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To be pissed off and frustrated with work colleague who is always off sick?

(180 Posts)
ManicUnicorn Wed 04-Oct-17 13:28:41

I work in a school nursery. There are three members staff, the teacher myself and another TA. Unfortunately the other TA has a tendency to take days off sick. A lot. Bare in mind we are only in week five of the new term, she's had four days off already. She was off sick last Friday, there was no explanation for it and we were just told she was ill. Then she was off for two days the week before that, and now again today!

Now I know people get ill. Especially in schools at this time of year, but this just seems a lot of days scattered about here and there.

It's causing real problems. Today we had activities planned, I knew exactly what I was doing, had my resources ready etc. Arrive to find colleague off sick. Well then everything went to pot. Another member of staff was drafted in from elsewhere, but didn't know the children or where anything was, what we had planned or the routine. Obviously not their fault, but it was stressful nightmare. The kids were horrendous due to the change in routine, again. Colleague also does lunch duty and that was all messed up as well.

AIBU to be annoyed with her? She seemed completley fine yesterday. We all have days where we don't feel too great, or we're tired or whatever but you just have to suck it up and carry on.

rightnowimpissed Wed 04-Oct-17 13:32:18

Maybe shes really ill and is going to doctors/Hospital appointments, not everyone wants to tell the people they work with they have cancer or such like.

Neolara Wed 04-Oct-17 13:32:35

If she's genuinely sick then I guess you just have to suck it up. If she's taking the piss, then I'd hope that the SLT have got processes in place for dealing with it. It may take a long time to play out though.

ICantFindAFreeNickName2 Wed 04-Oct-17 13:40:53

Some companies have a policy in place where if you have 3 incidences of illness in a set period of time (I think its normally a year) you need to have a chat with the HR department or a manager. Management generally know who are genuinely ill and who takes a day off if they sneeze once. As Neorla said any process they have in place does take a long time to play out.

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 13:43:39

Another member of staff was drafted in from elsewhere, but didn't know the children or where anything was, what we had planned or the routine.

Surely that's quite easy to pick up on if the staff member already worked at the school? confused

Have you considered she might actually be really sick?

ManicUnicorn Wed 04-Oct-17 13:44:13

I very much doubt she's got a serious illness like cancer. She's young, fit and healthy, and has a very physical hobby that she's very involved in. Every spare moment is spent in the gym, which is why I'm suspicious I suppose.

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:20

Maybe shes really ill and is going to doctors/Hospital appointments, not everyone wants to tell the people they work with they have cancer or such like.

Agreed. A friend of mine was fighting breast cancer. I'm sure she looked like she was taking the piss too when she wasn't in work but was still going to church for a special event in between her chemo appointments etc.

ManicUnicorn Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:29

You've never worked in a school have you JonSnowsWife? No one classroom or year group is the same. Young children also need continuity.

rightnowimpissed Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:37

You have no idea OP what may have happened during the summer holidays, all I'm saying is don't judge to quickly without the whole story.

If its not genuine it will be picked up by the Head.

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:43

That should say sessions not appointments.

Fairylea Wed 04-Oct-17 13:46:47

I understand you’re annoyed but I don’t think it’s fair to be annoyed with her. There are 1001 reasons why she needs more time off than people usually do. I have a very rare immune disorder for example that can flare up over a few hours and I can be extremely ill. I do appreciate how difficult it must be for you and the children, however.

The80sweregreat Wed 04-Oct-17 13:47:09

Maybe she just doesnt like the job? is she new, worked in other areas of the nursery school? HR need to see her and ask whats wrong - my dh said that they have people in his place after one day off sick ( for a 'chat')

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 13:47:37

MagicUnicorn I have as it happens, yes.

rightnowimpissed Wed 04-Oct-17 13:48:23

Young fit healty people get serious illnesses too.

she might just go to the gym and do very little.

Fluffyears Wed 04-Oct-17 13:48:25

You don’t know what’s wrong with her. I had a colleague who was off every other week and then we found out she was off to get chemo.

MrsMKJ Wed 04-Oct-17 13:51:01

OP, in the kindest way possible, it's not up to you to be suspicious. She may have any number of 'serious' or 'non serious' ailments. She doesn't have to give the team a reason for sick leave either, in fact in some situations she doesn't even have to disclose to her manager. I would suggest you make it known to your/her manager(s) the direct impact this is having on your workload and the running of the department. It is up to them to follow due process and investigate/support her as best they can. I have been in your situation some years ago and it's a tricky place to be, so you have my sympathy. However, whatever the reason for being off sick she is unlikely to reduce the days of absence if she feels talked about, questioned or if her colleagues are annoyed at her. Try as best you can to be supportive. Maybe offering a listening ear will help your colleague? She may not be suffering from a measurable physical problem, for example. She may have some difficulty with emotional/psychological wellbeing. Who knows. Ultimately, however, it is not for us to guess.

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 13:51:47

I mean @manicunicorn

Alittlepotofrosie Wed 04-Oct-17 13:53:44

It really couldn't be any less your business. If you aren't adaptable enough to handle change that's not her fault. Not sure how you can attribute the kids poor behaviour to her when she's not even there but you were. The poor behaviour was probably more to do with you and the fact you couldn't react to change quickly enough.

MagicFajita Wed 04-Oct-17 13:53:55

Yabu for being cross with your colleague for two reasons op , firstly she could be seriously unwell and secondly if she isn't then your slt are the ones to pick fault with.

I do understand that a yr 6 Ta will be less use to you than an early years one but tbh I think you were lucky to get any cover at all! Also children need to learn to deal with change and tend to react to your stress levels , so you need to keep an eye on those yourself.

Allthebestnamesareused Wed 04-Oct-17 13:55:11

Maybe she is pregnant then if she is young and usually healthy. Maybe she has complications with the pregnancy and is giving legitimate reasons for her time off which your bosses accept as legitimate.

Yes, it must be a pain to have to cover/rearrange but remember the saying - not to judge another until you walk in their shoes!

coddiwomple Wed 04-Oct-17 13:58:48

It really couldn't be any less your business.

but it is the OP's business, because she is the one having to deal with the mess left behind. It's not fair, and it's not fair on the children. No one is impressed by an employee who is off after less than a month!

I hope the school will pick up on this and deal with it accordingly. If someone does need regular doctor's appointment, the school can plan the replacement accordingly. Sadly, i am not sure budgets stretch enough to cover a part-time TA as a replacement.

I have heard some TA saying that they didn't heard that much, so they were happy to take time off for cheaper holidays. Not everyone is decent unfortunately.

Funnyfarmer Wed 04-Oct-17 13:59:34

We had a young mum in our work who was taking alot of time of sick. Everyone including managment though she was taking the piss. Everytime she had a day off she was dragged in to head office.
She took an overdose last month.
It turned out her children had been removed from her care and she really wasn't coping very well.
So try not to judge too quickly. You don't have to be physically sick to be not well enough to come to work

Dippingmytoesin Wed 04-Oct-17 14:00:57

YABU to assume that she is young fit and healthy on appearance.

I may appear young fit and healthy but I am not, I regularly have to have time off and I don't disclose my illness to others.

CrochetBelle Wed 04-Oct-17 14:01:52

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

JonSnowsWife Wed 04-Oct-17 14:03:37

Young children also need continuity.

Well of course they do. As a parent of two who's youngest has ASD I know all too well how children need continuity. DS once had a teacher who had an afternoon off for a routine op. No idea what it was but there was complications and the teacher ended up having half the year off. DS was having 3 different teachers a day at one point to help cover for them.

Not ideal but some things are completely outside of our control.

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