Staying at home because LO is sick

(32 Posts)
Tiffanygirl Thu 07-Mar-19 21:50:59

*I posted this in Parenting first and don't know how to delete it now, but this topic is more related to my issue *

Hi all
I wonder if I find more understanding and adequate advice here. I asked this question on a UK business forum and didn't get much support at all. But I still have a feeling what is happening is wrong. And now having number of people saying to me "no it's fine, you are in the wrong" and not giving fair solution upsets me.

So here is the story:

Our toddler started nursery 2 months ago and I went back to work part time.
Since the very 1st insert session in the nursery LO is getting sick very often. I think we had 5 or 6 different sicknesses now, which she'd also pass to us sometimes.
So during this 2 months my husband took three days off to look after our toddler. The rest of the time she was poorly was on me, some days I'm not supposed to be at work because I'm part time, some others I am.
Last time my husband was off to look after LO he was working from home too, he received an email from one of the bosses asking to "make other arrangements next time his child is sick because they need him in the office.
Next day he went to work and was told by his manager that "maybe your wife should take time off instead".
I surely not going to leave my baby if he can't take days off anymore, but this would mean for me to take time off twice as often compared to if we shared responsibilities.
At first I felt this was sexist since his company feels he doesn't need to look after his child, his wife can. But people on UK business forum criticised me for that saying that they could just the same way demand for a grandfather to look after LO, or a gay male partner. So it dismisses sexism (though I'm not really convinced employer would expect grandad to look after sick kid and not his parents. I just feel they wouldn't say that about grandad, but to expect it from mum is fine). And so with a degree of neglect I was told I'm just seeking support to build a sexism case, which isn't true, but I do feel it would be unfair to expect me to be the only one to take time off everytime lo is poorly. I don't imagine my employer telling me that my husband should take time off in future.
Can someone tell me, can employer prohibit you taking day off to stay with your sick child? Is it our right to stay home with a poorly baby?
Do we have any "equality" rights here, aka we babysit in turns, etc? I just can't help to feel they expect that it would be me taking time off and not him, full stop.
We don't have any family to help us, babysitter will charge pretty much what I'd earn being at work +time getting ready and getting to work.
My husband is now crossed with them for lack of empathy and understanding. He is a hard worker and done a lot for the company over the years. Now we are going through this difficult winter building immune defence and there is not much we can do if lo is sick. He is on the edge of handing in his resignation over the fuss they made because of these 3 instances. 3 separate days since we started nursery he was off.
Any advice and tips would be great. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Frecklesonmyarm Fri 08-Mar-19 08:36:01

His employer cant forbid it. They can however manage his absence.

I wouldn't say its necessarily sexist. But its assuming the one with a part time role, has a less important career. Which is often the woman. So it skirts the line.

In fairness to the company, he should have either taken the day off or not. Working from home, while having a sick child isn't really working from home. If you are working, you should be working. You wouldn't take your toddler to the office and many businesses have this as a rule.

Parental leave wouldn't cover these days either. As it has to be booked in advance and isn't for adhoc days.

Like I said, they cant forbid it, but if they are that sort of company they could manage hom on it if it keeps happening.

Unfortunately, the choices are you do the bulk or he looks for a more flexible employer

Hollowvictory Fri 08-Mar-19 08:39:46

How many days have you both had off? It sounds like your husband has exhausted the goodwill at his workplace. You may need to consider a different childcare option eg nanny rather than nursery.
You are both entitled to emergency unpaid dependents leave but that's to deal with the immediate issue not to be off longer term. Different childcare is the solution here.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 08-Mar-19 08:40:22

He or you could take annual leave to look after the child.

Frecklesonmyarm Fri 08-Mar-19 08:40:53

I have a fairly flexible employer. 3 separate instances in 2 months would warrant a conversation. Not action, but a conversation.

He has had over half a week off unplanned and it does impact our business and others that work in the same department.

Hollowvictory Fri 08-Mar-19 08:41:11

Just seen he's had 3 days off in 8 weeks since your child started nursery . Yes that would be considered excessively high in most workplaces.

Hollowvictory Fri 08-Mar-19 08:42:11

@RonaldMacdonald Annual leave in most workplaces has to be booked in advance you don't ring in on the day to take it!

Weenurse Fri 08-Mar-19 08:44:20

We always took it in turns if we were both due to work that day.
I worked part time, so I was home more often. If I was rostered to work and DC was sick, we alternated time off and got a carers certificate to cover

Namechangeforthiscancershit Fri 08-Mar-19 08:48:17

I can see that that much time off would be disruptive, and no there is no “right” (other than unpaid dependants’ leave as mentioned above which is quite different).

It sounds like he is a good employee though and they would be better to work with him on this.

Singlenotsingle Fri 08-Mar-19 08:54:50

The employer is supposed to give time off in an emergency to care for a dependent. But that really does mean an emergency. You need someone lined up to take over if lo is too ill to go to nursery. The company employs someone to do the job and if that person isn't there, it's not fair to expect the company to struggle.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 08-Mar-19 09:53:04

Unpaid leave for dependants if annual leave is not accepted.
The same story everywhere with small children

Jb291 Fri 08-Mar-19 09:59:16

You will need to take either annual leave or unpaid leave to look after a dependent. Your husbands employers are not being unreasonable at all. You don't have any right to unlimited paid leave purely because you have a sick child to look after.

ChicCroissant Fri 08-Mar-19 10:11:27

OP, your DH needs to either book it as holiday or take it as unpaid leave. Either he is looking after a sick child or he is working - it's difficult to do both and that is a lot of time off in a short period.

