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a work issue

(14 Posts)
SecretSlattern Wed 15-Jul-09 11:33:58

I went back to work in Jan as a TA on a temp contract, due to finish this week. 2 weeks into the job, DS (who was 7 mo at the time) was rushed into hospital with bronchiolitis. Whilst he was there, he was rushed to ITU and spent 10 days in there. He was on oxygen, had a feeding tube and was being filled with steroids.

Since then, he has had repeated bouts of breathlessness requiring emergency hospital treatment. He was kept overnight one further occasion but most of the time he has been sent home again after a few hours obs on A&E.

We were told it was likely DS was asthmatic but because of his age, they will refuse to diagnose it as such. He is on regular preventer inhaler medication and when he is really struggling to breathe, he is put on oxygen and given nebulisers.

Anyway, my absence total is running into a couple of weeks worth now due to the odd days here and there I have had to take off. I do feel bad, it wasn't my intention to mess work around like this, but tbh, I had no idea DS' condition was going to be as bad or as ongoing as this. He is still only 13mo.

This week, I have had to take 2 days off because he has had a flare up again. DD was also off school this week (she is diagnosed asthmatic) with high temperature, sickness and diarrohea, coughing etc (she is fine today and has returned to school).

My boss is very unhapy with me (understandable) because of the time I have had off. But yesterday phoned me to inform me that he expects me in to work and to make alternative arrangements for the DC. Ordinarily, it would be possible to make alternative arrangements as DS goes to a CM and my parents live literally across the road. However, my parents are working and DS is too ill to go to the CM. It doesn't help that the CM has a suspected case of SF. She has taken DS on occasion when he has needed his medication but not been too bad iyswim.

I am upset with the situation because although I have had a lot of time off, it hasn't been for daft reasons. I went into work on the day DS was admitted to hopsital the first time and was told to go home but the point is, I was willing to work that day as DD still needed to go to school and DH was with DS. On another occasion, I was called by DD's school and asked to collect her which I did, but I managed to get someone to sit with her (mum was off) so returned to work in the afternoon.

My boss has spoken to DH this morning and basically said that as DH is self employed, it should be up to him to care for the DC's. However, given that I don't have a job to go to from next week, DH is worried about being laid off from the company he is with (he is self employed within a company if that makes sense) which would be awful as we would have nothing coming in.

What should I have done? I wholeheartedly understand the importance of my role within the school and I am genuinely upset that I have caused them an "inconvenience" (boss's word to me yesterday) but surely if it is just not possible to make other arrangements for the care of the DCs, I should be given a bit of a break and not made to feel like I am swinging the lead? AIBU?

Please give me your honest opinions!

readyfornumber2and3 Wed 15-Jul-09 12:00:59

shock Your boss is being completely unreasonable!
You are entitled by law to take time off (though unpaid) to care for your dependants.
If your children are ill then you need to be with them end of story.

Tell your boss to back off and show some compassion

SecretSlattern Wed 15-Jul-09 12:06:27

To be fair to him though, I had ten days off when DS was in the hospital and have had 10/11 days off here and there when DS has been poorly. I had a 3 days off when my nan died and then had a week off with a kidney infection so there has been lots of times where I've needed to time off.

Thanks for the reply. I was kind of hoping that he would be a bit more understanding as he has young children himself but it seems not.

readyfornumber2and3 Wed 15-Jul-09 12:13:54

When your nan died you were entitled to compassionate leave.

When you were ill you used sick leave

Taking time off for DS is dependants leave

They are all different and while not ideal to your employers there was nothing you could do about it. You should not be feeling guilty about taking time off when your son has been very ill.

He has obviously not had any serious health problems with his child but that doesnt mean he cant show compassion.

Sorry if I sound bossy lol I just hate it when people think that you should prioritise work over a sick child

dawntigga Wed 15-Jul-09 12:32:07

This can be seen as a capability issue - are you capable of being at work for the hours contracted? I think it sucks that it can be seen this way but the school you work for want their employee at work. This is imnsho heartless and a consequence of the way schools are being run like a business.


SecretSlattern Wed 15-Jul-09 12:34:12

Generally, yes, there have been no problems with my capability for being at work. We have had a real run of bad luck recently, all during my first job after having DS.

I'm pleased to know it's not just me and that my boss is being a bit unreasonable too.

traceybath Wed 15-Jul-09 12:41:19

Not sure if you were entitled to compassionate leave when your nan died - many workplaces only give that for immediate family.

