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Aibu ? How do I approach my manager ?

(19 Posts)
Pennypinkhair Wed 24-Jan-18 11:21:09

Sorry that this is long and garbled.
My mum died just over a week ago and I’m devastated. Outwardly I appear alright, but have a few wobbles throughout the day and am really not sleeping well. Sadly as there were a few problems with diagnosis and an emergency operation that she never regained consciousness from, her death has been referred to the coroner and there is to be an inquest. This has resulted in a big delay in the funeral and it will not take place for another 3 weeks.
My problem is that I am fairly new in my post and work 3x 12 hour shifts per week. When I rang my manager to say that my mum had passed away ( on the Friday) I was due to work Saturday and Sunday, but obviously under the circumstances I would not be in and she seemed fine and sympathetic. However she then texted me on the Saturday to see if I was going to work Sunday, but I was in no fit state to do so, but agreed to work my usual shifts that week. I work in the health care sector and during my shifts this week we had 2 deaths that I had to deal with, ( which I did, professionally) but they also affected me badly in private.
We have now received an interim death certificate and can now proceed with the funeral and as I say it is in 3 weeks time. I rang my manager again yesterday, as I won’t see her this week, to let her know the date and to give plenty of notice, as I’m scheduled to work nights the night before and the night of the funeral. Her response to me was, well I suppose you have to go!
So I don’t drip feed my mum lived a 6 hour drive away from me so my plan was to go and stay for 3 days, along with my sister, who lives even further away than me. My step dad has asked us both if we will stay for a week and help clear the house of some of her things as he doesn’t feel able to do it alone and although it feels quite soon after for me, he understands that we live too far to just keep popping down to help, and he wants to do it now.
I’m actually afraid to ask for this time off. I have spoken to HR and they have said we are entitled to 3 days compassionate leave and anything else it at our managers discretion.
Aibu to want this time ? How do I word my request? I have holidays available that I can use, but I know she can be funny about you putting holidays in as well, we have to request them and she has to approve them... a lot of the time she declines them and tells you the dates that you can have / puts random days holiday in for you when you haven’t requested them.
I just feel so very stressed.

CircleofWillis Wed 24-Jan-18 11:47:20

Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss and that you have not had the space to grieve.

If you are entitled to 3 days compassionate leave phrase your request in that manner. It might be best to make your request in an email and copy in HR and your boss’ immediate superior if you think that will help. Also thank her in the email for her understanding and support over the past week. It might stimulate her into actually showing some compassion.

Greyponcho Wed 24-Jan-18 11:52:07

So sorry for your loss OP flowers
I hope they don’t think the Saturday/Sunday you didn’t work was those 3 days compassionate leave.
Do what you need to do, this is only a job - if you need to leave and go into another because of this, anyone with an ounce of humanity would understand this.
Hope you get it sorted flowers

madasamarchhare Wed 24-Jan-18 11:52:09

You have my sympathies. I lost my darling Mum 2 years ago and I could not face going out for a pint of milk let alone to work a shift. This must be especially hard for you considering what you deal with at work. My employer was understanding and actually told me to get a note from th doctor and I didn’t work from the time of her death until after the funeral. It was still very hard gradual steps are needed. It’s a very difficult time. Look after yourself.

Babyroobs Wed 24-Jan-18 11:53:11

YANBU. This is awful. I work in a healthcare setting where we have a lot of deaths and no-one is expected to go back to work anytime soon after the death of a parent. Some colleagues have taken up to six months of with stress whilst they sorted things out ! ne colleague took a month of off for the death of a best friend who she was the closest person to. My won mum died in not dissimilar circumstances to your in that it was sudden and unexpected and there was a coroners inquest and we had to have an interim death certificate. I took 3 weeks off but was encouraged to take longer off. Please get your GP to sign you off then there is nothing they can do. So sorry to read what you have gone through.

BossyBitch Wed 24-Jan-18 11:56:26

Sorry for your loss! flowers

How much compassionate leave are you entitled to as per your contract? You should definitely be able to take all that and, as a manager myself, I wouldn't hesitate to approve any additional paid or unpaid leave (depending on entitlement) on such an occasion. I approved 3 weeks of unplanned leave in the case of a relarge dying overseas last year and think any decent boss should go out of their way to do the same.

Having said that, is it possible your boss feels a little out of her depth emotionally? Her responses could easily be taken to mean 'I have no clue how to speak to you'd rather than 'you're inconveniencing me'. As I like to say, bosses are only people, too.

