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Am I doing the right thing?

(15 Posts)
LizzyMathsWhizzy Fri 16-Sep-11 09:13:38

I have been struggling at work this week so I have stayed in bed this morning. I am a Maths teacher on a full timetable in a challenging (to say the least) school, and just couldn't face another day on my feet negotiating with 15 year old boys to get their hands out their trousers, not to be so rude and do some work. I am 30 weeks, and was planning to work up to half term, another 5 weeks, but I just don't see how I can do it. I asked my line manager for a reduction in hours, but she just turned me down straight away without even looking into it. I'm going to see the midwife in an hour, but I just feel so guilty for not working, I never miss a day for anything. I haven't been off work for more than half a day since I became a teacher 3 years ago. I don't even know my rights, do I need a doctors note?

kat2504 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:23:15

You could just get yourself signed off sick up until your maternity leave starts, if your doctor agrees that it is too much for you to carry on. Teaching is very hard work and being on your feet all day in a very stressful job is surely very hard to do in the later stages of pregnancy. Your doctor might decide to write you a "fit note" for example saying that you are only fit for work 3 days a week rather than 5, instead of a sick note, if that is what you want. The school would just have to suck it up if it is medical orders.

If they continue to be unreasonable and arsey stay off sick and put up your feet for an extra month. However you may find your headteacher more reasonable than your line manager so you could try that route.

licoriceGreen Fri 16-Sep-11 09:25:01

I don't know if you need a doctors note at my work you only need one if you have more than a week off, but stop feeling guilty, you need to put you and bump first. I'd go back when you feel up to it and talk to your boss again about the adjustments you need to stop you from being Ill and to look after bump. If she refuses then maybe look at bringing your mat leave forward. Hope you feel better soon.

SenoritaViva Fri 16-Sep-11 09:25:24

As above poster says but only want to add, please DON'T feel guilty about it.

Velvetcu Fri 16-Sep-11 09:25:31

Hi Lizzy

I'm a Science teacher at a challenging school too. I'm 34 weeks and, because they knew I would be going on mat leave, they have given me a full timetable of bottom sets. I was going to work until 38 weeks but after just 1 week back I too have decided I can't do it! I have pgp and my classroom is upstairs but apart from the pain I cannot deal with the behaviour issues in a rational manner.

HR said to me to get signed off for the next 2 weeks (yes you will need a doctors note if you are planning to stay off) and then they will automatically start my maternity leave at 36 weeks. I believe that this applies at other schools too - check your maternity policy.

tinky19 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:30:05

Firstly, yes, you've done the right thing.
I'm a primary school teacher basically covering for everyone else for my last half term (like you working up till half term - 29 weeks) I work 3 days then DS and I travel 250 miles to stop with my DH!
This week, things got too much, (mw app, sickness and tummy troubles, DS teething and up ALL NIGHT!) so I'm having a few days off. Your health and your babies health must come first.
Secondly, you don't need a doc note for the first week. You just self certify.
Thirdly, I would look again at having you hours reduced, can you go to the person above? Even as a teacher, you have a legal right to have your health and welfare looked after. I would go back and say that unless you have a reduction you are sure you are going to make yourself and your baby ill and that you have told your mw this.
Don't feel guilty. I know it's hard not to but schools just role along without you. It's managements jibs to worry about finding cover for you, that's why they get paid so much more.
Take it easy. smile

kat2504 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:30:16

Yes, don't bring forward your mat leave, as if you are off sick you will be on full pay. Really it would be better if they could adjust your work and give you extra support for a while, but sometimes being at home is the best thing for you and the baby. Teaching teenagers is very stressful.

tinky19 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:34:17

They can only make you start maternity leave early if you are off sick with pregnancy related illness so if it's stress/ general sickness they cant.
jibs = jobs

Oeisha Fri 16-Sep-11 09:35:09

FYI, you line manager must adjust your work scenario to allow you to work for as long as you choose/is practical. If this means cutting back on the number of classes/time on your feet you do during the day and an increase in the amount of 'admin' time you thus get (I'm sure there are other teachers in the school with things that need doing that they could pass on), then so be it. Otherwise they're discriminating...talk to your occupational health team and headteacher (unless they were the line manager). You are entitled to work for as long as you can. An out refusal to adapt the situation is unacceptable.

The automatic mat. leave at 36wks thing is standard, though discretionary to the employer. They don't all do it and are happy to use sick leave still...but I don't expect many employers are that nice.

Def. go to your GP who will give you some assurance and importantly backing, that you are infact ok to do this, and they will help with any 'medical' information you need (such as the effects of stress on you and baby)...

kat2504 Fri 16-Sep-11 09:53:31

Actually under current regulations they can not make you start your maternity leave until 36 weeks. It used to be before that if you went off sick with pregnancy related illness, but unless I am mistaken, it has now been changed to only in the last 4 weeks of your pregnancy.

hairylights Fri 16-Sep-11 10:09:29

Or you could give your 28 days notice now to amend your start date for maternity leave, and start in a month's time.

kat2504 Fri 16-Sep-11 10:15:51

Yes but she only has a month to go until maternity leave as it is. She was going to start at 35 weeks so that is not much more than the 28 day notice period. Really it would be best if her school support her to remain in work until that date. Hopefully this might happen if her midwife is helpful. If it doesn't happen then she needs to put herself and the baby first.

LizzyMathsWhizzy Fri 16-Sep-11 11:41:50

Thanks everyone, I've seen the midwife, who wasn't entirely helpful, basically said I shouldn't go to work if it makes me feel like this, and I need to see the doctor to get a FIT note. I rang the doctors, who wouldn't fit me in for an appointment today, I'll have to wait until Monday. The receptionist was quite rude actually, she said "basically, you just want a sick note, and thats not an emergency, you'll have to wait in the queue like everyone else" She made me feel like I'm taking the system for a ride, which really isn't my intention, and now I feel guiltier than ever for not being at work.

I already thought about bringing my maternity leave forward, but the 28 day notice period only gives me an extra 4 days, so there isn't much point. I really don't know what do do next. Do I tell my boss about the appointments, or wait until I have a FIT note, so I know exactly what its going to say?

violetwellies Fri 16-Sep-11 11:49:10

Don't reduce your hours our very helpful HR person said this will reduce mat pay &I should go off sick instead wink

kat2504 Fri 16-Sep-11 12:10:48

Don't feel guilty about the evil receptionist. You can self certify for the first week anyway if you really aren't up to going in. It isn't an emergency to get a not, but i understand your frustration at being spoken to like that. You arent taking the system for a ride. Teaching full time is stressful anyway. Call in sick on Monday, tell the school the midwife has told you to stay off, take the morning off to go to the doctors and then take it from there with your boss when you know what the plan is.
In the case of teaching you should be able to reduce your hours for pregnancy related reasons because it is a temporary change, not a new part time contract. Make sure you are still paid your full salary or that would affect your maternity pay.
Some employers are more understanding than others about things like this.

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