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Help with carers' rights please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Iona54, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. Iona54

    Iona54 New commenter

    Work as a TA and will need to ask for two days unpaid leave every three weeks - husband to have final attempt at slowing down his terminal cancer. It has to be two days, travelling a fair way to see oncologist one day (Monday) then chemo delivered (Wednesday) and there is no way around that schedule.

    I've been looking at the school Absence Policy for carers but this only seems to cover emergency time off. I always thought I would be protected under the Disability Discrimination Act and have a legal right but it would seem not so. I'm a member of Unison but I can't seem to find a straight answer on their site either.

    Should mention, current workplace is not the happiest place to be ........ Any advice greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    I don't know Iona, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your circumstances. I do hope the school can be sympathetic and that your husband's treatment is as successful as it can be.
    Have you spoken to your Head teacher yet?
  3. Iona54

    Iona54 New commenter

    Thanks for replying. Will need to say something tomorrow.....
  4. stmha

    stmha Established commenter

    The school should have a policy on compassionate leave and absence in general. That has to be your first port of call.

    Contact your unison rep asap rather than rely on the website. Have you approached the HT
  5. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    It's the Equality Act 2010 now. The Disability Discrimination Act no longer exists.

    Is this not covered under compassionate leave in your school handbook?
  6. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    And I'm sorry to hear that your husband is so ill and I hope you get something sorted.
  7. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Is there a specific length of time that your husband will be having this treatment, so that you can tell the school how many days you would need? Mr F has sessions on two days a week every month, but there is an end plan to the treatment.

    Sorry you are finding yourself in this very difficult situation..
    ilovesooty likes this.
  8. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Sorry to hear this news.

    The answer may well lie in whether you want (need!) paying for the two days. If you can survive on 3 days pay per week, your head would probably not refuse. If not, it is the possible duration of this that may put off any grating of full pay (sadly I don't think compassionate leave covers this situation.)

    As heartless as it sounds on paper, the other option would be for the hospital to arrange transport for your husband so you can still go to work (although I am very much aware you would want to be with him during the treatment.)

    Of course, there are those that would outright go off sick in this situation, although this could not be condoned!

    Hopefully you can find a workable solution.
  9. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Iona - I really just wanted to send you some of my energy to aid what is invariably going to be a tough time for you.

    Firstly - I think it commendable that you are requesting the time off 'unpaid'. I have had a colleague who went through a similar situation for 6 months, and as a school we felt the most supportive thing we could do was to offer the full complement of paid compassionate leave that we could.

    I would suggest putting your request in writing. I would outline the schedule for your husbands treatment and explain clearly why you require the two days a week leave and the duration that this might be the case. Be business like in your communication rather than emotive, though I perfectly understand this is an emotive time. I would certainly go as far as to state that you are concerned that managing this will be stressful and difficult and that you really would like the support of your employer at this time to enable you to manage your career, which you value highly, with being a carer at this challenging time. I am sure your employer would rather support your request for unpaid leave than find themselves with an employee off on long term stress leave….
    ilovesooty likes this.
  10. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    What DaisysLot says is very valid, get your full entitlement of paid compassionate leave before it becomes unpaid, although I am very much aware that in these situations you would probably forfeit the money to have your husband well again! The Universe can be a right ba$tard................
  11. Iona54

    Iona54 New commenter

    Many thanks for all the replies - have just been getting my head around different solutions - have come to the conclusion that I might just need the treatment day off. For the last couple of years time off to go with him for results, new treatments etc. has been unpaid anyway, so I've got used to it! Unfortunately, the whole ethos of the school (employee wise) has changed recently and not in a good way....
  12. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I am sorry to hear about your experiences too and wish you both well.

    The decided cases on associative discrimination are complicated and I would not want to give you the wrong impression, based on what you have been able to post here. However, the case of Price v Action-Tec Services, [2013] EqLR 429, Employment Tribunal, seems to consider similar facts to yours and might be helpful.

    A telesales executive had just passed her trial period, but was then dismissed after an absence from work related to her husband's leukemia. The tribunal said the employer made a stereotypical assumption that, because of the disabilities of (herself and) her husband, the claimant would be an unreliable and under-performing employee. Accordingly there was direct discrimination.

    Equality Advisory Support Service are the experts in discrimination. Worth giving their free helpline a ring.

    Macmillan Cancer Support is also another fabulous organisation providing excellent suport for people with cancer and their families.

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