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maternity leave dilema

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by m55, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. m55

    m55

    I'm currently 33 weeks and not due to start maternity leave for a few weeks yet. Since going back after new year I've really suffered with my back, shooting pains across bump and pains down my legs. I can't manage being on my feet all day, up and down stairs and chasing (physically) after year 11s who still prefer to chase each other around the room instead of completing coursework (no LSA available). Bubs quite happily kicking / punching me at every given opportunity. Realistically I'm done.
    As I understand it I could get signed off until maternity automatically kicks in at 36 weeks but feel that this would be taking the proverbial. I'm going to be limited to about 18 weeks maternity for financial reasons so don't really want to start this too early. What to do? I have already warned school that I won't get to our previously arranged date, exam classes are all prepared with just revision left to do and I am more than willing to liase with whoever takes over to help them get my joyous coursework group through (will still be in with A-level group during maternity) so, although I will feel guilty about going early I'm not actually leaving the kids in sh*t.
    I am thinking about a compromise - getting signed off for one or two weeks and bringing maternity forward a bit. Do you think that is reasonable? Is it our right to take sick leave until 4 weeks before due date or just a loop hole that the school has to accept? Any thoughts or advice would be really appreciated.
     
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Congratulations on the Soon-To-Be new arrival!
    I am wondering what the school has done to make Reasonable Adjustments (in capitals as this is their obligation) for you?
    When they did their Pregnancy Risk Assessment at about 10 or 12 weeks (they did do one, didn't they?), did they include a bit about monitoring the situation and amending as appropriate?
    Seems to me that THEY need to:
    1) Give you all your classes in one classroom, near the staff room, to avoid stairs as much as possible.
    2) Provide a comfortable chair in the room
    And YOU need to:
    1) explain to the students that this is what you are going to do - sit down all lesson
    2) say that if you drop a pen, or a handkerchief, someone will have to pick it up
    3) tell them that you are going to nominate every day 3 Board Writers to do the writing for you. You can make this task an honour AND part of the review of topics strategy
    4) You can also give them instructions as to what to do if you should start in labour during a class. that will grab their attention!
    You can make your last weeks at school comfortable, useful, and get paid (v important for you too) by this.
    (Mind you, I'm just a man, so cannot guarantee the comfortable bit!)
    Go and see Deputy Head very very early Monday morning. E-mail him/her today if you can
    Best wishes!
    __________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  3. m55

    m55

    Thanks for the reply Theo. I never had a risk assessment (that I was aware of), all very informal, but did get break duty taken off me when requested. I'm a science teacher - lab on 2nd floor - and have classes that need ICT access so the one classroom downstairs was never really an option. My department have been wonderful but there is only so much that they can do to help. In all honesty I think it's a bit late for any adjustments to make any difference - I'm already at the point where I'm in pain most of the time and I do need to finish. Do you think it is reasonable to take the next week or two as sick leave before starting maternity or I am obliged (morally not legally) to just start maternity early?
     
  4. In my mind you are not starting your maternity leave early. Mat leave is leave to have, care for and bond with your baby. Not being physically able to continue work due to pain (and I know where you're at - was same with my LO and this preg better but going downhill now!) is being unwell therefore sick leave is appropriate.
    Dr or midwife may be useful to write a letter to say you cannot reasonably carry on work now.
    Don't feel guilty - sounds like you are doing well, working hard, considering school and kids..... but now maybe time to consider YOU! And your baby - it will be your baby that misses out on the weeks with you later on if you take leave early.
     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    If you are using chemicals then they should have done R.A. with you for that. Dear me, not very much on the ball, are they?
    If you are unwell and unable to work, then you must take time off.
    I am a bit concerned that no-one is making any attempt to help you - I reckon that they could find something easier for you, even if it means that you don't teach your normal classes. Because I am also concerned about your pay.
    So do see your Dr asap to see what advice you get there. Perhaps the school should be giving you short days (on full pay). Perhaps you need to be off completely (on full pay). But just count the weeks and be wary:
    If you are off work because of your pregnancy within four weeks of the expected birth date, your employer can make you start your Statutory Maternity Leave then.
    So you would have fewer paid weeks after.
    Best wishes.
    __________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  6. m55

    m55

    It really isn't the case that no-one has/is trying to help, as I said my department have been fantastic but, in reality, they all have their own timetables to follow so they are limited. As far as chemicals go my techs have let me know what I can / can't use - in many cases they have worried more than me and had to forbid me from using certain things! With regards to other help, really don't know what I could have asked for.
     
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    A proper risk assessment!
    Good luck with whatever you decide.
    __________________________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars
     
  8. If you aren't well then you need to be signed off, I wouldn't worry about being signed off until your maternity leave kicks in at 36 weeks. By taking your maternity leave any earlier, you will have less time with your LO afterwards, and your LO may be late giving you even less time. There are times in teaching where you have to put you first and this is one of them, and the vast majority of heads would be supportive of this. Don't feel guilty easier said than done I know and you are not taking the proverbial by being signed off. I know you said you are limited to 18 weeks, but don't forget you are entitled to 10 KIT days on full pay which can help you eek out another couple of weeks on maternity pay.
     
  9. Dont feel bad about getting signed off if thats what you need to do. I was signed off at 34 weeks as went into preterm labour (luckily baby didnt make a show and is still inside at 40+5) and then mat leave started at 36 weeks. I was due to start mat leave at 40 weeks, on the 3rd Jan. I am worried about money as obviously have had an extra4 weeks on mat leave and baby still not here. However, at least baby and I are healthier than we would have been had I not gone off. You need to put your health first, and not think about school or what people think. Thats irrelevant right now. The doctors will sign you off without a question, especially as you get later into your pregnancy. People get signed off for much less, if you can cope with the financial side of things I'd do it. Best of luck.
    Houston
     

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