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What can I tell work so they don't know I miscarried?

(17 Posts)
Vatta Thu 18-Jul-13 04:10:32

I miscarried at 12 weeks and don't want my work to know about it.

All they know so far (combination of the medical certificate to sign me off for 2 weeks and a conversation I had with my boss while basically high on painkillers!) is that I had heavy blood loss, needed surgery on a few days' notice, was admitted to hospital for a while, and was on strong painkillers.

They've now directly asked by email what happened. I'm not due back till next week so have a little time to think of a response.

Can anybody suggest a suitable "cover story" (eg another condition I could say I had) or should I just say it was a "woman's issue" and I don't want to give any more details?

Grateful for any suggestions. TIA.

MaMattoo Thu 18-Jul-13 05:03:51

Can't really advise here, but did not want to read and run.
Surely you don't need to tell them anything more. You have the doctors/hospital leave advised letter and that should cover it.
Personal details though useful for line management are not always needed or expected. I had once handed in just the hospital discharge letter and filled the office form with that.
If you are concerned call your union. Or HR or call acas/citizen advice bureau.
Am sorry about your loss. Hope you are feeling ok!

MadameDefarge Thu 18-Jul-13 05:11:26

vatta, you are under no obligation to tell them anything. and they should not be contacting you while you are signed off sick - it constitutes harrassment. refer them to HR.

fatasbutter Thu 18-Jul-13 06:25:50

Absolutely agree with madame - you hve no obligation to tell them anything. If you aren't sure what to do have a quick chat with your GP - but also bear in mind that I THINK 'pregnancy related illness' isn't counted as official 'sick leave' as well in case that is relevant for you. Good luck x

Vatta Thu 18-Jul-13 07:09:04

Thanks all, that's reassuring. I'm still feeling a bit of a hormonal mess so just couldn't think through how to respond to them. x

HorryIsUpduffed Thu 18-Jul-13 07:28:54

Just a warning.

I was in a similar position and did not want work to know. They refused to pay sick pay while my sick form was "incomplete". They were complete cunts about it and I resigned a few weeks later.

Myself, I'd go for something like "gynaecological procedure" which has the benefits of (a) being true and (b) not exactly inviting further questioning.

AmandaCooper Thu 18-Jul-13 07:48:32

Vatta I'm so sorry for your loss. Unfortunately a miscarriage is not considered to be a pregnancy related illness. What does your employer's absence procedure say about what information you can be asked for?

Bakingtins Thu 18-Jul-13 09:42:38

Amanda the equality and human rights commission says miscarriage is a pregnancy related illness wrt sick pay and not counting absence etc
see here

Vatta I'm sorry for your loss. I'd take my time to think what you want them to know. If you tell them it's a miscarriage it won't go on your sick record but then I guess they'll conclude you are likely to be TTC again and off on maternity leave soon. I think if you have a sick note then there is a limit to the detail they have a right to ask for and "gynaecological procedure" should be more than enough information.

notanyanymore Thu 18-Jul-13 09:49:32

Vatta they may wish to know some more details purely for health & safety/back to work procedures especially as what you have supplied them with already indicates something fairly serious. As someone else mentioned, this would also count as pregnancy related so couldn't be counted in your sickness record which would be included in any future redundancy decisions etc.
Is there one person at work you would be comfortable talking to re this? Maybe contact HR? Or put it in email so you don't have to do it 'face to face'? Obviously whatever you tell work officially should not then be spread around for all to know.
It is likely to cause some speculation though if your work place is anything like mine (sorry).
So sorry for your loss.

HorryIsUpduffed Thu 18-Jul-13 09:53:46

I think if a generally fit person is off sick for a week or more (I was OoO for three weeks) then nosy colleagues will speculate and nice colleagues will worry. Either way, people are curious.

Bramshott Thu 18-Jul-13 10:42:22

Ovarian cyst?

squizita Thu 18-Jul-13 11:08:47

It is counted as a complication of pregnancy.

It is completely up to you whether you tell them, but bear in mind if they are difficult, being truthful ('I'd rather not say' as opposed to making up a condition) can be more helpful to you in the long run. They have to keep these things strictly confidential.

If you feel uncomfortable writing it on a sick form, that perhaps suggests they aren't that great as a HR dept? Are you concerned about confidentiality etc' may I ask?

I am lucky in that I knew I could fill the form truthfully and there would be zero gossip or repurcussions (apart from the odd sad look and pat on the arm from the HR office staff bless). So sad to hear, as I have over the months here, that some places are not like that. There really aught to be something done about it, it happens to 1 in 4 women FFS, we shouldn't all have to worry about work at such a terrible time. sad Hope it all works out OK in the end.

TinyTear Thu 18-Jul-13 11:14:58

I told my boss and filled out ERPC on the form. didn't tell anyone else until i was ready (which is now, 3 years later, I just sent round a justgiving link asking for donations for the Miscarriage Association where I told my story)

Vatta Thu 18-Jul-13 13:13:01

Thanks all.

My hr department would definitely tell my boss if they knew and unfortunately it would impact on a possible promotion if he knew I'm TTC.

Also I just don't want the pressure/speculation - especially having lost one pregnancy if I manage to get pregnant again I would want to keep it very quiet, and wouldn't want my boss noticing me getting queasy in the mornings and guessing if that makes sense.

Gynaecological issues is probably the way to go - if sickness leave ever becomes an issue, I could give them more details if I need to (and thanks to the posters above for the info re this not counting for sick leave purposes).

Thanks all. I love mumsnet, it's so hard to find people in rl for advice on this..

Vatta Thu 18-Jul-13 13:15:07

And just to say sorry to the posters above who've also gone through this. Hands down the worst experience of my life so far, so horrid to think so many of us go through this but people don't really talk about it.

LIG1979 Fri 19-Jul-13 22:24:32

So sorry for your loss.

I didn't initially want work to know with my 1st loss but it helped when I returned to work that my boss knew why I was not always at my best and very distracted at first. Also when I finally got pregnant with dd, I was a nervous wreck and kept disappearing for private scans when I got panicked (following a missed miscarriage) and it helped that my boss knew and was supportive. And fwiw it didn't hinder promotion prospects but I know that I am very lucky where I work.

Monkeybrain10 Sat 20-Jul-13 00:12:01

My doctor put "pelvic infection" on my sick note...non specific so it has meant people haven't really asked further questions as they realise it was something "down there" - girls parts,bladder or bottom! When people have asked what was wrong i have just said I'd rather not talk about it and they all look horrified and embarrassed and say sorry for asking. I just told them i lost a lot if blood etc. I hope u feel better soon and i hope that helps.

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