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To take a sick day (from work) when my children are unwell?

(74 Posts)
supermum87 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:44:45


Not really sure how to handle this? Am I even allowed to do this at work?

Background: Have 2 children. 3 and 1 years old. Work part time 3 days a week. I'm still doing the same job I was before having the children, but now job-share.

Today my two children were unwell. Temperate, cough, being sick. So I phoned my boss to say I wouldn't be in as the children were unwell.

My parents cover part of the childcare and today would have been a day with my Mum. However I felt that it wasn't fair on her to have to look after them both when they were this unwell. Also I felt like the both just needed their Mum.

WWYD? I can make up for today's day off by working one of my normal days off & asking my parents to cover that day instead....or I could just call it a sick day? FYI I still get paid on my sick days and in the last five years I've had less than 7 days sick (but have had two years of maternity hmm)

Don't know if this makes a difference. But in my job I won't have any extra work to catch up on.

Thanks smile

harderandharder2breathe Mon 21-Nov-16 18:46:23


Sick days are for when you are sick. Unpaid parental leave is for when your children are sick. I imagine if your employer found out they'd be less than impressed and could be a disciplinary action

ftmsoon Mon 21-Nov-16 18:47:34

In my job, taking a day off 'sick' to look after sick children when you are well is a disciplinary offence. Discuss it with your boss, but be prepared to take it as annual leave or unpaid.

Wolfiefan Mon 21-Nov-16 18:47:38

Don't lie. Explain you need the time off as your kids are unwell.
It doesn't matter how many sick days you've had or not had. Don't lie to your employer.

dementedpixie Mon 21-Nov-16 18:47:43

Either take it as unpaid, use a days annual leave or work on a different day to make up the time. You can't use sick leave

AyeAmarok Mon 21-Nov-16 18:47:46


You aren't sick.

SpeckledyBanana Mon 21-Nov-16 18:48:28

Sick leave is not an allowance you are entitled to use like annual leave.

In my workplace the options would be carer's leave, annual leave, unpaid leave or TOIL.

pringlecat Mon 21-Nov-16 18:48:53

You can take parental leave to sort out childcare. What you actually did was cancel childcare...

I would expect to take it as annual leave or unpaid leave. It's definitely not a sick day. You weren't sick.

PetalMettle Mon 21-Nov-16 18:49:00

I have taken it as annual leave unless I've been able to work part of it - e.g. I had a day at home and he slept all afternoon so I took half a day's annual leave. Not fair to those without kids to give it as sick leave

Bringmewineandcake Mon 21-Nov-16 18:50:17

I think normally it counts as emergency holiday rather than sick leave, especially as you've told your boss quite rightly that it's the kids who are sick. If they'd be happy with you making up the time on a non working day then that would probably be the best for you and your employer.

Ginmakesitallok Mon 21-Nov-16 18:50:26

I'd take it as carers leave Parental leave is for planned time off.

WarwickDavisAsPlates Mon 21-Nov-16 18:51:19

Whenever my DD is sick I just phone in and say "I'm not coming in today because DD has (insert whatever current illness is)"

My boss lets me take it as a sick day as I've only taken 2 sick days in 2 years when I was in hospital. I think if I lied to her she would stop that straight away. So I guess what I'm saying is just be honest about it and accept whatever they say.

ilovesooty Mon 21-Nov-16 18:52:13

You've told your boss the children were unwell. You weren't sick so I'd imagine you'd take it as annual leave, unpaid leave or make up the time.

supermum87 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:52:23

Oh wow! I really did know i wasn't allowed to do that.

I've obviously not explained well enough in my post but I did tell my boss I wouldn't be coming in when because the children were sick.

I know he has no problem with me working another day. I do that for him if he needs another day covered etc.

Ok thanks, you have made up my mind I'll work another day.

Bluntness100 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:53:36

Yep, I have done it and would still do it. Sometimes taking days off for sick kids is seriously frowned upon and can be damaging, if you work for an employer like that then saying you yourself are sick is often the best way to handle it.

Sad but true.

honeylulu Mon 21-Nov-16 18:54:00

Your first suggestion is the best one - arrange to work a different day to catch up.
"Not fair" for your mum to look after them both when they're poorly? Why is it fair for your employer and colleagues to bear the brunt?
I have two children and no family to help either. If they are ill me and my husband take turns to use our annual leave.

SparklyLeprechaun Mon 21-Nov-16 18:55:23

We are allowed to take sick days off for children's illnesses in my workplace. But why don't you ask your manager what's the right way to record the absence?

PenguinsandPebbles Mon 21-Nov-16 18:57:34

Are you sick? No, so you should not take a days sick leave, having to look after your children isn't an illness. Sick leave is not something you can just use as you see fit and this is exactly the reason lots of company's now don't offer sick pay as a benefit, its statutory only.

However I am very sure in reality many a parent has called in to say they are sick when actually it is because they have to stay at home because their children are unwell.

WLF46 Mon 21-Nov-16 18:59:54

You're sick = can take sick day.
You're not sick = can't take sick day.

These are the facts for most businesses. Speak to your employer to see if they can help you out, but generally taking a sick day when you yourself are not ill is fraudulent and is grounds for dismissal.

They might never find out, but is it worth risking your job?

Most companies these days have "return to work" interviews. You will either have to admit you weren't sick and therefore not claim it as a sick day, or lie your way through the interview. Again, fraud and potential dismissal.

Just tell your manager the truth, that your child is ill, and see what they say.

Sidge Mon 21-Nov-16 19:00:39

Where I work if my children are unwell and I can't work, then I have to take a day's annual leave, or a day off unpaid.

My DP is a manager and uses his discretion, but generally speaking if one of his staff phones in sick when they're not unwell but their child/ren are, then he asks them to take the day off and make it up elsewhere, or take it as leave.

Generally speaking sick leave is for YOU (the employee) when you're unwell, not for dependents/sick partner/sick parents.

Stanky Mon 21-Nov-16 19:00:52

I think that we get parental leave at my work. Luckily, I've only had to use it once when ds had chicken pox.

supermum87 Mon 21-Nov-16 19:01:47

Thanks for all these replies.

I know in my last job people were allowed to take sick days for their children being unwell.

However in this job it's mostly male. I do work with two other females but they don't have children. So I've not seen it come up before.

In the past my DH & I have taken annual leave to cover this. Fortunately we haven't had much need to do this.

Thanks again. I'll know for the future smile

MauiWest Mon 21-Nov-16 19:02:33

It is a disciplinary offence, but I would love to know how a company can prove that you were not sick yourself too (not in this case when you already told your boss and you can just make up the day).

Of course most parents take a sickie in this case, what choice do they have. Thankfully most companies I worked for were intelligent enough to be flexible with the staff.

MissElphabaThropp Mon 21-Nov-16 19:02:42

Is Parental leave not used in this instance? Or cares leave? I think the latter depends on organisational policy though.

GreenTureen Mon 21-Nov-16 19:04:23

You can't take it as a sick day, no.

However, if I was in your position (no sick leave problem - get paid for sick leave but not to care for the kids) then i'd probably pull a sickie and say I was ill with the same thing and we all had it.

There's zero chance they could find out or prove it either way really.

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