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pay docked for staying at home with ill child

(65 Posts)
plainwhitet Fri 20-May-11 08:01:59

Does anyone know whether this is generally the case? I will be checking our employment policy and contacting our union, but essentially one of my colleagues has been told she will forfeit her pay when she stays at home to look after her one year old (normally at a child minder) who has chicken pox. We her colleagues are shocked, this "policy" is brand new and as far as we know, unofficial. Also a colleague was recently told she would be docked pay for time out taking her husband to hospital for oncology appointments.
We are on proper employment contracts, not piece workers/paid by the hour etc. Any views welcome before I take this further!!

lljkk Fri 20-May-11 08:05:54

I'd be surprised if most employers didn't do this.

trixymalixy Fri 20-May-11 08:07:41

She isn't working so she shouldn't be paid. This is standard practice in all companies. Parents can take unpaid leave to look after a sick child, but are not entitled to paid leave to look after a sick child. There's not even any legal need for the company to pay sick pay for the employee. sSP kicks in after 3 days I think.

I'm really shocked you don't know this.

AnnieLobeseder Fri 20-May-11 08:07:59

We get 10 days dependency leave a year for exactly the cases you describe. I'm public sector but I know some private sector companies have similar policies. It's madness not to recognise that people have a life.

Does you friend not have any annual leave she can use?

ajandjjmum Fri 20-May-11 08:09:24

This sort of thing is often discretionary in contracts, and probably many employers would let the odd day go. However, if it's going to be a week or two, they probably have to incur additional costs to cover her work.

Katiebeau Fri 20-May-11 08:10:10

This is right OP. Time off for dependents is unpaid unless you choose to use vacation days instead. My company discourages you from using vacation days as they insist these are needed for just that - vacation and rest, not looking after a sick child.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Fri 20-May-11 08:11:10

Parental leave is generally unpaid unless your employer chooses to pay, as is dependant leave. This should be covered by your t&cs and shouldn't be news to anyone. If there has been a change to the policy they should really have let everyone know.

trixymalixy Fri 20-May-11 08:11:44

In extreme cases it might be allowed as compassionate leave, but not for a cold or a routine hospital appointment. For example my DS was rushed into hospital with pneumonia, I asked my boss could I take it as unpaid leave rather than using holiday and he said technically it should be compassionate leave, but he wasn't even going to log it on our system. That was a very extreme case though, not chickenpox etc.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Fri 20-May-11 08:12:50

If you look on the direct gov website it will tell you the basics.

BelovedCunt Fri 20-May-11 08:17:45

even when i worked in teh public sector i used annual leave for this sort of thing.

flowery Fri 20-May-11 08:21:58

They don't need a policy to not pay her, as that would be the default position. Many private sector organisations would let the odd day go or allow people to take some holiday or make up time later but the kind if very generous paid leave policy described by Annie is unusual in the private sector ime.

fluffles Fri 20-May-11 08:25:45

we get up to 5 days paid 'special leave' per year, once that's gone (as it was for my colleague trapped in japan during the ash cloud) then we can choose to use annual leave or pay is docked.

TheBride Fri 20-May-11 08:29:48

We her colleagues are shocked

Tbh, I'm shocked that you're shocked.

coccyx Fri 20-May-11 09:24:18

Not sure why anyone thinks she would be paid to be honest???

shesparkles Fri 20-May-11 09:27:26

I'm public sector and we have a discretionary 2 days a year which can be used for dependents (older or younger) but the purpose of it is to allow you to make arrangements for care to allow you to get to work

Acanthus Fri 20-May-11 09:29:55

Why should they pay, she's not working.

upahill Fri 20-May-11 09:31:29

Why on earth should she be paid for not working?

Nobody pays my self employed DH when he takes time to look after the kids if they are poorly. In fact we lose money.

I have to take a unpaid leave or T.O.I.L. or annual leave if I am not working.

To expect anything else is just a sense of entitilement.

Employers aren't a charity.

KaraStarbuckThrace Fri 20-May-11 09:33:12

I've worked in the private sector for years, and this SOP.
Usually most people will take it off their annual leave. Policy is not brand new. Sick pay is only paid when YOU are sick not your child, and SSP will not kick in for 3 days. Most employees will allow you to take time off up to a certain amount in a year, depending on length of service, at full pay but again only if YOU are sick.
Payment for parental leave is discretionary and would be in your contract as employers are not obliged to pay for this.
A certain amount of paid compassionate leave may be paid depending on the circumstances.

AmazingBouncingFerret Fri 20-May-11 09:33:24

Yeah it's unpaid parental leave. I'm sure they can insist you take the full week off unpaid aswell but I may have just dreamt that part

DurhamDurham Fri 20-May-11 09:41:29

I've worked in Private, Public and Voluntary sectors and have never known anyone routinely get paid for staying home to look after a sick child.

Why you would be so shocked is v shocking!!

mankyscotslass Fri 20-May-11 09:50:46

Yes, standard policy, they should give emergency leave to deal with dependants illness, but it's usually unpaid, and most employers would expect you to have something else sorted to cover the illness in a couple of days at most.

As for time off to attend spouses appointments, most reasonable companies would allow this, but again I would expect it to be unpaid or to have to make the time up.

I am shocked you are shocked, tbh.

prh47bridge Fri 20-May-11 10:07:14

Legally they are absolutely in the right. You are entitled to take time off to look after a dependent but it is unpaid.

Many employers will allow you to book it as holiday when you return but they are not required to do so and this is by no means universal. I have come across employers who will allow you to work from home when looking after a sick child provided the nature of the job allows this. I have not yet come across any private sector employer that would pay people for staying at home to look after a sick child.

From the employer's point of view you are effectively taking a days holiday without prior warning.

enidroach Fri 20-May-11 10:11:10

Yep - not there, no pay. This happened me when my DD was taken into hospital for a few days as she had started fitting! My boss later told me that I should not have been honest - if I had lied and said I had a tummy bug or some such I would have been paid. Apparently, all the parents did it - but no one had ever discussed it with me.

I was Public sector and my contract was strange as I could have 3 days paid off a year for funerals and 3 days paid off for interviews for other jobs(?) and up to about 26 weeks paid for jury service or magistrate duties - all of which I never used but not this.

mollymole Fri 20-May-11 10:17:24

why do you think someone should be paid if they are not at work , they are not ill so they are fit for work - they should expect to take leave from their holiday entitlement or unpaid leave -

AnnieLobeseder Fri 20-May-11 10:59:30

I'm frankly shocked at how callous the business sector is. Are employees really so routinely treated as commodities instead of human beings?

How come it's OK to take a day off sick for yourself and not for your dependents?

If I didn't have the dependency leave, I'd just lie and say it was me who was sick.

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