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Time off work when toddler unwell

(35 Posts)
hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 07:51:08

I have an 18 month who goes to nursery FT and DH and I both work FT. He has been unwell since Friday (temp, cough/cold symptoms and very clingy), and is not well enough to go to nursery. Until now we have had in laws who would help out in these circumstances but they have moved away so we have no one to help. One of us needs to take time off. We have agreed we should split the days off and take turns. I'm worried about the impression I'm giving at work, as I know I am entitled to do this an no one can say anything, but the culture at my work is really not the type where people take time off to look after children. Everyone works so hard and they all seem to have a SAHP to take care of their kids so it's really not the norm to call in sick for an unwell child. I'm concerned about how it would be viewed by my colleagues - I really love my job, I just wish the culture was a bit more family friendly. How do others feel when their colleagues take time off and they are left picking up the slack in the office?

scrabbler3 Mon 06-Nov-17 10:06:54

I job share. When my job share partnerneeds time off for domestic emergencies I don't mind, and it's reciprocated. As long as people don't take the mickey and their OHs (if applicable) are doing their share, it's fine. You may have to use annual leave though.

Hoppinggreen Mon 06-Nov-17 10:13:09

Are you sure you are entitled to call in sick for a sick child?
Your employer may have that policy ( or not) but many places wouid insist you take it as unpaid leave

outedmyselfagain Mon 06-Nov-17 10:16:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ohdearducks Mon 06-Nov-17 10:17:52

In the UK you’re entitled to parental leave. Your colleagues may not like it but that’s the law, take the time you’re entitled and then go back and get on with your work it’s not really anyone else’s business and they’re not allowed to discriminate against you because of it.

Ohdearducks Mon 06-Nov-17 10:19:30

Also at one time or another most people need to take time off for a variety of reason, you will provide your share of cover and picking up the slack too so don’t worry about it.

PurplePillowCase Mon 06-Nov-17 10:23:40

share 50/50 with the dad and let your work know that he is doing his part.
dh and I sometimes share days, one starts work early and we switch over at noon so that both our works don't suffer as much.

it's tough, but after that first winter in nursery it gets better smile

Bombardier25966 Mon 06-Nov-17 10:26:31

In the UK you’re entitled to parental leave. Your colleagues may not like it but that’s the law, take the time you’re entitled and then go back and get on with your work it’s not really anyone else’s business and they’re not allowed to discriminate against you because of it.

It's not as simple as that.

You're entitled to emergency leave to arrange care for your child. Any more than a day and you'd be pushing that.

Standard parental leave must be taken in whole week blocks and 21 days notice must be given.

Some employers may have more generous policies, but they are above and beyond what the law offers.

Anything taken outside of these provisions may be disciplined and such action would not be discriminatory.

SheepyFun Mon 06-Nov-17 10:32:38

You have to give 21 days notice for parental leave according to the government website, and you have to take it a week at a time.

Where I work, we can have emergency time off, but it's either unpaid leave (as is parental leave) or you can choose to use your holiday allowance. I've always had enough holiday (I assume I'll need some of it for emergency childcare). Fortunately the culture where I work is family friendly, and I can work from home to some extent.

CryingShame Mon 06-Nov-17 10:46:35

where I work it would be a disciplinary matter to take sick leave when you're not sick. You have to state what is wrong with you and call in daily. From your OP, you're not ill, just as home with someone who is.

That's either unpaid carer's leave or annual leave.

I'm not being unsympathetic - I've just had 2 days off as annual leave with DS who was ill as my DH couldn't cancel what he had on at work. We have no family nearby. It sucks, and gets even better when they're school age and you need to cover the longer school holidays.

Sometimes child minders are better able to take children with illnesses, if their other mindees have already had the same bug. Might be worth looking at, in preference to a nursery.

Hillingdon Mon 06-Nov-17 10:46:36

Interesting thread with lots of different views. Having worked throughout my children's childhood its hard. However people stating what can they do, it not my fault etc are missing the point. When you go off with no notice your colleagues have to cover for you.

We only had two children for just this reason. Your childcare issues, fallen out with GP's, no one available is not of interest to the poor people covering for you.

I managed a team a few years ago and tbh - I was sick of hearing the whole sorry stories of other people's issues in great detail and often with a very defensive attitude.

I had one person who wanted to work from home (cover school runs, sickness cover, save on childcare costs) who genuinely wondered why it wasn't possible.

I really don't know how I survived but my DH did do his share when you could, along with my DM (who lived 100 miles away) and other working Mums who helped out occasionally but you have to grow those relationships.

