Doctors & paternity leave(11 Posts)
My husband is a doctor starting a new surgical rotation in August. I'm due to give birth early October. His annual leave isn't fixed and he's hoping to take 2 weeks of paternity leave. But how is he supposed to plan it to be there for the labour and the days after it?
According to guidance, he can't take pat leave before the baby is actually born, so booking pat leave for my due date isn't possible (baby cld be 2 weeks late). So we're thinking annual leave on due date and pat leave from 2 weeks after that but we're not sure they'll alow this. They haven't fixed the rota yet but I don'tknow if they'll allow him a month off....
This is my second child, but our first daughter passed away suddenly when she was 18months old about 20months ago. I've since developed an irrational fear of labour so the idea of being alone in labour or straught after is pretty daunting ....I know the second labour is usually quicker but there's no guarantees so I don't want to bank on that. After all if I pop the baby out in 1hour over the weekend when my husband isn't working it'll all work out just fine! But that's not what I need to plan for.
Doctors or doctors' partners will know about difficulties of covering night shifts / on calls etc. Probably other professions where pat leave planning is complicated?
Any advice welcome!
First off congrats!!
from experience paternity leave is usually pencilled in but on the understanding that it will be dependent on actual delivery date. Every single time someone's wife has gone into labour the guy has been excused immediately and paternity leave started the next day. On calls are then hastily rearranged with either other people picking it up as locums (preferable) or swaps (which is pain but part of our terms & conditions).
Honestly I have never known someone to take off a full month for paternity. Three weeks at a push. Cover is just ridiculously hard to arrange for that length of time and he'd have to do a whole run of on calls which I think would be worse for you.
You don't say what grade he is? It's a bit different for registrars than for SHOs.
Oh figs how horrible of me, I am so very sorry for your loss
If your husband felt able he could tell his consultant/medical staffing about your circumstances, an extended period may be possible or two weeks paternity followed by a short period back followed by two weeks off.
Thanks More.... he's an SHO. Reassuring to hear this! Don't feel we need a whole month, but rather that he be there for labour and just after. Last time I was in stupid pre-labour for 5 days and then actual labour for 24 hours. I wouldn't want to do any of that alone this time around.
Hi Figs, sorry about your loss. If he is able to, get him to speak to the rota co-ordinator regarding the situation. Hopefully they're reasonable so they can arrange for him to have maybe just finished weekend/nights before your due date so he has a normal time off afterwards. Or be not on call during that time ( depending on the rota). Then if you do give birth during then he can always call in and start paternity leave afterwards. However, if you give birth just before he can also start paternity leave at once. It'll be worth him speaking to his colleagues to make sure they'd be happy to cross cover. We donl tend to lend each other a helping hand when necessary. However if his team is on take ( it may be more difficult ) but again they should have people who can cross cover. It isn't any different to if someone calls in sick, it's hard on everyone but usually sorted. Will he be working in a big / small hospita?. District hospitals are usually a tad harder to find locums for at short notice but not impossible.
Hopefully baby comes at an appropriate time when he isn't at work
Congratulations - it will work out fine, I've had 2 babies with my dr husband, 1 when he was a reg, and for this latest one he's now a consultant. Each time his leave was pencilled in the rota for my due date and each time they scrambled to cover him when baby turned up early - first time when my waters broke (so no notice) at 36wks and this time when I was admitted following my 36wk appointment. This time I was booked in at his hospital so it made easier as he could finish his list before coming to see me (nothing was happening, he would have come urgently if I'd needed it)
He can give them notice of the expected due date - but ultimately they have to cover that 2 weeks (on calls and all and this is the directorates prerogative to cover - NOT your DH's) and he shouldn't be pushed into going in at that time or sorting out his own leave. Both myself and my DH are medical and have had to be hard with our respective hospitals with these matters. Just be reasonable (giving lots of notice and helping out prior to this) and people will be with you. We all know the pressures on us in the NHS - but don't let this spoil the most important time with your new child. Annual leave however will be different - he may want to try and gauge when he will require it if he wants to extend his paternity leave with this. He can cancel annual leave at a later date if he wishes.
Congratulations - we are on numero deux.
P.s and he doesn't have to "plan" anything - just hand over the expected due date to the directorate and leave it with them. A paper trail tends to help - such as emails with his bosses included in them (for their diaries).
Sorry to hear you've had such a terrible loss.
Agree with the others - have him speak to his clinical supervisor so there is plenty of notice and if he feels he can explain about your circumstances that would be helpful too. I've never been at work with anyone whose wife/partner is in labour as we would encourage them to go be with them...we normally just cover (I mean, who wouldn't?) day to day work (as your would for annual leave) and if necessary oncalls etc. Sometimes paternity leave has had to be negotiated afterwards. Agree speaking to rotamaster to try to ensure not on nights/weekends around time of potential birth as well if possible. Pretty sure people will be accommodating if they can be. If he is finding it more difficult can contact BMA for advice (if a member) regarding his rights.
Best wishes to you both and your anticipated arrival!
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm going to be honest, while I agree with everyone he should get his two weeks there are odd things for Drs that he may feel he needs to pop in for, unless it's during the actual labour.
Do you have a back up person? It might reduce your stress levels to know that just in case labour is quick, or slightly early and he is uncontactable for a few hours that there is someone else prepared to help out.
Thanks everyone, your perspectives are incredible helpful! It's really interesting to hear about your experiences.
He'll be working in the biggest hospital in the deanery, but I don't know how they feel about locums. I know people are generally helpful and hopefully people will be able to cover. My husband said he'd try and cover people's shifts in August and September so he'd build up some credit for October. We also live 15mins by bike from the hospital so I don't mind at all if he needs to pop into work or if leave has to be broken up.... Family will definitely come and support post birth but I don't think I can cope with my mother for the labour!!
Thanks again, your thoughts are very helpful!
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