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Please help - work question

(18 Posts)
HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 18:40:28

Hi everyone - hoping to get some advice as I genuinely don't know what to do - I'm 23 weeks pregnant

I've been working from home for the last month (advised by GP) as my commute is 4.5 hours round trip and I'm not sleeping at all due to chronic hip pain (I have hip problems anyway - need replacements in a few years but pregnancy has made pain much worse at night)

I just couldn't cope with getting up at 6am and not getting home til gone 7pm and was falling asleep at my desk

But working from home has been much better as I can get up later/go to bed earlier

My last day in the office before mat leave is 15th May and my work have said that they need me to be in the office and they don't want me working from home long term

This is in response to me asking if I can try working from home alternate days until my last day in the office (my manager travels a lot so I generally work from home twice a week anyway)

I really don't know what to do! Has anyone got any experience of this? I've tried to be helpful and work from home - the GP wanted to just sign me off sick - but work aren't helping me out at all so aren't giving me much of a choice!

Am so worried about it it's making me feel sick

MagicalHamSandwich Wed 16-Mar-16 18:46:48

Can you talk to your manager and explain that you really want to work but will have to be signed off if you have to commute? Explain that it really does make a difference and that while you can easily be productive you simply cannot commute.

No idea what your boss is like - I'd personally definitely rather have a team member working remotely than not at all (and I'm a big fan of having my team on-site usually).

Fifi10 Wed 16-Mar-16 18:47:53

You could get a fit note which states that you are able to work under specific conditions ie working from home as you suggested.

This way if work are unable to honour this request you are effectively signed off work and put on sick leave. This being posed to them could give you more clout in negotiating to stay in work, but with reasonable adjustments which make it manageable for you.

Cassie2015 Wed 16-Mar-16 18:55:26

Have you had any risk assessments done during your pregnancy? Your manager should have done this and you are within your right to ask to add to it and your manager should try to find a reasonable adjustment for you. I would suggest sitting down with them and have a calm discussion. I can understand that it is the need of the business to maybe have you in however if they cannot find a reasonable adjustment, they basically need to suspend you on full pay on the basis you cannot do what is required but it would not be your fault as you are pregnant.
I do agree with the fit note mentioned in previous post, doctor can say you need to limit your commute to so many hours per week and there is nothing they could do about it then.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 18:56:54

Thanks for the replies - that's basically what I have been doing, which I thought was a lot better for them than me just going off sick

My manager travels a lot and we always had the agreement that I could work from home when he's not in the office - so he may be more supportive but HR have been really accusatory and unhelpful so far and he seems nervous to do anything without them involved.

They have also requested "supporting documentation relating to antenatal appointments" which confuses me - I don't have any documents for midwife appts - you just make an appt through the GP office!

Mslg Wed 16-Mar-16 19:13:19

I feel your frustration, my commute is 1.5 hr (on a good day) door to door and I also work from home weekly. I couldn't cope with my commute every day, it's a 120 mile round trip. I can never fathom why employers aren't open minded and completely trustworthy when it comes to wfh as it helps so much with productivity and time management I find.

If you absolutely MUST go into the office can you ask them if they would allow flexible working - starting later so you're not getting up at the crack of dawn? Maybe you could find a cheap hotel room for a night or two a week and expense claim it back? Not ideal I know but may be an option. Maybe go in to the office day in/day off so you have a break in between? If they aren't willing to accommodate your suggestions I would go down the route of pp of suspension with pay. The hassle and stress just isn't worth it.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 19:26:55

Thanks Mslg

I am suggesting that I go in on Tues and Thurs each week, as my antenatal appts are either on Mon or Weds so I would have to work from home on those days anyway and alternating days will give me time to rest/recover.

I don't believe a risk assessment has been carried out - how is this done?

HR have said I can do a normal working day, but they have made no mention of my commute making my working day a 13 hour one.

They haven't mentioned that I could come in slightly later/leave slightly earlier so I can miss rush hour, which I think they're supposed to offer?

I think I will discuss with my manager next week - they want me to start handover to my maternity cover around mid April and I really don't want to leave him in the lurch by going off sick but I can't believe they're not being more supportive!

suspiciousofgoldfish Wed 16-Mar-16 20:01:48

They sound like arseholes OP.

I don't think they can make you do anything in relation to work if your go has already signed you off.

I also don't think they can legally ask for any documentation regarding antenatal appointments - if you are pregnant then they are obliged to allow you to take time off for your appointments.

