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Frequently sick child - running out of leave

(42 Posts)
IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 14:12:06

I started work in September when 4 yr old DD started school. She is off school currently with a D&V bug, her third since September. She is not the type to bounce back quickly, and is usually symptomatic for a full week. The school have the usual policy of only allowing children to return once they have had 48 hrs symptom free. I have a relatively small holiday allowance of 22 days per year, DH has 25 days. I have already used 11 days in order to look after DD, and it's only November. DH is running out of holiday, there are no local friends or relatives who could step in. What on earth do people do in this situation? I can 'buy' 2 days holiday between now and next September (should I actually pass my probation which is now not looking certain.) This week I worked on Sunday to cover my Monday shift in order to be at home with DD on Monday but that's not repeatable. We were hoping to be able to save enough leave to have a few days off together for a holiday sometime this year but I can't see how we can pull that off. That seems like a distant secondary problem compared to struggling to cover child illness and teacher training days. Argh! Any advice, anyone?

Belle1409 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:18:37

My company has a policy called emergency time off for dependants which is unpaid however is in place for these kind of situations. Does yours have anything like that? If not, what is their policy on unpaid leave and is this an option for you?

FitBitFanClub Tue 14-Nov-17 14:21:33

Teacher training days are a red herring. They are school holidays, which will need to be covered in the same way as all other holidays.
Snow days, however, are a different matter.
Sorry, that's not much help.

healthyheart Tue 14-Nov-17 14:26:48

You need to request parental leave, it’s usually unpaid leave and it’s for exactly this.
Oh yes the snow days.
The teachers strike days.

IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 14:31:32

I mentioned teacher training days as they are days when school is closed and holiday club at school is also closed, whereas holiday club, thankfully, runs for most school holidays except Christmas. Snow days and strike days had not occurred to me! Argh again! It's a smallish company that mostly employs young single people so their parental/emergency/unpaid leave policy is... immature...

ginteresting Tue 14-Nov-17 14:42:28

Speak to your boss and find out exactly what the situation is. Most parents are in the same boat. There isn’t a really other childcare options with sick children to parents taking unpaid/compassionate leave, emergency holiday or friends and family helping out. It’s one of those tough things of being a parent. Things might not be as bad as you think with your probation. If they are, then you might want to look into other employers because there are lots out there that are a lot more understanding. Sorry this isn’t contributing what you probably don’t know already.

Maryann1975 Tue 14-Nov-17 14:45:23

Are you in a position to hire a nanny for the days she isn’t really, really poorly but still too ill to go to school? I did this kind of work when I was a part time nanny to boost my earnings up a bit.
Other than that, I have no idea. I don’t know what we would do if we didn’t have grandparents close by.

AveEldon Tue 14-Nov-17 14:50:30

3 periods off in 3 months is a lot
I'd suggest taking her to the GP to see if she's not got over the first bug fully

IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 16:21:37

AveEldon - it is a lot, but some of her classmates have had various sick bugs too so I think we are just unlucky this year in our area.

MaryAnn1975 - did you work through an agency?

flowery Tue 14-Nov-17 16:42:18

”You need to request parental leave, it’s usually unpaid leave and it’s for exactly this”

It’s not for this at all. Parental leave is planned ahead and is in blocks of at least a week.

There’s no specific limit on how many times you can take a day or two emergency dependents’ leave, but that is to make alternative arrangements, not to actually care for your child. Luckily your employer is flexible enough to allow you to use annual leave at very short notice so this isn’t impacting your take home pay.

Assuming your DH is taking at least half of the time off, hopefully more as you are in a new job, then that’s a very significant amount of time your DD is needing off. It should surely settle down but I would suggest making sure you find a couple of contingency options.

buzzbuzzbumblebee Tue 14-Nov-17 17:10:26

DH works in a supermarket and he recently had to take time off for me. My epilepsy medication was changed and I’m pregnant so we didn’t want me to be on my own, especially when doing the school run.

He had holiday so wanted to use that but the store manager said it was too short notice so his shift manager managed to wiggle shifts around so he worked all day Saturday and Sunday instead of mon-fri. He’s only part time luckily.

I looked into him getting compassionate leave - but that only applies to when it’s a child who is unwell.

Does your company do compassionate leave?

CryingShame Tue 14-Nov-17 17:16:17

Where I work compassionate leave is only for a death in the immediate family. Because you're still in your probation period, i'd be looking at you being in work as much as possible, and DH using his leave for now to be off with DD so you are prioritising your employment. If you lose the job because you're seen as unreliable that will make it difficult for you to find other posts, even if DD's immune system does pick itself up as she goes on through the school year.

