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Advice please! Repeated sick leave because pregnant

(53 Posts)
PregnantAndPoorly Thu 20-Jun-19 15:03:00

Hello,

I’m hoping someone with a legal/HR background can help with some advice (I’ve name changed not to out myself).

I have been with my company for about 5 years. I like the job and get on well with my team and manager. The “problem” is that I am 3 months pregnant (yay!) and am having a difficult pregnancy. I have had about 30 days sick leave so far. My manager knew from very early on that my sickness was pregnancy related (I didn’t try to cover this up).

Yesterday she told me the company won’t give me any more paid sick leave (its all been paid until now). There’s no problem with me being off sick but it will be unpaid from now on. I was understandably very upset (and pregnancy hormones!) and left crying.

I check and my contract says I get paid for the first 7 days of any absence. I read this as meaning that I can have 7 days sick, come back in for a day or two, and then go off sick again for another 7 days. I think this should all be paid.

Can anyone advice me on this?

It’s really stressing me out (which isn’t making me feel any less poorly!)

Thank you

MrsSpenserGregson Thu 20-Jun-19 15:11:28

Seriously?!

BitchPeas Thu 20-Jun-19 15:12:50

Won’t you get SSP? So not completely unpaid?

Raffy2019 Thu 20-Jun-19 15:15:07

I don't think you can keep returning after 7 days if sick...it looks like you're taking the piss, no? But I do feel for you, having had to take 6 months off work with hyperemesis. You can take maternity leave 11 weeks before due date if you're still sick then.

sneakypinky Thu 20-Jun-19 15:16:07

30 days sick leave is an enormous amount.

I think they've been very generous so far!

PeoniesarePink Thu 20-Jun-19 15:16:37

You can claim SSP after 7 days and with a note from your GP. You can claim this for up to 6 months, and it's around £94 a week.

You're very lucky you've been paid in full up until now hmm a lot of employers wouldn't.

PregnantAndPoorly Thu 20-Jun-19 15:16:55

Mrs Not sure I understand your comment. Are you implying they are being unreasonable or that I am? Genuine question because my manager made a comment that suggested my "& days off, 1 day on" ideat was taking the piss

Peas Yes, I'll get SSP but I'm pretty well paid so would like my salary instead!

Any HR people can advise?

PregnantAndPoorly Thu 20-Jun-19 15:18:17

Sorry, that should be "7 days off sick, 1 day on"

sneakypinky Thu 20-Jun-19 15:19:03

Well, if you're having 7 days off then going in for 1 day then having 7 days off...repeat, then that is taking the piss.

PeoniesarePink Thu 20-Jun-19 15:19:43

Yes you are taking the piss.

TheInvestigator Thu 20-Jun-19 15:20:34

I think going off for 7 days, and then coming back for 1 or 2 days before going off for 7 days again and then rinsing and repeating, would void that part of the contract as it's clear you're not actually too sick to work if you can come back in on the necessary days to get the pay. And it seems like it's a continuous sickness, rather than separate instances. I wouldn't fight this; you will have pissed off your employer enough. Apple for SSP if you're going to be off long term.

Petitprince Thu 20-Jun-19 15:21:14

If you are able to work on the 8th day, the question will be asked why you can't work on days 1-7. A regular pattern is an issue with sick leave.

MrsSpenserGregson Thu 20-Jun-19 15:21:50

Of course 7 days off sick fully paid, followed by 1 day back at work, followed by 7 days off sick ad infinitum (well, for 9 months) is taking the piss!

I'm all for women not being discriminated against (as I was ) when they're pregnant but seriously, what you are asking for is utterly ridiculous.

Many companies have the 7 day policy. But I bet they also have a clause about more than xx periods of sick leave in a 12-month period will trigger a review, and will be unpaid thereafter. Also once you're past a certain point of your pregnancy they can force you to start your maternity leave early.

I hope your symptoms ease up soon - in my experience, 16-20 weeks is when the nausea gets better, not 12 weeks.

MakeLemonade Thu 20-Jun-19 15:22:36

Yes, totally taking the piss. Count yourself lucky they’ve paid you for 30 days!

TheInvestigator Thu 20-Jun-19 15:22:50

You actually told your manager that you planned to take 7 days off, 1 day on and then call in sick for 7 days again? You actually said that?