You have been unlucky but it does add up to nearly 6 weeks off work since January which is quite a lot.

However don't see what your boss can do if your contract is almost up - its not as though you planned it.

Also don't think he should have discussed it with your DH - you're the employee not him.

SecretSlattern Wed 15-Jul-09 12:44:55

To be fair again to him, DH phoned in on my behalf because I didn't have the bottle to. My boss phoned me yesterday and had a go at me down the phone so I was trying to avoid that kind of situation. For that instance, yes, I am unreasonable and I know that. I'm just so worn down with illness etc and couldn't face another tongue lashing.

Traceybath you are right, my contract is almost up and I am trying not to dwell on it. As horrible as it sounds, I'm afraid that my kids have got to come first, before anyone elses (and I'm sure every parent feels the same).

YorkshireRose Wed 15-Jul-09 12:48:58

You are entitled to take time off to deal with medical emergencies of dependents, but not take time off for the whole of a lengthy illness. An example given is that you can take time off to pick up a child from school who has chickenpox and arrange childcare but you can't take 2 weeks off work to care for them until they can go back to school.

I think your employer is nervous that your child has an ongoing condition which shows no signs of resolving and you will need regular time off to care for them. I can sympathise with this as it does seem you could need quite a lot of time off to deal with your child's illness. Your employer does need your job to be covered.

I think you need find someone who can take care of your dc when they are too ill to go to childminder in future. I know this is easier said than done but it is what you need to do if you have a dc with an ongoing illness.

Sorry, i know it is rotten and you are trying your best but that is the legal position.

MIAonline Wed 15-Jul-09 12:50:33

Sometimes, in life, we have a run of bad luck and yes I don't deny it will have been very inconvenient for your boss, but what the hell are you meant to do. Until such a time as they employ robots, people will have issues to deal with in life.

She clearly should not be speaking to your DH, it is your job not his, or have we gone back 100 years? shock

A common phrase on MN, but she will just have to suck it up and get on with. grin

She has asserted her authority, but there is nothing you or her can do, try not to let it get to you and just look forward to finishing

traceybath Wed 15-Jul-09 12:55:47

Oh you definitely should have done the phonecall to your employer - or at least thats always been the policy wherever i've worked unless you were so incapacitated you couldn't get to the phone.

But just breathe a sigh of relief its all nearly over.

MIAonline Wed 15-Jul-09 12:59:13

Sorry just seen that you had said your boss was a man ignore my many references to a woman!

SecretSlattern Wed 15-Jul-09 13:02:00

The issue with my boss speaking to DH came about because I bottled out of ringing in this morning and asked DH to do it for me. DH apparently said to my boss that if there was a problem they could ring him. Which is what my boss has done.

DS's condition is exasperated by general colds. We have had a couple of months without any problems so when he does come down, he comes down hard. He has spent the last 2 days cuddled into me, he's not interested in playing or anything else.

To make matters worse in the work dept, DH has basically told my boss that he is being unreasonable, particularly after the way I have been treated since I have been there (a whole other, long thread!). A conversation then took place whereby DH (who thought he was doing the right thing) has told my boss about some issues I've been having with another member of staff. My boss is now very very unhappy about this and I know I am going to get into huge trouble when I eventually go back. I haven't mentioned my issues with this other person as my contract is so short and didn't see the point.

My school has allocated a place to my DD in September and I am now worried that they will withdraw it because of this issue. I have just given notice to her current school (she has been bullied for a while, I posted about it a while back) so now I am shitting myself that she won't have a school to go to.

I just want to add, because I know this is a bugbear on MN that I haven't intentionally withheld info from the OP, I was hoping to get some perspective on the initial issue before going into more detail about other things iyswim.

wasabipeas Wed 15-Jul-09 14:13:43

slattern, they can't just withdraw the place, so don't worry about that
As you said, your children will always come before your work, but is it realistic to be working full time until your DS gets a proper diagnosis?
If his illness is going to be reoccurant, you are going to keep needing time off.
As OP said, 6 weeks off in 6 months is a lot and long term, it isn't sustainable for any employer
Is it financially realistic for you to take the next 6 months off work/work part time until your DS condition settles down?
Career wise, you might end up doing yourself more harm than good if you get a 'repution' for absense, even if it isn't your 'fault' which might case more problems in the long run

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