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Pregnant & miserable: Quit or keep taking sick leave?

(6 Posts)
sarah76 Mon 02-Mar-09 11:51:37

I started my public sector job in mid-October last year. When I started, I immediately asked for my annual leave for my wedding/honeymoon in January, which was fine (had just enough to cover it).

I'd had a miscarriage about a month before I started, and thought I'd take ages to get pregnant again.

In early December I got very ill with a chest infection/influenza. I was off for two weeks, went back for one day but was too ill to stay, so GP gave me a note for another two weeks (which ran into my annual leave). In mid-December I found out I was pregnant again. Just as the chest infection was clearning, I started getting sick the week before the wedding (at 6 weeks) and carried on through wedding/honeymoon with terrible nausea, fatigue, and occasional vomiting. We moved house when we got back and I couldn't help with anything.

I was feeling worse and worse, vomiting more, feeling very depressed (have had major depression since age 16, am 32 now). GP referred me to mental health team, restarted me on antidepressants, and signed me off for 2 weeks. Continued to be tearful, sick, nauseous, & exhausted. GP signed me off for another month.

So today I tried to go back to work. I showered (my biggest achievement most days), got dressed, then starting puking everywhere. Didn't feel like I could make it very far, luckily GP is only 5 min away, and I nearly puked in the car. Called boss and said I wasn't going to make it. GP signed me off for two weeks.

I feel as though I should quit my job since it seems like I will never make it back there. I already know I don't want to go back after maternity leave as it's a shit job and I never should have taken it. I wouldn't get anything beyond SMP anyway. Combined with the time I spent temping and working in a pub before I started this job, I think I have enough weeks working to qualify for MA.

For sick pay I get 1 month full pay and two months half pay. I'm not sure what happens beyond that. I believe I'm now on the first month of 1/2 pay.

I am just not sure what to do. I feel rotten and completely incapable of being at work without puking/bursting into tears. But who stays off work for their entire pregnancy? I am 15 weeks tomorrow and it feels like this will never end.

What do I need to think about as far as quitting vs. staying off sick? I haven't been at my job for nearly 3 months now due to all of the above. They will probably look to get rid of me if I don't quit voluntarily, won't they?

Underconstruction Mon 02-Mar-09 14:51:36

No useful advice I'm afraid but lots of sympathy... but I wouldn't leave till they pushed me!

Northernlurker Mon 02-Mar-09 15:08:51

They would struggle to get rid of you now the majority of your sickness is pregnancy related tbh. What has your GP put on your sicknotes? I would ask them to make sure they make reference to the pregnancy aspects.

You poor thing - what a horrible time you've had - look at it in terms of stress inflicted on you:

miscarriage
new job
new pregnancy - with all the anxiety pregnancy after miscarriage carries
wedding (which is lovely but stressful)
morning sickness - which is a demoralising a physical illness as anyone can imagine!

It's no wonder you are struggling - the important thing is to keep you and the baby as well as you can. You are entitled to take time off sick - thats what sick pay is for. You also need to protect your rights to SMP or ML - so I think you need to speak to the Citizens advice people about that. Other than that just take things very steady - if you're not well enough to work, you're not well enough - doesn't mean that you should quit.

lulabellarama Mon 02-Mar-09 15:12:36

I think you should wait for another couple of weeks before making a decision. Most people Iknow had got over the worst of their morning sickness by 17/18 weeks. You may find you are able to work for several months before your SMP would start.
However if you would be able to cope without the money then don't feel bad for quitting. Pregnancy can be horribly difficult.

sarah76 Mon 02-Mar-09 15:37:29

On my first two sick notes, the GP put 'pregnancy related complications' --I think to avoid disclosing about the antenatal depression component of it. On the one this morning, different GP wrote 'vomiting in pregnancy'.

Thanks for the sympathy and advice everyone. The last year has been pretty stressful all around. My divorce was final last April, had to go to court to force exH to sell our house. Then DP (now DH2) got a new job in Warrington so we relocated from London, leaving my job of 4 years. Don't have any friends up here, my family is all in U.S. and DH's is in London.

We are struggling with the money issue, am a bit confused as to how they work out SMP. I think I read somewhere on MN that they use whatever you make between week 15 to ??? of your pregnancy for the calculation. So if I'm on half pay during that time, I will get less SMP for those 6 weeks where it is 90% of your earnings....but if I quit I wouldn't be getting that anyway, just the basic MA.

Also read on direct.gov that if I quit when I'm past 25 weeks, the employer still has to pay my SMP. Just have to wait and see how I feel I suppose, but I'm really losing hope that I will ever feel 'normal' again!

flowerybeanbag Mon 02-Mar-09 19:44:42

I'm going to go against the grain slightly here. I think it may well be a good idea in this case to call it a day. Based on the fact that you regretted taking the job in the first place, the background information you've given us, my personal (not professional) view is that you may actually do better for yourself and your baby if you don't have to worry about work during your pregnancy and can just focus on getting better and keeping well, and then on the baby coming.

You may find that resigning from your job takes a huge weight off your shoulders and removes a nasty niggling worry for the rest of your pregnancy. Financially it might be an idea to stay employed until your sick pay runs out, obviously. Hopefully if you make a definite decision that you are going to resign on x date to coincide with that, you will still get the sense of relief that it will not be a worry for long. Depending on how much you earn and whether you are working during the crucial weeks, MA may not be very much less than SMP, and it may be worth losing the extra in return for the weight off your shoulders.

In terms of dismissing you, you can't claim unfair dismissal during the first year, so dismissing you would normally be fairly easy, however you can claim sex discrimination, so if you could reasonably demonstrate that the reason for dismissal was to do with your pregnancy, or partly to do with it, then you could still claim. So they are unlikely to rush into dismissing you.

SMP is worked out on average earnings during the period between week 17 and week 25 of your pregnancy, so you'd have to be working during that time to get it.

This goes against my normal advice, and I'm saying it with all sorts of disclaimers and provisos, because normally I'd advise people to keep their options open as long as possible. But you just sound to me as though maybe you know what you want and need some reassurance that it is ok to leave work during pregnancy. It is.

All the other points made here are good and worth considering as well, but it's fine to leave if that's the best thing for you at this moment in time.

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