RunningOutOfCharge Tue 14-Nov-17 17:19:10

If it’s averaging at a few days each month then you will run out of holidays but it’s the better option

Compassionate leave ( at our place) is for death/serious illness of close relatives. Even then it’s only a certain amount of days over a rolling period of 12 months

IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 17:40:27

Sorry to drip feed but DH works in the same company, in a more senior role. He's not had to worry about time off for child sickness since DD was born as I was at home/self employed so has not needed to be aware of company policies. Now the lack of flexibility is impacting both of us. I've covered most of the sick days as his annual leave runs April to April, and he only has a couple of days left.

Failing probation due to 'unreliability' is a concern, yes.

I would love to have contingency options, hence this thread asking for suggestions. A PP suggested a nanny - I've been searching online but can only find nannies that cover when the usual childcare provider is unwell, rather than cover for unwell children. I guess this could help for snow days/inset days though.

Our relatives are either working, aged, or hundreds of miles away.

If anyone has any further suggestions, please keep sharing.

HeadDreamer Tue 14-Nov-17 17:46:19

Sorry no help here I think it’s a problem where most parents handle with either family help or work from home. Taking too many emergency leave will definitely impact your probation or appraisal.

I think other than nanny or magic up some family or a flexible job, you are stuck sad

HeadDreamer Tue 14-Nov-17 17:47:24

FYI DH and I took turns to work from home for illness. Primary children are very good at lying in bed or watch tv when ill. That’s how others do it.

EggysMom Tue 14-Nov-17 17:47:59

No real suggestion other than "grin and bear it" - the first year of school is always the worst for such bugs. Your DH has a few days left that he can take, and his A/L year starts again in April.

If you really want a family holiday, consider using a pre-planned (unpaid) week of Parental Leave for this instead.

Popskipiekin Tue 14-Nov-17 17:51:52

I have small children who are frequently too sick for nursery but not actually that sick. We use Sitters.co.uk, time and time again. I can well believe you’ve had to use that much holiday with DD. Our DSs are always low-middling ill, particularly this time of year. Use adhoc childcare, yes it hits you in the pocket but needs must. I rarely stay at home with ill children unless they’re seriously unwell.

RedSkyAtNight Tue 14-Nov-17 17:54:16

I think the main issue is that DH has no leave to use. Normally couples where both parents work split the sick days between them.

It would be exceptionally unlikely (there would be some underlying condition) that a child would be so ill as to need 40 days off sick in a year.

I realise that doesn't help you now ... but hopefully DC has now caught every bug going and will be fine for the rest of the year!

Butterymuffin Tue 14-Nov-17 18:00:15

Your DH needs to ask to buy himself some extra days of leave then. It's not fair that it endangers your probation if you have to take more. As a senior person he can probably absorb the hit more easily anyway.

headintheproverbial Tue 14-Nov-17 18:42:32

The reality is you ARE unreliable as an employee. Unpaid emergency leave is available to parents but that is for, e.g., the first day of a child's illness, not a week of staying home watching CBeebies. Equally parental leave is not for this either - it's supposed to be longer term and pre-arranged.

If your DD is really this poorly maybe it's not the right thing for you to both work outside the home. I'm not sure why or how an employer can put up with it!

IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 18:55:44

Popskipiekin - I will look into sitters.co.uk, thanks. Have you successfully booked anyone for a child with a D&V bug, out of interest? For pretty much anything else it would be calpol and school!

IrritableBitchSyndrome Tue 14-Nov-17 19:02:23

headintheproverbial - yes, thanks, I'm aware and trying to come up with contingency plans, hence this thread.

Lots of reception age children get sick bugs and need time off, and lots of parents of said children have jobs. They can't all have sane, healthy, local, retired lovely grandparents on hand, surely! The point of the thread is to find out what other coping strategies parents have developed. Quitting my job is one option, granted, but sitting at home every day on the offchance that my one school age child might start throwing up seems... expensive? A complete over reaction? Soul destroying? A total waste of my skills and experience for the 95% of days when I'm not holding a sick bowl? All of those.

Alanna1 Tue 14-Nov-17 19:06:09

In your shoes, if you can afford it, I’d advertise to see if you can find some help. I have a friend who’s colleague employs an artist on a retainer to help out in precisely this sort of circumstance when it occurs (when she’s then paid a high hourly rate). I have another friend who employs a retired nursery worker for a similar purpose.

SandysMam Tue 14-Nov-17 19:12:05

I totally feel your pain OP. Not sure what a solution is but try to prevent future bugs if you can. Encourage (enforce!) really good handwashing and ask the teachers to try to do the same (take it up with the head if needs be, he won’t want a poor attendance record and it sounds like your DD has been off loads).
Handwashing is so simple but has a massive impact on the amount of bugs a child catches. Also, try a probiotic for her, to shorten the duration of the bug.
NB...not saying your kid is dirty they all are but it really does help!

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