You would be providing them with ammunition to fire you. If you're sick and can't work, then you're sick and you can't work. You take SSP. If you claim to be sick, but come in every 8th day like clockwork because then you get full pay, it's very easy to make a case that you're faking it and taking the piss.

Bluebell9 Thu 20-Jun-19 15:25:24

If you are well enough to work for the 1 day in between taking 7 off, I think you are taking the piss. Why are you ok to work 1 day but then too ill for another 7?
I'm 21 weeks pregnant and I did have to have time off early in the pregnancy but the doctor signed me off for 2 weeks.
Prior to that, I was going to work in the mornings and having to take the afternoons off as annual leave as I was throwing up so much!
I felt awful having time off but I needed it and couldn't have popped into work for 1 day as I was too sick.
Can you take annual leave for a week or so? Fingers crossed the morning sickness ends soon for you.

HappyDinosaur Thu 20-Jun-19 15:25:58

I agree with @MrsSpenserGregson but also I'm concerned for you being so I'll. Have you been to the doctor about it? If you're having lots of morning sickness then they might be able to prescribe something. Otherwise they might just need to check you out to ensure there's nothing else going on that needs sorting to ensure baby and you are completely healthy.

ChicCroissant Thu 20-Jun-19 15:30:55

Yes, the idea that you can work 1 day to get 7 off and paid is taking the piss. But I am hmm about the whole thread tbh.

I would say it is normal - if employers pay sick pay in addition to the SSP - to have a limit and a rolling 12 month period. So if they pay 30 days sick pay in addition to SSP, then when you go off sick they would look back at the previous 12 months to see how much absence there has been.

In this case, I would assume that they are grouping the pregnancy sickness under one absence.

popcorndiva Thu 20-Jun-19 15:32:57

If you have had 30 days sick already. Then surely that means you went off sick when you were 5 weeks pregnant. Yes you are protected but the company will have their own sickness policy relating to pay. Just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you can sign off sick as soon as you pee on a stick till you give birth and receive full pay.

Bear in mind as well that maternity pay is calculated on your pay from Week 18 - 24. So if you stay off sick you may not be eligible for SMP.

DumbledoresCrookedNose Thu 20-Jun-19 15:48:42

Why should they pay you if you're not working?
I say that as someone who works for a place that has a very generous sickness policy (up to 3 months full pay with valid sick note) but there is a limit to their generosity and people have been sacked for taking the piss.

MynameisJune Thu 20-Jun-19 15:54:12

Yes you’re taking the piss, and women like you are the reason companies don’t want to hire women of child bearing age. If you’re sick then you’re sick. Not only sick on the days you get paid for. And 30 days already when you’re only 12 weeks? That’s a huge amount of time off already.

LIZS Thu 20-Jun-19 16:06:08

If you are off sick during your qualifying weeks bear in mind smp is based on your actual earnings not usual salary, so periods unpaid or ssp could affect that. Is there an occupational maternity scheme?

You may be better off signed off for longer periods but check your sickness/absence policy. Either you are able to work or not, turning up on the occasional day suggests you are well enough on at least a few other days. Have you spoken to Occupational Health about adjustments which may enable you to work more?

VaggieMight Thu 20-Jun-19 16:07:12

Where I work if the sickness absence is for the same reason, even if the employee returns for a few days, it's treated as a linked absence and in this case would be treated as a long term sickness absence. Do employees only get 7 days sick pay for long term sickness too?

I think some PPs are being a little unfair to the OP assuming she is taking the piss.

OP have you been to the doctors about how ill you're feeling?

drspouse Thu 20-Jun-19 16:12:45

Can you offer to do a part day's work at home so you are putting something in but not exerting yourself as much as every day a full day in the office?

Lamkin Thu 20-Jun-19 16:16:20

Have you been to your gp?
You can self certify for the first 7 days of an illness but after that you require a sick note from the dr.
Repeatedly self certifying (7 days off then back to work, then off again) puts you in a very vulnerable situation.
I'd go to the gp and ask them to sign you off until your symptoms improve, to cover yourself and have something in writing that this is a pregnancy related absence.
The sick pay situation should be outlined in your contract. If it isn't you can challenge it. If it is then you just have to suck it up I'm afraid.

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