The suggestion to thank her for her support etc. is a good one either way: if she's just awkward, it may put her at ease. If she's being weird, it'll make it awkward for her to act tough.

retirednow Wed 24-Jan-18 11:56:36

Sorry to hear about your mum, as others have said you could go to your GP and ask to be signed off, alternatively ask for annual leave, she would be hard nosed not to give it to you. I think the idea of an email thanking her for her support is a good idea. If she doesn't agree then ask for unpaid leave, you will be able to make up the hours later.

quilpie Wed 24-Jan-18 11:57:54

Gosh, I wonder if she is hardened to grief because of the job?

You are entitled, email her and get it sorted now, today.

Dear X, as you know my mother's funeral is on (date) and HR have informed me I am entitled to 3 days compassionate leave. I wish to take the following dates off (dates).

Thank you for your support.


As Circle says, cc in HR.

retirednow Wed 24-Jan-18 12:21:45

Would your 3 days compassionate leave entitlement be the 3 days that you are due to work, that would give you a week off without having to do anything.

Pennypinkhair Wed 24-Jan-18 15:36:40

Thank you for all of your replies. I am going to go and speak with my manager tomorrow and see what she says to my request for some time off.
Retirednow ...I have already had 2 days of my compassionate leave, so in order to go to the funeral and stay for the week I will need another 4 days of compassionate leave. HR said that I am entitled to 3 days.
I think that the pressures that we are working under at the moment, make taking time off and organising cover very difficult for everyone.
I completely understand that, but just feel so desperately sad and unable to do my job to the best of my ability at this time.

AppleKatie Wed 24-Jan-18 15:43:05

I would tell her the dates that you will be off. Say 1 is compassionate leave and the rest (2? You say you only work 3 shifts a week?) will be annual leave.

If she refuses it I would take it to HR and offer to them to take it as unpaid leave or annual leave.

If they are no help I expect that the stress of it all would be enough for your GP to sign you off for longer than a week.

Which would serve two purposes 1) give you the chance to grieve in the way that you need too. 2) serve them bloody right for acting without compassion.

NeedMoreSleepOrSugar Wed 24-Jan-18 15:56:54

I think you're right that you're actually only entitled to one more day, but your manager can of course authorise more.

I'd be inclined to email (copying in hr ir het manager) saying thanks for the support so far, particularly as it's been in unusual circumstances and quite traumatic for you. The funeral will be on date, and due to travel and your responsibilities re her estate, you need to be away from work from date to date. Could she please advise how this can be arranged and if you need to fill out any forms/ provide any additional info.

Any decent manager would be happy with that and simply respond saying no problem, leave it with me. But if she's a cow, it'll make it that much harder for her to say no/ mess you about.

Twogoround Wed 24-Jan-18 16:06:04

Go Dr and get sign off . You need at least 2 week off

Namechangetempissue Wed 24-Jan-18 16:10:55

I can't even imagine being that unfeeling and unsympathetic. When in worked as a HR manager we gave a week off following the death of an immediate family member, plus any other days if needed by GP note, then obviously the day of the funeral without question or comment.
Speak to your GP flowers

retirednow Wed 24-Jan-18 16:31:22

My manager wouldnt grant me any compassionate leave, claiming that as I worked part time we would have to make arrangements around my days off,.some managers are hopeless , strange though she managed to take 3 weeks short notice annual leave to sort her own life out. I hope you manage to sort something out and spend quality time with your dad.

Bluelady Wed 24-Jan-18 16:38:09

I'd just get signed off sick for at least a week. Your manager is a heartless nightmare.

I'm very sorry for your loss. Losing your mum is one of the toughest things life throws at you. You must be in bits.

carefreeeee Wed 24-Jan-18 17:23:39

This sounds terrible. You need time off, it's really traumatic and you need to spend time with family. If you don't deal with this properly now you might end up suffering more in the long run. Your boss isn't being very sympathetic. I think you should either tell her you are taking a week's annual leave, or go and get signed off.

My parents have each lost their parents over the last few years, each time their employers gave at least a week or 2 off (unpaid) without any quibbling.

niccyb Wed 24-Jan-18 17:25:20

How awful. My own experience working in the health sector is that they are very unsympathetic toward their own staff. I experienced a manager like this when my nana died. She screamed at me down the phone on the day she died demanding I come into work. A week later a colleague’s wife’s grandma died and he was told to take a couple of days off to support her.
I still work in the healthcare but in a different field and my current team are brilliant and nothing like the ward I was on.
I would go on the sick personally, you will come to learn (if not already) that you manager likely favours other members of your colleagues and if the same thing happened to your manager she probably would take time off herself.
Take care and good luck x

niccyb Wed 24-Jan-18 17:26:31

Don’t forget a job is not necessarily for life and you need to grieve. You can get another. Lots of love to you.

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