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Time off when children are ill

(64 Posts)
veneeroftheweek Tue 26-Jan-16 10:45:36

I'm curious as to your school's policy when your own children are sick and you don't have family nearby to help out.

I called in today and explained that my son was ill, and that my other half had taken the day off yesterday so I couldn't come in. It clearly wasn't ok. And now I feel really shit. Nursery won't take him if he has a temperature. What do other people do?

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CremeEggThief Tue 26-Jan-16 10:49:16

I lied a couple of times and said I was ill.

veneeroftheweek Tue 26-Jan-16 11:07:58

Ah I didn't think of that. Do you think that goes down better? Not sure I'd be able to look them in the eye at my return to work interview.

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CremeEggThief Tue 26-Jan-16 11:10:47

Not really, but what can they do about it? They can't accuse you of lying. Every working parent does it at one point or another.

Groovee Tue 26-Jan-16 11:14:33

We get 5 family days a year. But I know some staff say they are ill.

waitingforsomething Tue 26-Jan-16 11:27:08

I got 5 days a year for dependents. Even so, DDs first year in childcare meant more than that so dh had to take some days off

DesertOrDessert Tue 26-Jan-16 11:33:02

CremeEgg I understand it is a million times harder when last minute holidays are not possible, but not EVERY working parent calls in sick because their child is sick. And indeed, the lady at my last place of work who did this was disciplined for it. She was accused of lying by HR, and her illness record was heavily scrutinised from then onwards.

Veneer I'm not in a school, but the teachers and TA's are very open about not being present due to ill kids. I received a message last week apologising for something that was promised to the class by the end of the week wouldn't happen, as the teachers kids required her at home (I assume through illness), and the outline of how things would get back on track. I also know TAs who have been off as the kids are sick. Very accepting at this (international) school.

DesertOrDessert Tue 26-Jan-16 11:34:24

Sorry, that should say I don't work in a school, but the staff at my kids school are very open

veneeroftheweek Tue 26-Jan-16 13:26:58

I guess it must be different cultures in different places. I've had to take two half days so far. The head at my old school never batted an eyelid because I'd been there a long time and she knew I didn't take the piss.

That's the thing, Waiting - this is ds's first year in nursery and he's susceptible to everything that's going round. Ds1 was the same at that age but rarely gets ill now. I think I'd prefer to take it as unpaid than be made to feel guilty about it.

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waitingforsomething Tue 26-Jan-16 13:43:38

It's a complete pain OP, I am dreading it when I go back as DS will be ready to spend a year getting ill...
Don't take it unpaid that's not fair. Just use your own sick days and don't tell them- you won't be the first. Do you have a DP or parents who might be able to take a bit of time to look after him when he's poorly?

KittyandTeal Tue 26-Jan-16 13:51:29

I've luckily only had to take one day which was because my dm (who looks after dd1 while I work) had the flu, luckily it was a fri so I only had to take one day.

I was very good friends with the head who asked me if anyone else could have her (no, dh is in emergency services so couldn't take they day, although it's his turn next) then he asked if my dad could take the day off work to heave her shock Why on earth he thought it was ok for my dad to take a day off (also teaching) to look after his dgd so I could go to work! He got short shrift on that answer.

What else are you supposed to do? Nursery (rightly) won't have them, if they're no other family it's down to you to take time off

Terrifiedandregretful Tue 26-Jan-16 15:19:25

My school are very good about it. I've always been honest and there's never been a problem. DP and I alternate taking days off for child sickness so our workplaces share the inconvenience. If you have no family nearby then what else can you do?

GinandJag Tue 26-Jan-16 19:17:36

My children are incredibly robust so have never been ill with something that doesn't respond to Calpol when DH not around.

I have heard that the quiet advice is to say that you are sick, as you are not entitled to be paid if you are caring for someone else.

If you are planning on looking for another job, it is not a good idea to do this, as sickness absences are often asked for on a reference.

padkin Tue 26-Jan-16 19:20:33

Most schools I've worked in have been understanding, and you have 5 family days to cover it, and I've never reached that.

One school was awful though. It became an academy and changed the rules. One day only, and then you had to organise other cover. At the time my DH was posted overseas (military) and we hadn't been in the area that long, so I didn't know many people. Certainly no family within 100s of miles. My two kids came down with a vomiting bug. I took the one day but was told I must be in the day after. Obviously the kids needed to be home a minimum of 48 hours so I was stuck. All my 'mum' friends worked, or had babies to look after. I phoned all the emergency childcare in the area, private nannies etc, but no one would agree to look after vomiting children. And I was very uncomfortable leaving very poorly children with people they didn't know. I offered to take any additional days unpaid, and they very reluctantly agreed, but were still really shitty, and made a point of emailing all staff to reiterate the rule. It made me feel like I couldn't have a job at all in case the children were ill. I left that school soon after.

