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Pregnancy Migraines and time off work

(33 Posts)
bojangles Mon 14-Jul-08 18:36:46

I am 15 weeks pg and have been suffering with very bad pregnancy migraines for the last 5-6 weeks. I am also an insulin dependant diabetic which is currently very difficult to control and likely to be contributing to the migraines. I work full time and I have DD age 4 and DS age 2 consequently rest is not a term I am over familiar with. My Doctor signed me off last week for a week and made it very clear to me that I should reduce my hours as essentially trying to continue as I currently am is not sustainable. I reported all of this to my employer (local authority so should be quite good with this sort of thing) and on my return to the office today I was expecting some serious dicussion about reducing my hours. This didn't happen and it was more of a pleased you are back how are you feeling - I had a headache starting again! I have now made another appoitnment with my Dr on Thursday to discuss the situation but could really do with your views on how I should handle work. I understood that you could be signed off to work reduced hours without any effect on your pay or do I need to just get tough and phone in sick or leave early sick as soon as another headache starts?

Buckets Mon 14-Jul-08 18:47:04

Ask your doc for clarification on the signing off reduced hours. Make an appt with your boss to discuss it Friday after you've processed the info in your own head.
I got prescribed Stemetil anti-vomiting pills and cocodamol for my migraines in this pregnancy. It's believed that the nerve to the stomach is affected in a migraine which makes painkillers not work (whether you vomit or not) so the Stemetil helps with that.

NorthernLurker Mon 14-Jul-08 18:56:15

I think your occupational health department should be able to help you with this? Ask your manager to refer you - or refer yourself and they can then assess you and make recommendations to your employer. I would be quite surprised though if you can have reduced hours because of sickness without it affecting your pay as you are either well enough to be at work or your off sick - you can't really be both. I know we've used - at occ healths suggestion annual leave time to arrive at a shorter week - particularly for staff coming back after long sickness absences. You should bear in mind as well that any reduction in your income over the next few weeks will affect your salary for the qualifying period of SMP. Tbh - you might just be better off being signed off sick for a few more weeks. At least that way I assume your salary will stay the same and you'll get the time you need to hopefully get the diabetes under more control?

bojangles Mon 14-Jul-08 19:58:34

Buckets - thank you for your suggestions - I have cocodamol and find that they work only if I can lie down and sleep for a few hours.

NL - I am concerned about the effect on my SMP - I was trying to help work by going down the part time option as it is likely that daily rest will prevent the migraines and would allow me to continue working rather than being in a fully signed off position.

mrsgboring Mon 14-Jul-08 20:07:27

At my work there is provision for working reduced hours without affecting pay. It's only available if the need for reduced hours will not be permanent so I think your pregnancy situation could qualify.

Ask Occ Health

bojangles Mon 14-Jul-08 20:13:41

MrsGB - do you work in public sector?

NorthernLurker Mon 14-Jul-08 20:30:48

bojangles - don't try to help work! Just do whatever you and your doctor think is best for you and your baby smile

gigglewitch Mon 14-Jul-08 20:39:48

can you meet with your line manager to discuss this? would seem like a logical place to start wink As nl says, we use hol entitlement to reduce work hours without affecting pay; also in our company you can be off sick on full pay whilst pg without accruing "points" on the disciplinary system. Thing is, you need to be back at work at around 28 wks AFAIK (might have changed though) as if you are off with pg-related illness they can put you on mat leave. hmm. check it out? this might be useful?

mrsgboring Mon 14-Jul-08 20:40:21

I did. Now I'm a Statusless and Homely Mother.

It was (and is) a "Non Departmental Public Body" i.e. a Quango.

gigglewitch Mon 14-Jul-08 20:49:58

Bo-J I understood that your SMP was only calculated at the 6 wks before you start mat leave if your pay is variable, and otherwise that it was at set rates if you are on a salary hmm If i am babbling nonsense i am sorry, off back to the maternity rights section to check blush

NorthernLurker Mon 14-Jul-08 21:04:05

don't they do qualifying weeks between week 18 and 26 anymore then for SMP? The being forced to start your mat leave because of illness only kicks in at 36 weeks now so that's ok anyway.

gigglewitch Mon 14-Jul-08 21:17:40

is this smp calculator any help?

NorthernLurker Mon 14-Jul-08 21:22:42

That's a great calculator! I think that and I'm not even pregnant <slaps self>

Pavlovthecat Mon 14-Jul-08 21:24:46

You should have had a health & safety assessment, which needs to be re-assessed either monthly or as your situation changes, as in your case.

In this assessment working hours are looked at, as is your health etc and any adjustments made can be made here. You can advise that you can't cope with the hours you are working, and Dr advised to cut them down, this must be recorded on this assessment and something done about it. Agree that OC can help if your line manager is not helping, or your health and safety officer if you have one (you should).

I suffered significantly with morning sickness which made me exhausted. I would be so ill of an evening and in the morning that I struggled to get to work on time. My core hours were adjusted to work 10-4pm, with the same pay as they were adjusted hours, not reduced hours. This was recorded and I was monitored. My line manager was a bit rubbish with the form so I clarified things with my H&S officer who helped her complete the form correctly and make sure I was getting the support I was entitled to.

