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To think ‘Really?’ when a work colleague takes time off with her sick DDs.

(283 Posts)
ElphabaTheGreen Thu 11-Jul-19 07:41:40

To be clear - I have no intention of mentioning/doing anything about this IRL, and I am very willing to accept I’m BU. I mainly just want to gauge if my scepticism is justified in any way.

A work colleague has two DDs, 15 and 17 - no special needs, no long-term health conditions, both in mainstream schooling, older one learning to drive. Whenever either of them is off school with a minor illness - heavy cold, stomach bug - she calls in to claim emergency carer’s leave and takes the day off with them, sometimes two days. This happens once every two or three months, with either girl, not just one in particular, so we have to pick up her work.

Now my DCs are only 7 and almost 5, but I was very much hoping that by the time they’re in high school, I’ll be able to confirm they can access the loo, food and fluids, then leave them at home by themselves and not pass my workload to my colleagues and make it into work. My mum did this with me from the age of 12 possibly even younger

AIBU to think 15 and 17 year olds are old enough to look after themselves when they’re a bit unwell, or is this one of those parental care things that has changed since I was a teenager? Or is it a ‘depends on the child’ thing?

Skittlesss Thu 11-Jul-19 08:00:36

I would recommend she takes them both to the doctors for checkups if they are ill enough to take a couple of days off school every couple of months!

TreacherousPissFlap Thu 11-Jul-19 08:01:51

I have the day off today (I was owed it anyway) as DS (15) is having new train-tracks fitted and I felt that one of us really should be there. He normally attends check ups alone.

As for illness we would leave him at home. I would alert work that I need to keep an eye on my phone and DH would try and pop home if he was passing.

KnifeAngel Thu 11-Jul-19 08:02:05

As long as she isn't getting paid for it. If she is getting paid then she is taking the piss. I wouldn't put up with that and would be contacting management.

ArgyMargy Thu 11-Jul-19 08:03:06

I would not leave an ill 12 year old on their own.

usernameuser Thu 11-Jul-19 08:03:13

This happens once every two or three months, with either girl, not just one in particular,

Two days off every two months? Those kids must be really poorly 🙄hmm

reluctantbrit Thu 11-Jul-19 08:04:06

With 17 I think no way I would stay at home for a cold. 15 is a hit and miss, it still very much depends on the teen.

Saying that, I have quite low blood pressure and even a cold can wipe me out to a point I really struggle getting up and making food, I fainted as a teen on a regular basis with “just a cold”. A bug is even worse. So even when a child appears with no health problems there may be more to it than your colleague talks about.

One of my colleagues with a teen always tried to work from home so that at least some work could be done while looking after her teen.

IceRebel Thu 11-Jul-19 08:04:43

I would not leave an ill 12 year old on their own.

How about a 15 and 17 year old, like in the OP?

ChihuahuaMummy1 Thu 11-Jul-19 08:05:26

Anything after 14 and I think its taking the piss

BlueJava Thu 11-Jul-19 08:08:43

She sounds a CF, but perhaps you don't know the full story. One of my DS is 17, he's had some MH issues, which I've told my line manager about but no on else. Sometimes I take a day off with him to help him over a difficult situation or because he has counselling or needs to talk.

MsTSwift Thu 11-Jul-19 08:09:38

A friend still gets a sitter for her nt 15 year old great hulking lad! I was babysitting myself from 13

GrabbyGertie Thu 11-Jul-19 08:09:45

I guess it’s impossible to know what they are ill with. If it’s a mental health issue it could easily be essential that she be there. It could also be her being ridiculous. You just can’t tell.

Pinktinker Thu 11-Jul-19 08:10:32

She’s taking the piss and I’m surprised your employer lets her get away with it.

I was prepared to say YABU until I saw their ages. It can be difficult when you have younger children and no alternative childcare but a 15 and 17 year old can look after themselves!

bumblingbovine49 Thu 11-Jul-19 08:14:06

It depends how I'll they are.. DS (14l) has been sent home from school 'ill' 8 times in the last two terms ( a whole other issue there!). I don't leave work unless he is too ill to get himself home which is nnevr so far hmm

However he had a ' bug' a few months ago where he had a really high temperature and was obviously very ill. I stayed home for two days with him that time as he could barely stand up and wasn't drinking without being reminded/ encouraged to.

Also I don't tell anyone at work
( Except my direct line manager in confidence) but DS has ASD. I talk about him as if he is a normal teenager to colleagues ( when I talk about him at all , which is not that often)

MollyButton Thu 11-Jul-19 08:14:26

Do they have any MH issues? You may well not know - I certainly wouldn't share with colleagues this info. But if not then it is ridiculous - but in life you tend to have to suck up the ones who do this kind of thing, and not let it eat away at you.

silvercuckoo Thu 11-Jul-19 08:14:29

How do you know she is not taking herĺ annual leave, but emergency carer's leave, if you are not her manager?

anothernotherone Thu 11-Jul-19 08:16:53

My colleague has special dispensation not to work weekends (24/7 shift work) because of her DD. She was granted it when her DD was 4 (she's single parent) Her DD is 15, nearly 16 now and she still never works a weekend. When chatting casually she's said her DD never gets up before midday at weekends, and cycles everywhere, to friends houses and town etc. She often barely sees her.

