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Managers - WWYD

(81 Posts)
Nunyabusiness Mon 30-Oct-17 19:37:02

I'll outline the facts as put to me by someone I know (not me!) and I'm interested to know what you'd do if you were the manager in this situation. My friend has asked my opinion and I'm genuinely unsure.

1. Friend returned to work after maternity leave three weeks ago. She works a 3 day week (changed from full time) while her daughter is in nursery, the father is not involved and she has very little support
2. Week two, day two she has to leave work early to collect her daughter from nursery as they say she is unwell. She is back at work on her third day of that week.
3. Week three, daughter has had d&v over the weekend so cannot attend nursery from 48hrs after the last episode (this morning) so will need to stay at home and miss an entire working week

She's relayed to her manager who has advised that she can choose to either take the time off as holiday, so as to get paid, or take the time off unpaid. She's asked me if I think this is fair, or if she should demand to be paid? Apparently the company where she works has the discretion to give paid time off, at the discretion of the manager (not sure if it's relevant but the manager is fairly young, unmarried and doesn't have children)

I don't know what I think. On one hand her circumstances are such that she has nobody else to look after her daughter if she can't attend nursery, so I really feel for her. On the other hand she's not been back at work for a month yet so to ask for a paid week off seems a bit like a piss take.

Scarftown Mon 30-Oct-17 19:41:44

As a manager. I would off the same. She can either take it unpaid or three days annual leave. I sympathise with her situation but it's not fair on over non parents if they get extra days paid when they are not in the office.

We have the discretion to do a couple of days like that but I tend to save it for the exceptional circumstances; bereavement, moving house, emergency days off to deal with the house falling down around you etc

Scarftown Mon 30-Oct-17 19:42:09

* offer

EggysMom Mon 30-Oct-17 19:44:19

Speaking as a manager, I sympathise that she is a single mother with nobody else to care for her daughter - but that is not her employer's fault. They have an expectation of a person working in return for receiving a wage.

Allowances can be made for occasional absence, and that is normally done by granting an occasional day of paid "emergency" leave but not longer - annual leave, or unpaid leave, are the options after that point. She needs to find out what is the norm for her employer.

topcat2014 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:44:34

We don't offer extra days 'paid' apart from bereavements etc.

We do permit time off unpaid in emergencies, or annual leave at short notice.

We are a small employer, though, and big institutions may be different.

daisygirlmac Mon 30-Oct-17 19:45:44

I’ve also got discretion to give paid days off but I wouldn’t in this case. I would have said she could do holiday or unpaid as well, I would have sympathised but a lot would depend on your friend’s attitude! If she was sorry and genuinely didn’t want to take the time off I would be happier than if she demanded the time off paid. That sort of attitude 3 weeks back from mat leave wouldn’t endear her to me.

DancesWithOtters Mon 30-Oct-17 19:47:45

At their discretion would apply to funerals, bereavements, house burning down etc.

Bog standard to take AL or unpaid in this instance.

allthegoodusernameshavegone Mon 30-Oct-17 19:48:28

As a manager of a small company, we would pay as holiday allowance or unpaid if she doesn’t want to use up holiday. This is totally acceptable practice.

frenchfancy17 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:51:40

She needs a plan b.
She's 3 weeks into work and already taking time off.

FadedRed Mon 30-Oct-17 19:53:14

Annual leave first, only unpaid leave if no annual leave left to take.
By giving paid or unpaid leave for anything less than dire emergency sets a precedent for other workers to take the piss

QuiteLikely5 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:56:38

So unlucky! She needs to suck it up unfortunately.

I would ask for half leave and half unpaid

AlternativeTentacle Mon 30-Oct-17 19:57:24

Why should she get more paid leave than any of the other staff is the main issue. Unless a major emergency has occurred, giving her a week paid when she hasn't been back for a month yet isn't going to particularly encourage them helping her out next time is it?

Looneytune253 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:57:32

Of course she shouldn’t be paid if she’s not working???? Why are some people so entitled. It seems like they are being very understanding so far.

Walkingdead11 Mon 30-Oct-17 19:59:06

Wow no wonder working single mothers struggle so much! Sorry but must point out that some of us have NO ONE to help us!! Can't win if we try to work and can't win if we don't work. Kids get sick and surely thry are more important???

ButtMuncher Mon 30-Oct-17 20:00:06

Totally normal to have unpaid leave for children being unwell. I've had to take a few days as my son was contagious with hand foot and mouth, and annoying as it was, it's standard. I was offered annual leave or unpaid, simple really.

Nunyabusiness Mon 30-Oct-17 20:01:09

Thanks all, unanimous consensus that she should not be paid then, it seems.

She really has been very unfortunate with her daughter's sickness, but they do say that kids catch everything going when they first start nursery, don't they? Hopefully this will be the last of it for her.

I agree that paid time off could set a dangerous precedent, but for some reason I didn't feel I could verbalise my opinion to her - good to know I wasn't being a total cow x

StealthPolarBear Mon 30-Oct-17 20:01:17

Well of course but why does that mean pay for no work?

Mupflup Mon 30-Oct-17 20:04:12

We would offer the same. I do have the discretion for it to be paid but like others have said above it would be offered (and the key word is offered given it's at employer discretion and there is no right to it) in very serious circumstances and usually one day only. We have a policy to deal with leave for looking after a sick child under normal circumstances and it's annual leave or unpaid. SIBU!

LadyWire Mon 30-Oct-17 20:09:16

Quite standard to not be paid in this circumstance. The rule at my work is 1 paid day per year, after that it's unpaid.

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 30-Oct-17 20:11:37

Annual leave or unpaid leave here. Would she be able to work from home at all with a laptop and phone? I would offer this as an alternative, so if she managed to do 3 hours work while her daughter was asleep, she would not need to take leave.

WalkingDead - what would you suggest? DD1 is severely asthmatic. I used to put aside 2 weeks annual leave every year for when she was off sick or ended up in hospital. Work were clear that it was either annual leave or unpaid - why should I get more benefits in life he way of leave than another member of staff, just because I have children?

BenLui Mon 30-Oct-17 20:14:10

Walking I feel for the woman in this case, it must be stressful and difficult but you must see that offering staff paid leave every time their children are ill isn’t sustainable for the company?

What if the whole team or half the team was made up of single parents?

What about employees with responsibilities for elderly parents?

Companies generally try to treat their staff well but they still have to make money. “Discretion” means exceptional circumstances, emergencies not normal illnesses.

AlternativeTentacle Mon 30-Oct-17 20:15:56

Wow no wonder working single mothers struggle so much! Sorry but must point out that some of us have NO ONE to help us!! Can't win if we try to work and can't win if we don't work. Kids get sick and surely thry are more important???


StealthPolarBear Mon 30-Oct-17 20:16:46

Actually I don't think my kids are more important to my employer than delivering their objectives

Mumoftwoyoungkids Mon 30-Oct-17 20:17:27

We get a week’s paid “emergency”leave a year but I work for a company with very good benefits generally. I think this is very rare. (And to be fair - my pay level is well under industry average for the rule.)

FlappyRose Mon 30-Oct-17 20:19:51

Unpaid leave only here. In the past I would have offered annual leave as an alternative but stopped as some members of staff abused it - taking time off to look after unwell children when their requests for annual leave had already been declined as we were at capacity. This was putting unfair pressure on other members of staff who were in the office. It’s a shame, but now it’s unpaid only.

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