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child ill, work issues Aibu

(59 Posts)
jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:04:52

Bit of background: I have been working for my current employer for 3 years. I have taken a total of 2 days sick leave in that time. I only had stay once at home with a sick child for 1 day.

I am a lone parent with no family support. DS has autism and severe learning diffs. He has flu (almost 40 fever, really unwell). I had to stay at home with him yesterday and my line manager told me he expects me to sort emergency child care should DS be ill for the rest of the week so I can come in (super busy at the moment due to Xmas). DS is not better. I cannot get emergency childcare. There is no childcare for children with severe learning diffs let alone childcare for a child with complex needs and flu. There is no other option than to stay at home with him for me.

I am really scared of calling work. Can they force me to come in? Or am I within my rights to stay at home until DS is better?

As said above, I am rarely off. I usually go into work when I am unwell but I am really stuck right now sad

Shoxfordian Wed 06-Dec-17 06:06:23

Phone in and say you've caught the flu as well

StoorieHoose Wed 06-Dec-17 06:07:38

Yep I agree. You now have the flu and you aren’t coming in incase you spread it to the other staff

Ilovetolurk Wed 06-Dec-17 06:09:13

I was going to say the same thing as the posts above, catch the flu

Splinterz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:09:48

They can't "force" you to do anything - you can choose to not go in and not be paid, you can choose to not go in and possibly face a disciplinary.

There are no set parameters for this but anywhere I've ever worked has given 48 hours to arrange something, thereafter its holiday/unpaid:

www.gov.uk/time-off-for-dependants

What's an emergency?

Taking time off

Problems when you take time off
1. Your rights
As an employee you’re allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant.
A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care.
How much you get
You’re allowed a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there’s no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.
Example
If your child falls ill you could take time off to go to the doctor and make care arrangements. Your employer may then ask you to take annual leave or parental leave if you want to look after your child for longer.
Tell your employer as soon as possible how much time you’ll need so it can be agreed.

allegretto Wed 06-Dec-17 06:10:41

It so annoys me when employers say this - what is this amazing childcare they think we can get? I have child sick days in my contract luckily but actually just work back my hours if off with a sick child as the bureaucracy is too painful. If you don't, I would do the same as Shoxfordian!

Splinterz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:10:46

If you are caught lying about your own health - that's a gross misconduct. Just be careful of the advice spewed out on here.

jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:12:09

I am no comfortable doing that.I have been that reliable since I started work there. Surely I should be able for once to stay at home with a poorly child.

I am struggling so much to hold down a job anyways. It's a million times harder than for a mum of a healthy child. But he is ill and I don't want to make stories. I just need to look after him as there is no soul who could.

jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:13:21

I don't expect to be paid. I know it is unpaid leave.

Shoxfordian Wed 06-Dec-17 06:14:01

Yeah true, but I don't see how you're going to be caught lying- you can self certify for 5 days so that gives you the rest of the week off and hopefully your child will be better by then

jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:15:01

I won't lie. That's just not me but I understand why some parents might be tempted. But I won't.

DownTownAbbey Wed 06-Dec-17 06:15:40

I'd be careful about saying you've caught flu now in case you actually do in a few days.

If DS's dad isn't on the scene you might have to take unpaid leave. Really unfair but you can't leave your child home alone can you? flowers

jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:23:20

I am happy to take unpaid leave (well, I have to). It's not about that but my manger made it clear that I have to arrange childcare (which is non existing) and that I have to be in.

crisscrosscranky Wed 06-Dec-17 06:28:55

Your child is disabled. If they were to discipline you for taking time off to care for him it would be associative discrimination and illegal. Not to mention potential claims of indirect sex discrimination...

I'd take child to doctors so there is record he's unwell in case you need to evidence it in a formal process.

Please don't say you're ill as if it's proven you're not, and that you lied to defraud the company of sick pay, they can sack you and you'd not have a leg to stand on.

Lovestonap Wed 06-Dec-17 06:31:38

Acas will be helpful to talk to. Of course your manager can't make you come in, but if the threat of you not coming in is a disciplinary or dismissal then you need to know your rights as to how best to proceed. You have worked longer than 2 years which means they will not be able to simply dismiss you.

If you need to call manager before acas I would simply say "I am unable to leave my sick child so will be taking leave. I understand this may be unpaid. I will keep in contact as to when I will be returning to work". Keep a note of any bluster or threats etc and then get advice from Acas.
Good luck and hope your son gets better soon

Ceto Wed 06-Dec-17 06:33:09

I know it doesn't solve your problem today, but do you have a carer's assessment and care plan in place via the council? You may well qualify for some respite care which would potentially mean that there is another person he is used to and who knows him who might just be available for this sort of emergency.

AJPTaylor Wed 06-Dec-17 06:35:03

You are not alone. That policy was around when my dc were small. Once dc are at school there is no such thing as emergency childcare. It simply does not exist. I was told my mum should do it. Funnily enough she worked full time too. I always took it as unpaid until my boss said that. Then i just rang in sick myself and got paid.

Digestive28 Wed 06-Dec-17 06:36:44

I wonder if it is about the type of leave. In my job you can have a limited number of carers leave days a year bit only one day a time a time...the day is to sort out alternatives. After that you need to take annual leave, unpaid leave etc. check with HR

insancerre Wed 06-Dec-17 06:38:19

I would ring and say that you will have to take unpaid leave to care for him
They can't force you to go in
is there someone higher you can talk to?

DownTownAbbey Wed 06-Dec-17 06:38:57

I know you're willing to take unpaid leave. My point is that your employer can just fuck right off with their impossible demand . As a fellow ASD mum I know that childcare for disabled kids is rarer than unicorn poop. As crisscross says they'd find hauling you over the coals for it difficult especially if you threaten to highlight the company's discriminatory policies to the press (practice your sad face for Daily Fail). It's a shitty situation but you've got no alternatives.

jinglehellz Wed 06-Dec-17 06:39:38

I know it doesn't solve your problem today, but do you have a carer's assessment and care plan in place via the council?

very funny. sorry.

I requested an assessment but could not get one. They concluded, as I manage to hold down a part time job, that I am fine and not in need of support. But this is another thread.

parrotonmyshoulder Wed 06-Dec-17 06:40:21

Honestly, this care does not exist! Even a child with complex needs with a ‘good’ respite package would not be provided with any kind of assistance under these circumstances. Respite carers or centres would not be able to have them on an unplanned basis.
I feel for you OP. I just hope your boss shows a human side.

HeavyMetalMummy Wed 06-Dec-17 06:45:04

You're just going to have to tell your manager the truth and stay off. Make it clear you have no choice, reiterate that SN childcare particularly for a sick child doesn't exist and that you are aware the leave will be unpaid. Like someone said take your son to the doctor today so there is a record. If your manager tries to guilt you or threaten you with disciplinary action tell him you look forward to speaking to HR about the discrimination and bullying he's subjecting you to. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and your child.

Ceto Wed 06-Dec-17 06:46:03

You need to take legal advice. The current legislation recognises that carers are supposed to be entitled to a life, which includes being able to work part time.

Thermostatpolice Wed 06-Dec-17 06:47:16

I think you're right not to lie.

You're a good employee. Most parents would have had far more time off than that over three years. It's annoying for your employer but that's not your problem unless you feel that your job is at risk. I would be trying to hang on to an employee like you, not make your life more difficult.

Are you in a union? If so, ring them for advice. Make sure you mention the fact that you have taken three days sick leave over three years when you ring in.

I hope that your son feels better soon. Will you be able to look after him if you get flu yourself?

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