The colleague who does the rota sometimes asks her to do one shift, on one weekend day, because otherwise someone will have to do 3 full weekends (6 days) and she usually says something non committal, but if she's put on the rota for even an early shift finishing at midday at a weekend she crosses it off.

She's a good colleague in most other ways, but it rancles that I often have to pick up a 3rd full weekend so she can be off every weekend "with" her DD (who is probably in bed or out without her mum) when my children are all younger than hers.

longwayoff Thu 11-Jul-19 08:17:51

Oh joy. Once had to gently (grrr) explain to a mum that, although she'd accompanied her 19 year old daughter to our workplace, she wouldn't be sitting in on the interview. Sigh. How far can childhood extend.

Whatafustercluck Thu 11-Jul-19 08:20:37


Jenasaurus Thu 11-Jul-19 08:20:56

I have 3 grown up DC and this thread made me think back to when they were younger. I honestly can’t remember taking a day off when they were unwell. Then I remembered why. My parents lived in the same road and would step in and help out. To be honest my DD has a lot of illness. Tonsillitis, cellulitis, appendicitis, meningitis and endometriosis. She also broke her arm and had an operation to remove a power ranger from her head. My eldest DS was never unwell. And my other DS had asthma so was often unwell. I was lucky to have grandparents who were like a second set of parents for my DC. Having said that unless really ill I would have left my teenage DC at home in bed and not taken time ofd. But everyone’s situation is different so I won’t judge

Playmytune Thu 11-Jul-19 08:25:10

She is taking the piss.
I worked for nhs. Their policy was that paid parental leave was only for children up to the age of 14. You could still take parental leave after that, up to child’s age of 18 but that was unpaid.

MrsGrammaticus Thu 11-Jul-19 08:26:05

Hi - I'm a mum of a DD18. Until 3 months ago, she was an A level student, geeky and seemingly happy. Then one day, I felt something 'wasn't right'. I went into her room and found evidence of hard drinking (she was a functioning alcoholic) self harm and suicidal thoughts. Since then our worlds have fallen apart. Panic runs to A&E, dealing with manic outbursts and a detox. We've at times just had to drop everything. My DH has had to ring in absent at no notice because his DD is suicidal.
It's very easy on the face of things to go "they're 17, can take care of themselves".....but it's sadly not always like that. There could be a MH issue here. It's very hard to disclose these things to colleagues, though if it that I'd encourage her to be brave and say something to work....we've had no choice actually and the kindness and understanding of others has really helped.

PonderingPanda Thu 11-Jul-19 08:30:00

I get one carers leave day per year. Rest of the time it would be unpaid or holiday.

Last winter l was asked what my plans were in regards to work (NHS) if the weather turned bad. I said the only time l wouldn't attempt to come in is if the school closed. I was informed that's not a good enough reason to be off and to make other arrangements now even though they know I'm a single parent and my closest family member is 55miles away and I'd be disciplined for not going in

MrsGrammaticus Thu 11-Jul-19 08:30:05

By the DC's were the type who never previously had a day of ill with snivels etc when they were younger. But now, the time needed to obtain support for an older teen with MH issues has been astronomical and we've had no choice in the matter. Depression causes intertia and those affected might be old enough to help themselves but they literally CANNOT.

MrsMonkeyBear Thu 11-Jul-19 08:32:11

At 15 I was left to fend for myself. If I was sick and thought I needed to see the doctor, I called myself and either walked or caught the bus.

I remember getting Noro just before Christmas one year and my parents still left me to look after my younger sibling whilst they went to a party!!!

ReanimatedSGB Thu 11-Jul-19 08:33:37

The trouble is, there may well be a reason (such as the DCs' mental health is an issue, as some PP have described) that this woman doesn't want to share with the whole office. Because of the way mental illness is still stigmatized: the colleague probably doesn't want to have to spend time fending off all the fucknuggets who feel entitled to tell her that she is 'spoiling' her DC or they are faking, or what they need is a colouring book, some green tea and to do a yoga.
If there is a demonstrable impact on the rest of the department, it might be worth speaking to the manager about how to fix it, but not in terms of 'Waaah, Gloria takes so much time off to mind her kids, make her stop it.' Bear in mind that the manager might well tell you nicely to mind your own business/go and fuck yourself, because whatever the issue is, you are not entitled to information about a colleague's health or the health of their family members if that colleague doesn't want you to know.

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