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Compatibility of working with DC medical appointments

(16 Posts)
MaverickSnoopy Wed 22-May-19 06:43:15

We have 3 DC and each of them has a disability or additional need. Consequently between them they have lots of medical appointments. DC1 has appointments for four different things, DC2 for one thing and DC3 another thing. Out of the six things, two should be short term, but one of which could still be at least a year or even longer. DC1 is also just starting investigation for something else too.

I attend approx 5 - 7 appointments a month. DH and I are also both on the waiting lists for physio and will probably need it on and off all of our lives. DH does what he can but he works about an hour away and so needs to take annual leave for most appointments, which at this rate would wipe out his annual leave allowance.

Before DC3 was born there were only 2 types of appointments and I was working part time so it was all manageable. Financially, I need to return to work in a few months but I'm not sure if it's compatible with my current level of commitment to our children. Some appointments can be scheduled towards the beginning or end of the day but not all. I could take annual leave but we'd also need to hold some back for covering some of the school holidays.

I'm trying to work out how much I can manage to work. I'm currently going through the application process for becoming a childminder for which I would work part time and would cover appointments in my non working days but I'm not sure how part time to be. I saw a great ft job come up with amazing salary that fits with my existing skills and impulsively applied but it's got me thinking that I can't expect a potential employer to cover circa 70 appointment a year, even if just early finishes.

How much do you think I could reasonably expect to work with this level of commitment? I'm just not sure what my limit is.

Lwmommy Wed 22-May-19 06:54:09

I don't recommend this often but a zero hours contract may actually work well for you, obviously dependent on what kind of role you were wanting to go into.

If you are just looking for a job and not a career then zero hours might give you the flexibility to pick and choose your hours rather than be fixed into a set pattern.

Downside would be the lack of guaranteed salary and security of role but the way employment law is currently you have no security till you've completed 1 yrs in post here anyway.

Lwmommy Wed 22-May-19 06:56:19

PlugUgly1980 Wed 22-May-19 07:11:16

Full time, with flexible working. Be honest with your employer. We get paid carers leave which covers taking dependants to hospital appointments. Sometimes I take it, some times I make up the time by working my lunch break, working a couple of hours extra at home, or sometimes my manager will say don't worry about it. Other times, if it's middle of the day or works better for me to fit in some other jobs around the appointment I might take a half day. My manager is great, effectively allows me to manage my own time, and trusts me not to take the p*ss. Sometimes DH will take them to appointments too. I make sure I work hard to get my job done, have back up childcare for when kids are too poorly for school and commit to travel, training days, etc which are outside of my standard hours when I can. I'm very lucky to work for a flexible employer (large financial services company).

bodgersmash Wed 22-May-19 07:16:10

I don't think full time is going to work for you with all those appointments!

Zero hours contract could be good.

Are you claiming everything you're entitled to? DLA? Carer's allowance?

Hotpinkangel19 Wed 22-May-19 07:25:28

I have 2 children with lots of appointments (SN)
I'm bank staff, and only work term time.
I tell them what I can and can't work.

Knewyouwerewaiting Wed 22-May-19 07:28:31

I can only do day to day agency work for similar reasons.

stucknoue Wed 22-May-19 07:37:10

Pt flexible hours eg a 20 hour a week contract over 5 days would work but depends on whether you can get flexible childcare too. I didn't work because it was too hard with one, then worked 20 hours, still do

MaverickSnoopy Wed 22-May-19 10:18:02

Thanks for the suggestions, it's really helpful to work out what is and isn't possible. A big part of me felt like ft working should be possible. Maybe with the right company it would be - but it's finding that right company and often you don't know what you're getting until you're in.

Pre children and even after DC1 was born I was the biggest earner. My skills are wide and are very transferable. I'm looking for a career rather than a job, partly because it would be a massive step back to do anything else, but also because financially we can't afford for me to just have a job and would need a salary of at least £30k to afford childcare and cover our outgoings - it would also give us a smidge extra. If I were to work part time the position should be mostly the same but jobs at that salary and part time are non existent in our area. A basic job wouldn't even cover childcare. We get some tax credits now while I'm on mat leave and I know we can apply for DLA for DD1 but may only get the lower or mid range and I'm not sure I'd be entitled to carers allowance. Doubled edged sword really - my children aren't impacted enough to qualify but they still need lots of appointments.