You're not taking the piss, a four hour commute is a shitter at the best of times, let alone when you are pg. surely they knew when they employed you that a) you live really fucking far away and b) given that you are a woman, you may in fact, one day, have a baby?

Don't let it stress you, your doc will have the final say.

Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

queenofthepirates Wed 16-Mar-16 20:12:31

I would guess this might have something to do with your potential request for flexible working when you return. If you can show how your job can be done from home, it then strengthens your case for WFH after you return from mat leave. Perhaps you could address this with your manager and explain that you are not looking to set a precedent for the future.

That said, your commute sounds unworldly and I would struggle to do that post baby. Childcare just isn't readily available at 6am or even 7pm unless you've got great family support. I think your managers already know that and are anticipating your request.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 20:27:29

queen I think you're right and my mum has just said the same: they don't want to officially allow me to wfh now as I may want to keep it up on my return and it also might set a precedent for other pregnant employees.

I am going to speak to my manager face to face next week and point out that I've been reasonable but that my GP said my commute was ridiculous and I'd like to work from home alternate days as I'm only going to get bigger so unlikely my condition will improve.

If he isn't supportive I will have to go to my GP and ask her to sign me off as working from home until I leave - it's just a shame cause I had a really good relationship with my boss

Cassie2015 Wed 16-Mar-16 20:31:04

Risk assessments are forms which will state the risk associated to you and your baby whilst working and finding ways around them. Each company should have their own template and I would think if your company is big enough to have a head office with HR department, they should definitely have this. You can contact HR and ask them about it. I was a nursery manager up to last May and I did lots of them. I used to sit with the staff and the usual things would be no lifting, no twisting etc which would mean they were not allowed to lift heavy children on the changing unit or carry trays of food. I even had one towards the end where she mentioned she struggled to wear little black shoes as stated in the uniform because her feet were swollen so I allowed her to wear running trainers. I entered that in the risk assessment. To be honest, it is in the company's interest to have it because it protect them, ie if you were to have an accident, they can say you were not supposed to do this so you could not sue.

I think it is reasonable for you to say you need a working day that isnt 13 hours so either they let you work from home or they reduce your working hours so you get there later and leave earlier.

I can understand the fact they want a proof of your appointment. It is a little bit over the top and I just trusted my girls to be honest and would usually allow almost half the day because of travel and I know midwives run late but it can happen. Just ask your midwife to put your appointment on a headed paper or a card or something or send you an email you can forward onto your work.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 20:38:23

Thanks Cassie - I'm going to take in my consultant letter and will see if the midwife can sign something, but I would have liked them to trust me - I haven't had more than the usual amount of antenatal appts so no reason for them to be suspicious.

If I'm supposed to be involved in the risk assessment, they definitely haven't done one.
I asked about it because I know that long working hours is something they need to mitigate but it seems they are not including my commute in the 'working hours'

VegasIsBest Wed 16-Mar-16 20:41:15

Could you stay in a B&B one night a week so you don't have the commute? Then with your normal pattern of two days a week working from home this would be more manageable.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 20:46:28

Hi Vegas there's no way we could afford for me to do that unfortunately and work wouldn't pay for it (there's been a freeze on anyone lower than management travelling to save money)

Coldtoeswarmheart Wed 16-Mar-16 20:48:01

OP, Google "new and expectant mothers who work HSE". You should find a pdf document which takes you through H&S law relating to pregnancy and breadtfeeding, including what should be taken into account in a pregnancy risk assessment.

HyacinthBouvier Wed 16-Mar-16 21:09:46

Thanks Coldtoes - I've read it and will hear back tomorrow from HR hopefully re a risk assessment

Coldtoeswarmheart Wed 16-Mar-16 22:19:12

Good luck x

ForTheLoveOfSocks Fri 18-Mar-16 19:59:20

Hi OP

I just wanted to add that legally, your employer can request proof of antenatal appointments, apart from the first one. My midwife writes my next appointment in my green notes, and I just scan a copy of that each time, plus any hospital letters etc.

I work in Payroll, and usually most employers are good, it sounds like someone in the HR team are a bit power mad confused.

And as for leaving your cover in the lurch - you need to think about your health first. I ended up being signed off a month before my mat leave with DD2. Commuting was killing my spd, but I couldn't work from home. So I was signed off two weeks before my cover started, and right when we were starting to transfer to a new payroll system. So I left at a real crucial time. And you know what? Nothing bad happened at work. It was ok. So what I am trying to say is putting yourself first won't mean a disaster for your workplace. They will cope.

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