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time off for sick children

(15 Posts)
fransmom Fri 23-Feb-07 13:03:08

have been told by personnel manager that because i've had so much time off looking after my daughter who was ill that if i have anymore time off, even if it's to look after her, then i will get a formal disciplinary! i don't think this is fair.

my firm was taken over and the old contracts were kept for those who wanted to keep them. however, i now get the feeling that they are trying to get rid of those people on old contracts because of being a "nuisance". are they allowed to do this?

Hulababy Fri 23-Feb-07 13:04:38

What does your contract say re. time off for dependetn's care? And for your sick?

CheesyFeet Fri 23-Feb-07 13:07:06

How much time have you had off fransmom?

fransmom Fri 23-Feb-07 13:11:01

am not entirely sure but last week had to have one day off cos she still had conjunctivitis and had the week before because she was seriously ill with croup.

as for contracts am not sure. even so, you are still entitled to time off for dependents. i shall have to get a copy nad ask the union i think. tehy don't like me anyway cos i stand up for myself and the gm called me militant and disruptive. i just laughed at him

Dophus Fri 23-Feb-07 13:13:20

I don't think they can discipline, especially if LO's under 5. They don't have to pay you though.

NO factualt info to back me up though.

Tiggerish Fri 23-Feb-07 13:20:13

fransmom - I am off work today because my lo has chicken pox. Work have forced me to take a day unpaid leave

I does depend on your contract and how understanding your boss is, as to how they treat such absence.

Tortington Fri 23-Feb-07 13:22:40

why dont you just ring in sick?

fransmom Fri 23-Feb-07 13:33:23

because i have also been ill thios past year and now, apparently my review period is ongoing

CheesyFeet Fri 23-Feb-07 14:20:24

If I were you I'd take advice from the CAB, but as far as I know if you take unpaid leave there isn't anything they can do

The arrangement I have is that I take holiday or unpaid leave if dd is sick. I could ring in saying I am ill but don't in case I need sick leave for myself later (as I inevitably do, as she generally gets highly infectious viruses!)

chocolatekimmy Fri 23-Feb-07 14:52:55

Fransmom - They CANNOT take disciplinary action against you for taking time off for dependants. TOFD is a statutory right. If they took disciplinary action and eventually dismissed you on the back of it, they would be looking at losing at a tribunal for unfair dismissal.

There are no limits on how often you can be off under this legislation.

There was a case a couple of years ago where a woman was sacked after 17 occasions. It was found to be an unfair dismissal as she was merely exercising her statutory right (her child was special needs too) and she had followed the company reporting every time.

This is a blatant threat which is bang out of order. I would raise a formal grievance if I were you.

The law states that you are entitled to take time of in an emergency (sudden or unexpected) to care for a dependent such as a child. This covers sickness, breakdown in care arrangements, etc. The law is vague as to how long you can take, it states reasonable and suggests one or two days should be enough to cover the initial emergency and to sort out alternative care. Each case should be considered on its own merits and personal circumstances.

The key thing here is that you follow the company procedure exactly with regards to reporting the absence. They will have a policy no doubt to state what you have to do if you are absent (phone in by a certain time etc, who to notify, what happens upon return etc). You must state the reason you are absent, how long you expect to be absent for, and if you can't be specific you should give an estimate and keep them informed on a regular basis.

There are a few buts. If a company think you are abusing the right, like taking time off and saying its for a child when it isn't, they could look at disciplinary for conduct - lying, loss of trust and confidence etc. The difficulty is that the company would have to prove it first and how would they know (unless someone is completely stupid and get caught red handed). A company can ask for proof but you are under no obligation to provide it.

The other issue is if you needed say a week or more to care for a sick child, if you couldn't get any other help for example. At my company, we 'allow' the first 2 days as TOFD then would look to offer holiday or more unpaid time off. We have an absence procedure where each occasion counts against you so on occasions any time in excess of 2 days (but depending on the individual circumstances) would then count as an unauthorised absence but even from a company/hr view this is a bit tricky to deal with.

For the record, school closure days would not count as TOFD as they are pre-arranged. Though a person could say that the person booked to look after the child that day was themselves ill!

Personnel manager needs to learn the legislation - people like her put the profession into disrepute!

CAT me if you want anymore info.

kslatts Fri 23-Feb-07 14:54:14

I am allowed reasonable time off if one of my dd's is ill, however it is either taken as unpaid leave or holiday. My contract just states reasonable time which could mean anything.

It always surprises me when people expect to be paid by a company when they need to take time off if a child is ill. To me it should be unpaid otherwise it's not fair on the employees that don't have children.

chocolatekimmy Fri 23-Feb-07 14:59:00

Dophus - TOFD doesn't have any age restrictions at all - covers all dependants such as child, partner, someone close living in the same household too.

For the benefit of others, its not a contractual thing either, its statutory legislation. Some (good) companies do give a set number of paid days which is over and above the statutory legislation.

It is unpaid (as I am sure everyone knows) but again, good companies often look at short notice holiday or making up the time, depends who you work for.

But, at the end of the day, its about being at home for your child and them not being able to stop you.

fransmom Sun 25-Feb-07 22:36:00

kslatts i never expected to be paid

Chloe55 Sun 25-Feb-07 22:40:50

You say it's not fair for those employees without kids kslatts? Can honestly say I would much rather be at work than looking after a sick child, it's not a bonus to get the day off.

I have had to take a day off once for my ds and it was unpaid for the record.

chocolatekimmy Mon 26-Feb-07 11:04:02

kslatts - its not just for children, its time off for dependants so includes partner + other close relatives etc

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