CharleyDavidson Tue 26-Jan-16 19:22:59

It didn't go down very well when I phoned in once to explain that DD had chicken pox. My boss told me that I'd have to get something else sorted asap after the initial emergency day off. She did actually say 'or else you'll have to self certify' so I think she meant to pretend that it was me that was poorly. I've heard of other people being disciplined though, if they do that.

When my other DD was hospitalised, they didn't hassle me and it was covered somehow.

woodlands01 Tue 26-Jan-16 19:31:25

I wouldn't lie and say I was ill. The schools I have worked in have been very accommodating when I have needed this support (5 days has been allowed without question in policy). My own sick record is excellent and I haven't felt guilty about taking necessary time off - my husband has taken time off work (as holiday) and has worked at home when children were older to cover and allow me to go in. So only when he has had an important meeting or been working away have I needed to do this.
If you are not being paid then I hope you are not setting any cover...........

Dreamonastar Tue 26-Jan-16 19:35:04

It is difficult, I'm dreading this happening as I'm a single parent and have no one to help. Just hoping they don't get ill!

Rainbowcolours1 Tue 26-Jan-16 19:39:35

This is always difficult and heads are stuck between a rock and a hard place. There is no entitlement to family days or sick days...that is down to the school. Sadly in these times cost is a consideration...a teacher off for week can cost more than £500, and that is with insurance! If teaching staff have a day or two off then that can be £350 plus as insurance doesn't kick in until the third day. I operate on a case by case basis, the staff are helpful and supportive of each other, sometimes extended time off is taken unpaid. It really depends on the school..I'm happy to give time for medical appointments, funerals, weddings, children's performances etc but that's me...not all heads are the same!

veneeroftheweek Tue 26-Jan-16 21:44:24

It is hard isn't it, and I can see how it's really expensive for schools.

Your experience sounds awful padkin! I'm not surprised you didn't stay there.

I honestly don't know what the answer is. I've taken one day previously since September. I've been very clear about the fact that oh and I are sharing the time out of work to ensure one of us isn't shouldering more responsibility. Maybe I need to investigate an emergency nanny, although I don't feel particularly comfortable with leaving a clingy poorly toddler with someone they don't know.

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Fedup21 Tue 26-Jan-16 21:51:37

We have to take time off to look after children as unpaid. If it's more than one week, we need approval from the governors (still unpaid!). I haven't had a day off for the children ever and haven't had a day off sick for over 5 years-the 'return to work' interview after any sort of absence is used as a weapon against you in my workplace, so we all desperately avoid it.

parrotonmyshoulder Tue 26-Jan-16 22:00:10

I have just had to take 2.5 days off with two ill children. DH took 1.5 days (he's not a teacher though). I set work and did PPA at home. Just before we broke up for Christmas we had to share another 4 days for vomiting DC.

My DC are 3&6. No family within hundreds of miles. Nursery for childcare so he can't go there when he's ill. There is no way I would leave them with an unknown emergency agency nanny. It would be awful for everyone! I'd rather be sacked.

No comment on my return so far. I hope I'm seen to work hard enough that they know I'm not taking the piss. I haven't been there very long though. Maybe there will be some backlash.

cansu Tue 26-Jan-16 22:04:06

Thus far my schools have been OK about it. Most school staff are parents too. I still feel bad about it and do my best to find cover when I can, but I don't have family nearby and have children with disabilities. At the end of the day there's nothing you can do about it. If they were to get arsey about it I would phone in sick for myself.

Rainbowcolours1 Tue 26-Jan-16 22:15:03

I understand why people may phone in sick...but please don't. If you are found out it can have serious consequences, as someone pointed out earlier, if found out at the very least the trust has gone.

Noggie Tue 26-Jan-16 22:34:03

Oh I find this so so stressful! My dh and I are both teachers - we end up debating who has the most important day before one of us makes the dreaded phone call! As our girls have got older it's been less of an issue but first few years at nursery were tough going. Hated going back and feeling so guilty sad

veneeroftheweek Wed 27-Jan-16 07:17:52

Horrible isn't it. Not many teaching staff at my school have children so I feel like I stand out even more. I'm sure it's not restricted to schools but in a different job you might be able to use your holiday. I'm dreading the thought of having to tell them ds has chicken pox so we decided last night to get the vaccination.

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