I think being a childminder will be the most feasible option and it's something I've wanted to do for a long time anyway. It's just working out how many hours and what set up is feasible. I think though I need to rule out ft anything.

Sirzy Wed 22-May-19 10:21:32

I’m not sure how being a childminder would work to be honest. Unless you planned to take the children to every appointment with you which wouldn’t be feasible for a lot of appointments.

SnuggyBuggy Wed 22-May-19 10:21:41

I guess the other factor is travel time for the appointments, if you can just pop out for a couple of hours flexible working may work but if not zero hours might be the best option.

How reliable are the appointments? I've seen clinics that seem to constantly be cancelled and rescheduled messing the patients about and have had working parents on the phone in tears because of stress.

drspouse Wed 22-May-19 10:25:31

Does any of your children have a disability (I think this can be loosely defined) rather than just a health condition?
If so, you can take Parental Leave (unpaid) in 1 day increments rather than whole weeks like for other children.
You have to give 3 weeks' notice but for regular appointments usually this is OK (e.g. DH took DS to his regular epilepsy appointment yesterday which we had a month's notice of, he had the day off anyway but either of us could have taken unpaid parental leave if necessary).

For quick and urgent appointments then many companies do have an arrangement for carers.

MaverickSnoopy Wed 22-May-19 17:22:21

I wouldn't want to take mindees to appointments - wouldn't be fair on anyone. I'd be wanting to work part time and then fit appointments in during my non working days. I don't drive so if I was employed somewhere it'd need to be fairly closish to home/school to fit everything in.

I don't think zero hours contract would work, although I shall bear it in mind. I could be wrong but I don't think that there are jobs in our area on zero hours which would give me a salary of £30k (or pro rata for part time). I would also struggle with childcare as the childminders in our area that go to our school only take children on on set days and not flexibly (I know them fairly well). If we had to pay for set days and then decline work for appointments, we couldn't afford it.

One of my children has dyspraxia, which is what she may get the DLA for. She doesn't have many appointments for this though - although it's useful to know about the carers leave. She is also about to be tested for adhd (but is too young for a formal diagnosis and I'm not convinced anyway). She has a mild hearing loss (not enough for aids or for it to be a disability but still has lots of appointments). She has anxiety and counselling for that and she also wets the bed so I've been seeing the school nurse and going to a clinic too. There's talk of maybe referring onto bladder and bowel clinic. DC2 has a moderate hearing loss (but again no aids just lots of appointments) and youngest has CMPA so dietician appointments. 7 months ago it was just the hearing loss - so much has changed in such a short space of time.

Appointments so far have always been reliable (shouldn't have said that!) and they are very accommodating for moving days as's just I'm trying to work out what my capacity is for working.

drspouse Thu 23-May-19 08:43:56

It doesn't matter what your appointments are for, you can take single days off under parental leave (NOT carers leave) for any purpose if your child is disabled. They don't have to have DLA.

So your two with hearing issues would both count. Unless your future employer gets shirty. In which case a letter from the GP would sort it.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sat 25-May-19 07:08:21

If full time, how would you intend to attend appointments including travel time - can you fit them into a couple of hours, a half day, or do you need a full day off? If a full day off per appointment and 5-7 a month, you are already only there less than 4 days a week on average.

Different options are
- a job where you can work flexibly and make up hours on long days, or by working from home eg in the evening. Dh has this and it's great for appointments, school plays etc as he just completes the hours by getting up early/ evening/ weekend. However he has a lot of experience to get this role, I don't know if anything like this would be possible if you are a returner to work
- a good family friendly employer eg civil service and take parental leave days for appointments (check how many you are entitled to, and they are unpaid)
- work part time- if you worked 4 days could you schedule the majority of your appointments on the fifth day? Or are the appointments not that flexible and on different days of the week?
- self employed

codenameduchess Sat 25-May-19 07:30:58

Would you be able to do an appointment in a couple of hours and return to work with your transport arrangements? If not At 5-7 a month that's potentially 84 days a year that you'd be unable to work or taking half days- quite a bit more than the average annual leave allowance and parental leave most people would get.

Have you looked into childminding? Is there demand for part time places? That would be your biggest hurdle, what if not enough parents want part time and you can't earn the 30k and where would your children be after school/during holidays while you were child minding?

Part time, flexible working would be your best option if you can find it. True flexible working is invaluable if you can manage your own hours and work remotely/build up time to take off.

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