I see threads where people HAVE to bring their children to say Xmas concerts because they claim they literally do not have anyone to ask. I always wonder why. No one, no friends, neighbours, relatives, paid babysitters, other parents?

wheresmycake Mon 06-Nov-17 11:25:55

I don't mind if a colleague takes time off for a sick child - it is no worse in terms of extra work for me than if they were sick themselves. Also I have been in their position and know it can be a bit of a rock /hard place situation in that they have to look after the child but also have responsibility to colleagues.

hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 11:50:11

Thanks for the replies. I used the term 'call in sick' loosely, I actually mean 'take unplanned leave to look after my sick child', but i would be calling at short notice and not turning up to work, so it has the same effect on other colleagues as calling in sick. Our families live 350 miles and 6000 miles away so we literally have no help at short notice, and the few people we know locally work the same hours as us. I can work from home if I have a very good reason, I don't think its possible to do that with a sick toddler around, so it would need to be time off rather than WFH. I have never called in sick myself in the 15 years I have been working, any the place I work everyone seems to be quite healthy, so 'no shows' are very rare and wouldn't go unnoticed!

hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 12:02:58

I also did think about alternative childcare that could be better for children who are ill. The nursery wont take children with a high temp or are being a bit clingy - they sent him home on Thursday, and he is worse now. Been to GP this morning who said most likely a virus that is going round causing a sore throat that takes 7-10 days to get better! She has seen 4 other little ones with the same symptoms just this morning! If that's the case, we are looking at all week no childcare and explaining to our employer we need to take 2 or 3 days each. DH's employer is bigger and they see it more often but he has a demanding job too and we have agreed that we will do half each.

disahsterdahling Mon 06-Nov-17 12:05:21

I was lucky in my first job after ds was born and I went back to work because I got 5 days paid dependants' leave a year on top of my annual leave. It made such a difference. In subsequent jobs I took annual leave.

I also worked 4 days a week so sometimes I went in on my day off if ds was ill on another day.

I have worked at home when ds was ill, but he was probably about 5 by then and could be left to lie on the sofa all day alternately sleeping and watching DVDs etc. It's not so easy when they're younger.

2014newme Mon 06-Nov-17 12:07:07

@Ohdearducks parental leave has to be booked in advance. I think you mean unpaid dependent emergency leave but that's only to deal with the immediate emergency and organise other childcare

TittyGolightly Mon 06-Nov-17 12:09:02

I know I am entitled to do this an no one can say anything,

No, you absolutely aren’t, and yes, they absolutely can.

2014newme Mon 06-Nov-17 12:11:29

Well they can say something if you rake 3 says off yes.
I've got zero family nearby so know it's hard.

TittyGolightly Mon 06-Nov-17 12:12:35

Our families live 350 miles and 6000 miles away so we literally have no help at short notice

Whilst I sympathise (same situation here plus husband who works away a lot), that’s not your employers’ problem.

Cockmagic Mon 06-Nov-17 12:13:56

To be honest I'm lucky my child is older and rarely gets sick . Although she did have shingles 6 months ago.

I'd be lost without dds grandparents, one is early retired and the other not working so they help out if needed. Also boyfriend and friends are there.

I just phoned my employer and told her the situation, she was understanding and got my shifts covered. I have also covered for other in emergency cases and swapped shift etc. I thinks it's a case of everyone helping out.

My paticularly work team is made of around 7 people and we can always ring around for others.

What capacity do you work in op?

Do you have much support?

wheresmycake Mon 06-Nov-17 12:18:12

My current employer got a bit annoyed when I took a/l to look after sick DD but only cos I was quite new and I guess she didn't want it to become a regular thing. We had a chat I reassured her that DH and I try to split things evenly and take turns, also I said we have my inlaws nearby who could help so Tha she knew I had considered an alternative. I wouldn't call them to look after sick DD if I could at all avoid it but at least employer is reassured

hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 12:26:16

that’s not your employers’ problem
this is exactly my point and worry - I'm concerned this is how they will react as its not usual of people in my office to take time off for dependents. I'm wondering what they are thinking, if they are judging me. Before kids I certainly would be a bit annoyed if parents were getting extra time off (paid or unpaid), and I had to work harder to cover on a regular basis.

hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 12:29:03

I know I am entitled to do this an no one can say anything,

No, you absolutely aren’t, and yes, they absolutely can.

In my original post I was referring to one day I think i am entitled to as 'emergency time off for dependents'. Now I have been to the GP and its more likely i will need 3 days, I know its not as simple as this and I'm more concerned

2014newme Mon 06-Nov-17 12:30:55

Have you asked nursery whether any staff scheduled to be off this week would be interested in doing some babysitting for you so you can go to work? It's worth a try

hiimnew Mon 06-Nov-17 12:34:39

Cockmagic - I work in a finance team at a busy professional services firm, managing a small team of 3. They just about manage whilst i'm away, but it is more difficult for the team workload wise, and as there are certain responsibilities that only I can do. I do plan my annual leave, etc around our quieter times, but with this type of unplanned leave its not possible i feel i'm leaving them in the lurch.

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