at home and able to catch up in the night (?). I think what makes the key difference though - as others have said - is both parents sharing the time that's needed / doing their best to minimise impact. Plus of course, the employee's attitude to work, time keeping, and being flexible and helpful generally.

Orwellschild Wed 23-Mar-16 00:06:57

If your little one is unwell, your manager should be sympathetic. I would be. However my company (& many others) does not pay for absences of this type (personally I think this is unfair but can see why).

Icanseeclearly Wed 23-Mar-16 00:25:05

It is usual for carers leave to be aimed at allowing you the time to find suitable alternative care rather than for you to be off the whole time your child is ill. Some places have an unwritten understanding of how long is acceptable, others are flexible. As you are new, don't know the general approach and don't have any "good grace" built up I'd be very catious myself.

Personally, I'm a single parent to 5 and have had 3 hours carers leave in 2 years at this job. However I know I take it to extremes and have no ability to work from home. Could you offer to do that seeing as you have? Even if they don't accept you've shown willing?

herecomethepotatoes Wed 23-Mar-16 02:23:05

I viewed it poorly but if it doesn't happen often, it's just one of those things.

Bogeyface Wed 23-Mar-16 02:32:40

Mn is not a good place to ask about this.

The reason being that most of the managers are women who have children so they get how it is. They will give leeway as long as it goes both ways.

However, in the real world a hell of a lot of managers are men who dont have to worry their heads about this kind of thing so they dont give any kind of consideration to women in their team who have these issues.

Assume the worse and hope for the best. And given that you are just 1 month in (and assuming that your OH has been with his employer longer than 2 years) you should only take leave when absolutely unavoidable and your OH needs to take it first. Any time in the first year, and almost anytime in the second year, you can be binned off with no comeback.


Why did you view it poorly?

EBearhug Wed 23-Mar-16 02:38:37

Depends on the job - my colleagues are more likely to care for their sick children than their spouses, because in our role, we can work from home, so while you might not be at full capacity, you should be able to get something done. Spouses are teacher, receptionist and (not quite sure, but she travels to customer sites a lot.) They're not roles which allow WFH for the most part.

If it's hospital emergency type, it's never been an issue - it wasn't an issue when I drove a colleague to the hospital his son had just been rushed into, either. We got waved off with, "go, do what you need, keep us updated as you can." I came straight back as soon as I'd done my taxi bit. Colleague was off for a fortnight, as child was seriously ill (18 months on, now okay.)

But - not all managers are like that. Sometimes it is because different roles are more critical, but sometimes it's because they're inflexible gits, and we do also have one or two who ask, "why can't your wife do it?" (Guess they haven't had their diversity training yet...) HR are actually pretty good about work-life balance stuff, and supporting parents, and in most roles, you would be able to make hours up - but there is still an element of manager's discretion, and that's mostly where variances come from.

EBearhug Wed 23-Mar-16 02:39:26

Meant to add - all my colleagues are men - such are the joys of IT.

herecomethepotatoes Wed 23-Mar-16 03:55:41


I viewed it poorly because when I'm at work, I'm at work and I care about performance. Of course being a complete arsehole undermines morale and therefore results but if I have the option of two equally qualified, experienced etc people but the first takes time off when her children are sick, I'd choose the second.

Even if it wouldn't officially be taken into account in a performance review or internal promotions, it still colours my opinion of someone.

In mitigation of me coming across as a heartless person, someone (with a terminally ill wife) worked 2 days in 6 months but received full pay, bonus and I gave them an excellent performance review but their workload was shared amongst the department and head office never knew they'd been off.

Yes, it's unfair and perhaps unpleasant, but it's true and honest. Business is business and a private life is just that. When you work for me, I don't care why you're off, I just know it will affect the team and if it happens frequently I'll judge you for it.

herecomethepotatoes Wed 23-Mar-16 03:58:24

edit: in response to EBear's post - whilst some work could be done from home, the majority was collaborative with most of the team very specialised. There was a large knock-on effect if one wasn't pulling their weight.