You don't have a right to paid leave to stay at home with your poorly baby unless you take it as holiday.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Mar-19 10:44:17

The law enables you to take time off to make further arrangements for emergency child care. It should be equally shared between working parents it is unfair to expect one work place to carry all of this.
Employers sometimes have further dependents leave in their policy, but this is not a legal right. Other employers may allow you to take unpaid leave or use holiday again neither are a legal right.
I say all of this as a single parent and employer. On occasions I have had to bite the bullet and pay for an emergency nanny.

WinterHeatWave Fri 08-Mar-19 10:58:31

Can you clarify: was he working from home AND looking after an ill toddler at the same time? Or did he ask for some form of absence to look after his sick child?

Teanocoffee Fri 08-Mar-19 11:06:22

In our work place, if you exhaust the goodwill paid leave you could use the holiday allowance, classed as emergency holiday. Failing that i im fully prepared to have my pay docked if i have to but we generally take in turns. I tend to take most time off when i can as my job isn't as demanding as partners. I'm not really bothered about the concept of 'well that suggests your work isn't important'. It is. But my kids are more important. Anyway.... The excessive illness with starting nursery was me 2 months ago. I took him to an osteopath to improve his immune system. Made a massive difference in health after 2 sessions but im aware this isn't an ideal option.

Tiffanygirl Fri 08-Mar-19 14:34:34

Thank you for your answers. I never asked in my post for these time off to be paid, I am not paid when I look after LO. It's about whether employer can say "sorry, but you can't have emergency day off today because your child is sick, get your wife to take a day off instead". This is what I was asking. Because if you are sick your manager can't insist you to come in. But if it is your baby? Someone has already sent me the link about dependent leave on gov.uk. "There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependants", it's our right to look after our child. Obviously we wouldn't expect it to be paid.

OP’s posts: |
Hollowvictory Fri 08-Mar-19 14:47:44

There are no statutory limits but your husband isn't taking dependent leave is he, he's working from home whilst simultaneously looking after a sick toddler. Because there are no limits tge 'reasonable' time off applies and what we're saying on this thread is 3 days in 2 months is more than reasonable. Of course employers can sugg you share the time off with your partner!

Frecklesonmyarm Fri 08-Mar-19 14:56:39

There are no limits on how many times you can take time off for dependants", it's our right to look after our child. Obviously we wouldn't expect it to be paid.

Theres no limit. They can still manage his absence, which means if it persists they can manage him out of his job. And here lies the issue. Womens jobs often get pushed onto back burners, because the woman works part time and the family needs the full time wage to survive.

Theres no government limit on how many sick days you can have. You can still lose your job over it. Also if the employee is sick, it's different to an employees dependent being sick. Surely you can see that

3 absences in 8 weeks is alot and he could be managed on it. So while they cant force him to come in, they can not pay him for it and then send him down the disciplinary route.

Depending on his job, they may well need him in the office. I would also bare in kind that your husband, knowing they were shit, has led them to believe you would take this responsibility on.

It's extremely difficult when both parents work to manage this. I am a single parent, so there is only me and my son being sick impacts me and my job a lot. Not much I can do though.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Fri 08-Mar-19 14:58:57

There is a big difference between there not being a limit on the number of days and it being your right to be off with your child. Your DP’s job will be at risk ultimately if the absence is more than the business can manage.

Hollowvictory Fri 08-Mar-19 14:59:34

The op could switch from nursery to nanny. Probl solved. As an employer that's the kind of thing I'd be expecting her to do.

StubbleTurnips Fri 08-Mar-19 15:06:53

It’s no ones right to take time off to look after Ill children, the options are annual leave, unpaid leave or emergency parental leave which is there to arrange emergency child care.

It’s not clear, but He should not have been working at home with toddler.

There are emergency nannies you can look into when nursery doesn’t take them.

Or You need a conversation with DH about taking it in turns to have time off.

I don’t get why you’re claiming an equality issue to be honest? Because his workplace is stuck in the 1950s??

Unfortunately this is life with small children, surely this isn’t a surprise to you that they will get constantly ill starting child care and someone would be needed to look after them?

drquin Fri 08-Mar-19 15:21:43

Whilst on the face of it, it may appear sexist if his employer does indeed mean "let the little woman take care of the sick child" when they ask if his wife can take a day off ..... they maybe however just mean "can't SOMEONE else pick up the slack, you're always the one taking time off". The fact one of you is male, the other female, doesn't automatically make it sexist. There'll be plenty workplaces who would want, because it suits them, the other parent (or a relative) to always pick up the slack.

Your husband's employer has no right to demand someone else sorts out childcare - they have a relationship solely with your husband. If they have a concern about his absence levels, they'll deal with that.

If as a family you value both jobs, you're going to have to work out a solution that doesn't jeopardise either person's relationship with their employer over absence levels.

Thesnobbymiddleclassone Fri 08-Mar-19 15:52:55

Having the odd day off for a sick child is okay and is a bit of goodwill really from a company, but it sounds like quite a regular thing with you guys at the moment. At that point I can understand an emoyer frustration.

Ideally it would always be fine, but you need to have some sort of plan in place incase your child is ill and you're both working.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 08-Mar-19 19:26:31

I think you are being slightly selective in what you are reading. Yes it says there is no limit to how many times you can take time of for a dependent. But it then goes on to say 'your employer may want to talk to you if they think the time off is affecting your work.'
It also uses a child falling ill as their example and says you are entitled to time of to take your child to the doctor and make emergency care arrangements. It then goes on to state that if you wish to look after your child for longer your employer may ask you to use annual leave or unpaid parental leave.

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