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Employer wanting back to work meeting after having 2 days off in a week

(16 Posts)
coxylady88 Mon 20-May-13 13:29:03


Basically I started my job for a company after my maternity leave with my first child. All was going well and I am happy with who I work with etc. However my child is constantly picking up bugs and is too ill sometimes to be out of bed never mind at a child-minder. The first instant of my DD being ill was diarreah and we later after 6 weeks of the continued problem (child-minder wouldn't accept her under these conditions) found out she was lactose intolerant. I was then put under some family related stress before Christmas and doctors signed me off ill. Since I returned in January me and my husband have taken time off each every time my child-minder and her children was off ill, my daughter was ill and as she has picked up everything and has passed it onto me and my husband.
Recently my child-minder had a mumps scare and due to all these past illnesses my DD hasn't had her MMR so took time off to get her injection sorted and was back at work the next day. however as I only work 3 days a week I was asked to work one of my days off and I didn't have time to arrange a replacement child-minder to help so had to say no. On my day off I have come down with tonsillitis and was told by doctor to take 2 days off to rest (going to doctors on a Sunday to get treatment). I cannot work today and Tuesday as doctors have said it contagious and I needed rest so I text my boss asking what he would like. He replied saying I would need to have a back to work meeting (even though I have only yet taken 1 day off ill with this condition) stating it is effecting his business.
I don't know what to do and am frightened of being sacked. My Daughter and her illness comes first, also my child-minder will turn my daughter away for anything like a rash (which went down in an hour after my husband going home after she called to get him home) and also now due to her illness I cannot also get cover and am under pressure to go into work despite not having care for my daughter.
I really would appreciate some advice before I go back to this meeting so I can say without being a mess.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Mon 20-May-13 13:32:50

Back to work meetings ate standard where I am after any period of absence.
How much time off have yiu had?

StealthOfficialCrispTester Mon 20-May-13 13:34:05

Because I have to say it does sound a lot from tbe way you describe it. I sympathise, as hopefully yiur boss does but ultimately he needs tk deliver.

NorthernLurker Mon 20-May-13 13:36:29

I do a return to work meeting with all employees if they've been off two hours nevermind two days. It's not unreasonable for him to discuss your level of absence with you as long as all employees are held to the same standards. Given what you've said I'm not surprised he's unhappy. As your child seems prone to illness and you only have a childminder (no family to help out - I understand that, I have the same issue) i would be thinking about handing your notice in. Atm this isn't fair on any of you.

coxylady88 Mon 20-May-13 13:44:24

thanks for your advice.
Yes my mum has an autistic child and due to the hardest year since starting to work after having my daughter.
Would I get any help from benefits if I had to leave due to this matter of constantly having to be off due to an ill child?
I need to consider all avenues before making a decision.
Recently a girl has been off for over 4 weeks due to having glandular fever and they have been lovely to her. She doesn't have a child, once called in sick because her dog was whinning all night??

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 20-May-13 14:18:32

I don't think you can compare yourself to the other a girl as she had one single illness where as you have had multiple different illnesses. I would be looking in such an interview to see if we could do anything to help you.

annh Mon 20-May-13 14:27:01

Given that you work three days a week, how many days absence have you had in the past year?

Don't bring other people's level of sickness or absence into any discussions. It is not your business and you are not necessarily aware of any discussions which may be going on with that person. There is also a difference in being off with a specific illness like Glandular Fever because there, once the illness has been diagnosed, the employer can make plans to cover work or employ temporary staff. In your case, it honestly sounds as if you have been off ill/looking after your dd more than you have actually been in work and your boss never knows whether you are going to turn up or not. While good employers will try to be sympathetic to your situation, at the end of the day, their primary responsibility is to their business, customers and other staff and there IS a limit to how much absence any business can tolerate and still function.

In advance of the meeting, I would try to come up with some suggestions for moving forward. Things you could focus on might be (and some of these may not be true for you/possible/applicable to your job):

- all children are ill when they start childcare. Emphasise that you believe your daughter's main health problem (lactose intolerance) has now been identified and is being treated and that other illnesses will reduce as she picks up immunity
- identifying some alternatives for childcare - do you have ANY family/friends who could help out sometimes, particularly where your dd is not ill but is off because the CM is ill
- make sure your boss knows that you and your dh split the time off 50/50 in case s/he thinks you are picking up all the absence
- talk about swapping days to make up for time when you are off because of your dd. Can any of your work be done from home?
- look at both your own and your dh's health, is there anything you can do to improve matters so that you don't pick up every child bug going? Some things are probably unavoidable but it's not normal to pick up everything your child gets. Are you run-down? Can you improve by simple things like getting more sleep, taking a good multi-vitamin?

I think your boss probably has been sympathetic up to now given your level of absence but there is a limit to what any business can bear so be prepared for a fairly serious discussion.

flowery Mon 20-May-13 14:36:49

Nothing wrong with having a return to work meeting for anyone who has been off sick. In a situation where there has been lots of absence, it would definitely be recommended for both employer and employee's benefit.

How much time exactly have you had off, both for your sickness and to look after your daughter?

NorthernLurker Mon 20-May-13 15:51:48

Depending on your income you may be entitled to some tax credits but unless your child has a serious illness (thankfully not the case) you won't get any specific help through benefits and you won't be able to apply for jobseekers at this point having left a job.
I think it would be better to do that though than continue putting all of you, including the employer, through this stress. Bottom line is you need to be at work more or not at all.Lots of luck with the meeting though - why not see what they want to discuss and then decide where that leaves you.

noisytoys Mon 20-May-13 16:18:48

Hope it all goes ok. From the sound of it, it is a lot of time of, but I know having 2 working parents is a logistical nightmare sometimes. I hope something gets sorted for you

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 20-May-13 16:50:55

One thing worth considering is an emergency nanny not cheap, but if it is that or losing your job could be worthwhile investigating.
I have used them in the past the Nanny get is brilliant does a totally lovely job with DD. Dispenses Calpol and Nurofen as well as TLC. Plus she offers to cook me a meal as well.
Not quite the same as Mummy, but can help out in difficult situations,

redskyatnight Tue 21-May-13 15:30:27

As others have said a return to work interview is standard for any period of abasence.

I also agree with others that it sounds like you've had a lot of time off. However, it sounds like some of this is due to your childminder not being available due to her own or her children's illness. Would your situation improve if you found alternative (more robust) childcare (realising this is easier said than done)?

ReluctantBeing Tue 21-May-13 15:32:03

A back to work meeting is standard, even after an hour off.

nenevomito Tue 21-May-13 15:40:28

I do back to work interviews with all staff when they've been off sick and then more detailed interviews if they've had a lot of absence. What he is proposing sounds perfectly normal to me.

In business terms, a long period of sickness for a specified reason is a whole load better than lots of small absences when you don't know if someone is going to turn up or not.

Both DH and I work full time and had to swap from childminder to nursery as it was more reliable. They also can often do emergency care days better than a childminder as well. Children get colds and any CM and nursery that I've used haven't minded DS or DD coming in with a cold as most of the children have nose candles anyway.

Making the point about how your DD's lactose intolerance has been identified, so should reduce absence is a good one. You need to show your employer that you're committed, so talk to him about how you will do your best to reduce your absences.

FasterStronger Tue 21-May-13 15:40:55

coxy you also need to consider if you tend to be off on a particular day of the week and prepare to explain why this has happened.

nenevomito Tue 21-May-13 15:42:44

Also - to be fair to your boss - if I had an employee who had been off loads in the first year of employment, I'd be rolling my eyes a bit as well, sorry.

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