Lexipedia Wed 23-Mar-16 05:28:07

Can I ask how it's viewed at a school if a teacher's child is ill? I have some friends - one a teacher, one not - and it's the non-teacher that has to take all the emergency leave, which doesn't go down well at their work, but the teacher says that they absolutely can't take time off. Neither job can be done at home in this circumstance.

Cliffdiver Wed 23-Mar-16 05:48:06

I am a manager and was in this situation yesterday when an employee asked if she could have the day off as her DC was ill, and make up her hours at a later date.

I don't have a problem with it at all, it can't be helped and I know she shares time off for DC illnesses illness with her DH (as do I).

wannabestressfree Wed 23-Mar-16 05:55:36

I teach and yesterday the head said no to someone going home and requested the child be put in the office and they work (absence is through the roof at the mo) it happens quite a bit.
Mine are older now (youngest is 11) and generally speaking the school is OK but it's unpaid and expected to be whilst you sort something makes me cross when colleagues go on about never having a day off, come in vomiting and give it to me with an auto immune disease. Has terrible consequences for me.

kawliga Wed 23-Mar-16 06:00:20

Mn is not a good place to ask about this. The reason being that most of the managers are women who have children so they get how it is. They will give leeway as long as it goes both ways

This is so true. In the real world, be aware that there is always a risk that when it comes to renewing contracts, yours won't be renewed. Most people do not enjoy the level of job security that most posters on here seem to have. On here you would get the impression that all employers are lovely kind people who put the welfare of their workers first and will let you take time off work when you need it. I guess the other kind of employer, the one that would fire you summarily without batting an eye, does not tend to post on MN. Yet they exist. And yours may be one of them, who knows.

Trouble is that you're new so you don't know how it's viewed at your workplace. Is there anybody there you can ask? Only one month in there might be somebody there whose duty it is to answer your questions as a new person? Or other mothers kind enough to tell you how it plays out? If you're working from home it must be quite hard to get a feel for the culture or get to know colleagues you can ask?

Gah. It's hard being a mother/parent and I never had the good luck most MNers seem to have, of lovely understanding employers who get how it is.

popsocks Wed 23-Mar-16 06:00:48

My employer does get annoyed when the mothers take time off for ill children.
She has said many times she dosent see why the fathers cant share days off.
My reply once was that personally for me it is because i am on minimum wage and he earns twice as much per hour than me.
As neither of us gets sick pay (except statutory) then the person who earns the least takes the time off.

Blu Wed 23-Mar-16 07:04:54

Popsocks, as an employer I am afraid that that reply would make me exasperated. Childcare enables both parents to work, days off to cover sick children are an 'overhead' cost to any working parent however high or low they are paid.

And it is a trap. If women say that sort of thing to a manager how will they ever get promotion or career progression and so become an equal or higher earner?

From an employers PoV why should the employers of women always bear the brunt?

topcat2014 Wed 23-Mar-16 07:07:15

You do need to state the correct reason for absences though - taking time off as 'sick' when in fact not is often a serious disciplinary offence.

mommy2ash Wed 23-Mar-16 07:12:54

Where I work I have to ring in sick myself and take an unpaid days leave. It's frowned upon to be sick yourself and would be even less tolerated to take time off for a sick dependant

Janeymoo50 Wed 23-Mar-16 07:13:22

But then there are the parents who do this but post a photo on FB of them at Southend on Sea theme park not realising that I was a mutual friend of someone they knew. Plus for non parents try getting the same compassion for an elderly parent who was sick, it was refused. That said, a lady I worked with always made the time up, she'd be emailing stuff at midnight.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 23-Mar-16 07:15:38

Childcare enables both parents to work, days off to cover sick children are an 'overhead' cost to any working parent however high or low they are paid.

But don't you see - it's easier on most families to lose a days pay on minimum wage than a day's pay on £14/h. You have to pay childcare anyway, but when you're child is too sick to attend, you have to pay that childcare AND lose a day of pay. Most families can't afford to lose £100 each time a child is sick.

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