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Working double shifts while pregnant

(8 Posts)
WillowH Wed 16-Sep-15 08:32:25

Hi, in hoping someone can give me some advice. I changed jobs just before finding out i was pregnant, told my manager as soon as i could and she seemed great, really supportive etc but im now 13 weeks (had my scan on monday ??) and im having problems with them.
I work part time for them (domiciliary care) which includeds alternate weekends and also work from home for myself (pet portrait artist) which they knew at my interview. I think ive sorted them giving me too many hours (i already do 30+ for myself then they were giving me over 30 too) but the weekends are now my problem, they are putting me on double shifts both days so working 7-2 then back out 5-10. Theyve also recently started putting extra calls on me and making me work till 2.30 and start earlier which leaves me with less time to drink and eat (end up hardly drinking as the only toilets i could use are theclients and without being horrible i really wouldnt want to, and only really eating 1 meal) ive done this line of work for over 5 years and im used to double shifts on my weekends but with my sickness and getting so tierd so easily i just cant cope. I told my boss it was too much as the last one i did i slept through my break in the day (so didnt eat anything) both days and come the sunday i felt so poorly, luckily they gave me no work on the monday as i slept all day, then i phoned in sick on the tues as again i was still quite ill and slept all day again. Went to the dr on weds for advice and all she said is she couldn't help only i know what i can do. After talking to my boss about that weekend (and having a back to work interview for my day off and being told not to make it a habbit, pregnant or not they will disapline/fire me for being off sick) they gave me 1/2 day on my next sat on then all day on the sunday. I emailed my boss to check this was a set thing now and she said that yes i would have atleast one evening off on my weekend and they would give me a lighter workload as best as they possibly could. But then i got my rota for this week and im back to double shifts both days with extra calls again, my boss now wont answer me and the ones doing the rotas have just said we gave u less work in the week so its alright for u to do all weekend, i said no thats not what id sorted out with the boss (she had forwarded the email to the ones doing the rota too so they have seen it) but theyve basically said theyre too short staffed to be able to cover it now so they cant do anything about it. I just had a week off, but now im back to work this week and ive been dreading it, my sickness has got worse again and ive been stressing out. I wish i hadnt changed jobs now (if i knew at the time i was pregnant i wouldnt have done it). Any ideas/tips on what i can do to wort this out? This office it awful they just hide their head in the sand and ignore things even if they have promosed it. Im normally such a laid back person but now im stressed and keep bursting into tears over it. I dont know whether to try and see another dr and see if they will back me up or to look for another job, but then i dont know if that could mess up maternity pay

AJMcF Wed 16-Sep-15 09:22:02

Hi WillowH

Sorry you are super stressed with work. I was on here a few days ago with work too and got lots of support.
Do you have an HR team that can look into this for you? I dont work in the same industry, but double shifts seems really excessive work for a pregnant lady.
You could raise it with HR and send the email from your boss confirming that you would have at least one evening free at the weekends?
Also, can you shift swap? Would any of your co-workers be able to take the extra shifts and you have some much needed rest?
On a purely concerned note, having one meal and only small amounts to drink can lead to raised ketones in your urine, and if you get dehydrated from that it can be quite tiring on you to say the least.
I really hope they can be reasonable for you. It seems like a lot of extra stress that just isnt needed sad

WillowH Wed 16-Sep-15 09:33:40

Hi AJMcF, not as far as i know, i think its the boss who deals with it. The one who did has recently left. I know its not great, well on my week off my sickness improved but now its come back again and the tierdness i really think its stress related. I dont think i can, i dont know any of the other carers as we lone work. And as we work everyother weekend i wouldnt want to ask someone to cover for me, but i think work should do something, especially as they said they would. As for food etc thats my main worry but i cant eat much in a go without starting my sickness off and with only 3 hours i basically eat dinner/tea and at 10 its too late for me to eat again as im ready to collapse in bed lol. I will inform work of this, ive just been goung through my employee handbook and theres little help in there, only thing they will help is it ur under stress which i have said that to them and they arnt doing much to help with it ??
Thank u x

AJMcF Wed 16-Sep-15 11:38:03

Seems like a nightmare.
I had issues with my boss giving me less work when he found out I was pregnant. The ladies on here advised me to keep a note of everything. Every email and make sure you have a note of the emails you send to your boss.

Could you return to your Dr or Midwife and explain the stress situation? I am really surprised a DR would say only you know what to do. How helpful is that!!! lol.

I would send an email and say 'I wanted to highlight my working pattern is impacting my stress levels and I was hoping you could advise the best way I could stagger shifts to alleviate this?' It really is in their best interests to help you stay in the workplace. If they are already understaffed. If you are out sick that wont help anyone, but if you are stressed and not eating that can only be bad for you and baby.

Sorry I cant give much advice, I purely didnt want you to be alone with work stresses. I am also pregnant and the tiredness is killer, without working double shifts! I just about manage 7.5hours!!!!!

WillowH Wed 16-Sep-15 12:19:31

thanks so much, its nice to have support off others. the office staff seemed supportive at first now their attitude is your pregnant just get on with it. ive already told them after a 7-2 shift im shattered and always end up back in bed till my partner gets back home at 4.30.
yes i think i will go back to the dr, next midwife app isnt till middle of next month (im a week further on then first thought so im going to try and get my appointment moved on a week hopefully) i know the dr was not helpful, i told her i wasnt eating well with my work shift and she just said you cant eat big meals anyway, just eat chocolate/biscuits etc to get the calories, how that is good advice i do not know. will try and see someone else. thanks for the idea for the email, that sounds a good way of phrasing it. i dont really want to go off sick again either, especially if they think they can fire me if i have too much time off (which i didnt think they can legally if its pregnancy related). what makes me laugh is work insist they arent double shifts, if we only work 7-2 or 5-10 then they are split shifts, who in their right mind would want to work those shifts every day lol. i just ahd a quick work out and i can start my maternity the begining of January which is making me feel better, not ideal starting that early but i think i might

thundernlightning Mon 21-Sep-15 04:23:27

Oh, jeez, Willow, just adding some support. Your workplace sounds awful. I don't live in the UK, I'm in Canada, but here if you do two five hour shifts in the same 24 hour span you are owed overtime pay. I know some professions require long or split shifts, and maybe this is one of them, but sure hope you're being compensated handsomely for all the extra effort.

I'm sorry I don't have any helpful tips to add to AJMcF's advice, just sympathies. I hope you're okay. I do an eight hour day in an office and I'm shattered at the end of the day. You must be utterly exhausted. I hope things improve for you soon!

jmac88 Tue 22-Sep-15 08:41:32

This sounds awful. Is there a maternity policy you can look at? I think usually you have a right to request flexible hours when pregnant. They need to be careful they are not discriminating against yiu which it definitely sounds like they are. If you left I'm pretty sure you get get them for constructive dismissal as they're making it almost impossible for you to do your job. Have they been through a pregnancy risk assessment with you? That would show that you need extra breaks etc. Also they need to think of your role in terms of infectious diseases/manual handling/ travel etc. I used to do your job and the role would fmdedinitely need to be altered to fit around pregnancy. I would try contacting ACAS to see what they say.

jmac88 Tue 22-Sep-15 08:42:40

And that's what they should be doing, fitting around your pregnancy, not you fitting around them!

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