The alternative to them not reducing my hours so that I could ensure I came in, was that I would be further stressed by not being able to complete my hours each week, and would potentially result in being signed off sick, so there was an incentive to reduce my hours.

gigglewitch Mon 14-Jul-08 21:43:28

wink NL ...we'll get the thing right between us. ta for info about the revision from 28wks to 36 wks <for pg colleagues - NOT me grin>

bojangles Mon 14-Jul-08 22:16:14

Thank you there is some really useful info here and love the smp calculator. Pavlov - your situation is exactly what I was envisaging and I suspect with a supprtive line manager would occur. I will follow up with line manager and ask for HR and Occ Health to be involved.

Many thanks.

Wilkiepedia Mon 14-Jul-08 22:17:59

Bojangles - I suffer with migraine and have just started on Midrid tablets which you take when they kick off. Not sure if you can use in pregnancy though but they are very effective.

You have every sympathy you poor thing x

Pavlovthecat Mon 14-Jul-08 23:30:51

bojangles yes do it. I work for LA too (well local government but LA pay my wages iyswim) so you should get the same treatment as I did, even with a crap manager! That is the point of the assessment I think, to ensure across the board treatment.

Northernlurker - I disagree about either being sick or not. I suffered tremedously with sickness throughout my entire pg, and it caused my ability to get to work on time suffer, but once I was able to get to work, I was fine until early afternoon when I became ill again from about 5-6pm onwards. By making my start time 10am I knew I could get into work without being ill at work/being late but still be able to actually be at work during the time that I felt ok.

Pg is not a sickness, but it is a condition that needs to be managed so that it does not make the person ill. If the OP is less likely to suffer from migraines by reducing hours, or able to manage them better at home by reducing hours, she can continue to work productively when she is at work.

sketti Tue 15-Jul-08 15:36:51

oh im sick of work, they reduced my hours cos of i had bad morning sickness without telling me and now trying to get out of smp

bojangles Tue 15-Jul-08 17:56:17

So today my boss had arranged a meeting with HR to discuss what should happen - it was rather stressful but essentially the HR woman said they could reduce my hours but my pay would be reduced as would by SMP, my Occupational pay and my leave. I 'suggested' that I would actaully be in a better position if I didn't try to continue working and let the Dr sign me off and HR said they would then have to monitor my sickness, review it and consider what they would do. I am a solciitor by the way, and know this is absloute nonsense and I informed her that she couldn't legally require me to start my mat leave until 36 weeks and I couldn't see any reason why I couldn't certify myself as sick when a migraine came on and use the normal sickness provision. I think I am right that they can't monitor or do anything about preganancy related sickness until 36 weeks. By this point I was getting rather stressed and consequnetly had a headache for the remainder of the day plus a high blood sugar followed by a hypo. I am due to see the Dr on Thursday and am now thinking I am happy for him to sign me off for a few weeks to see if things improve.

Like Pavlov said I think I could genuinely be okay to work the mornings as I rarely get a migraine in the monring unless I have had a very bad night or stressful morning and generally it all deteriorates after lunch when I just need to lie down and rest to prevent the migraine taking hold.

Am I being unreasonable and stroppy? Pregnancy always seems to make me lose my judgement!

bojangles Tue 15-Jul-08 20:10:06

Can I just 'bump' my last message if anyone is round!

Pavlovthecat Tue 15-Jul-08 21:30:31

Oh bojangles why do they have to be so horrible? shock

You are right! Of course you are! You cannot be made to start your maternity leave until 36 weeks. If you are unfit to work the hours you are required, then you are unfit to work.

Go back to your GP and tell them that not only are you suffering from migranines, but that the stress you are suffering from is making your pregnancy related migraine worse and as such unfit for work right now.

They are not allowed to do this. Under the Sex Discrimination Act, they are not allowed to take into account pregnancy related sickness when reviewing sickness absence, they are not allowed to penalise you for being ill during your pg.

Also. If you are insulin dependent. That may also be disability discrimination because if you cant manage your pg due to working to many hours, your disability ie your illness will suffer, putting you and your baby at risk. You have to be allowed to manage your illness under disability discimrination act, and you need to be allowed to manage your pregnancy under the sex discrimination act.

Get signed off. Let them review things as they see fit, and look after yourself.

They are being so awful, I am so sorry you have to go through this, but you are right. I am soooo furious for you angry

(my best friend has diabetes and pg and has had similar issues with her work, they are arses and they are wrong, and they knew it and backtracked once their HR checked it out properly, literally, only in the last few weeks).

chocbiscuits Tue 15-Jul-08 22:15:41

My work have been arses too - just gone off as early as you are allowed 11 weeks before due date and added all my holiday beforehand - had loads because I kept being told I wasn't allowed to take any hmm.
Anyway Absolutely thrilled to be out of there at the moment!!!!

gigglewitch Tue 15-Jul-08 23:33:25

gawd they are being ridiculous, Bo. Pavlov has said everything that is sensible to say - just follow her good advice! Just think, you could give yourself a headache MNing instead, how much better than getting it through work grin

Pavlovthecat Wed 16-Jul-08 11:48:39

bojangles are you at work? You better not be! Not unless they are listening to you.

And I just re-read your last post about your sugars. I re-iterate my point about you needing to manage your illness as well as your pregnancy. If they are not allowing you to follow normal protocol (and I cant imagine your LA would follow different protocol to mine) regarding managing your pg, and this is resulting in your stress increasing and subsequently effecting your ability to control your illness, this is most definitely not acceptable and contravenes the Disablity Discrimination Act. Which, in turn, contravenes the Sec Discrimination Act, as you are pregnant and the two are currently linked. If they manage one, they manage the other.

I know I have said it before but they are digging themselves a big hole, which they would struggle to get out of if you have the energy to fight them.

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