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Pregnancy and sickness leave...advice please :)

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by fluffybunnie, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. fluffybunnie

    fluffybunnie New commenter

    Hi all,

    Need some help and advice really.
    Have been teaching in the same school for almost 12 years now.
    I am pregnant with my second child.
    Have been diagnosed with a number of different health problems throughout this pregnancy some of which stem from issues relating to my previous pregnancy, because of this I am deemed "high risk".

    I have been signed off work sick since some time in November, some of this sick leave related to severe HG and more recently due to SPD.

    My due date is the end of June. Was going to take maternity from the beginning of June.

    Last week, I received a letter from HR asking me to attend a meeting to "discuss my on going sickness and to check up on my welfare" as they had received information from my head to say "I wasn't keeping in regular contact."
    (I have had 2 threatened miscarriages so far so admit I haven't been in touch on a daily basis - due to simply not feeling like any contact with anyone - partner and I, have only recently started getting excited and I'm 27 weeks) but I have been sending in my sick notes on the regular (each month roughly) as they have been received from the GP, with an update email detailing conversations with my GP, Consultant and Midwife.

    At first these emails were received from the head with a friendly email back saying "hope you're resting" "thinking of you" "speedy recovery" but these stopped coming and responses to my emails at all stopped. I don't even get a "sick note received thanks" response anymore.
    I can understand the head being frustrated as my illnesses have been pretty much none stop since about 14 weeks pregnant but I really cannot help it - and would choose full health obviously if I could.

    Anyway, I am not really bothered by this meeting at all. Not that I should have to but I can provide evidence of my appointments and can prove that I really am/have been suffering with various problems throughout the pregnancy. If that's what they want. But as the letter came with a "we want to check on your welfare" tone I will not be producing these unless asked for them. I just feel like I am being doubted.

    I have received another letter from HR today.
    Basically its states that my entitlement to "full sick pay" will be stopped soon as I have reached my 100 days full-pay limit and any other sick pay will be reduced to half-pay.

    I have the HR meeting scheduled for - 3rd April
    Current Drs note ends - 3rd April (due in work 4th April - if I don't get another note)
    Entitlement to full pay ends - 5th April

    I really cannot afford to lose out on payments.
    I understand that I will be made to take maternity leave 4 weeks before EDD and this is not a problem.

    At my last Dr's appointment my Dr agreed that if my physio was going well he would consider a reduced responsibilities return to work.
    I have no problem in doing this and although I know I will struggle with being on my feet all day and the constant bending and stretching I feel like I could do with getting out the house a bit.
    I barely leave as I live local to school and have already had sarcastic comments from the head about "parents commenting seeing me out and about" - So I just feel I have to stay home to avoid the drama.

    So I suppose my main questions are -
    1. My entitlement to full pay ends 5th April, I know that new entitlements to sick pay should start 1st April but as I was off sick 31st March won't get a new entitlement (100 full days pay, 100 half days pay) until a return to work. How long after 5th April will my new entitlement to full sick pay begin again? (I'm worried I won't cope at all and should I just take the half-pay on the chin now or attempt a return?)

    2. Will I be entitled to claim full sick pay (if i really struggle and need to) after a period of time even if I am on "reduced responsibilities?"

    3. How mad do you think I am even considering trying to return? (my partner has been going mad - telling me it's not all about money and mine and baby's health comes first. he feels I'm being forced to go back somehow with the meeting, then the letter, the sarcastic comments about being seen out and the lies to HR about "lack of contact")

    Just needed a rant really.
    Any advice, support, people in the same situation (or have been) please feel free to help a girl out!! :)
  2. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 New commenter

    I can't offer too much advice regarding the sick pay as i work in FE/HE and sick pay is completely different. I do know that maternity related sickness is calculated differently to normal sickness absence but not sure if this would affect your entitlement to pay, i suspect it prpbably wouldn't.

    I have to say i completely agree with your partner. It sounds like you have had a very difficult pregnancy to date and although you are having physio for your SPD it is going to get harder the further through pregnancy you get. What i would say is please don't return earlier than you are able to. Financially it may be a bit of a struggle but the health of you and your baby MUST come first. If you are able to go back on reduced hours/responsibilities and you are happy with that and able to cope that is different but do not feel pressured into returning.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Have you talked to your union? You really need their advice and support.

    Is 4th April the end of term? If so, then returning then would only be a for a day in the first instance, and your doctor might feel you're up to that much, pending looking at reduced duties after the holiday. You need to talk to HR about the possibility of reduced duties/phased return - can they get you an OH referral over the holidays?

    There should be no requirement for you to be in touch any more than forwarding sick notes.

    Being out and about - I suspect that 95% of parents understand that there's a difference between popping to the shop or meeting someone for coffee and teaching all day. You'd hope that the head would tell the other 5% to mind their own business.
  4. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    Gosh we are so unbelievably similar! Same gestation and similar amount of time off. I did go back after feb half term for a few weeks but It didn’t work out well. When are you planning on starting your maternity? It really depends on what your doctor says and if you feel you would like to see how you go at work. There is nothing wrong with testing the water and going in to see if you can manage. I’ve done this and managed fine for a little while but the sickness came back and then I’ve had problems with fainting almost every day (also happened at work) and blood pressure. The school weren’t very helpful even though I was trying so hard.

    You would need to go in for at least one day in April for your new entitlement to start. It may be worth going in on the last day before the Easter holidays to organise things in your class ect and see how you feel. Then you can judge the situation after the Easter holidays and see if you feel fit to go back.

    My note runs out on March 31st and I’ve said I would go back on 1st April to see how things go and at least start getting things organised for my maternity leave. I don’t want to leave things everywhere. I’m going to see how the week goes. One day at a time. I won’t compromise my baby’s health for anything. Any complications and I’ll let the doctor sign me off for the rest of the half term before maternity starts. PM me if you need to chat.xx
  5. fluffybunnie

    fluffybunnie New commenter

    Thank you for your response.

    Sorry my reply is late.

    I was thinking of starting maternity leave (officially) on the Sunday before going back after May half term. Literally 3 weeks before baby is due.

    If I’m off sick I really don’t mind starting maternity the 4 weeks before EDD.

    Well I have the Drs tomorrow (where he will sign me off indefinitely if I like it will allows me to trial reduced responsibilities - terms to be discussed) I have the meeting with the head and HR on Wednesday to discuss my illnesses and should return to work on a Thursday. I am at an antenatal appointment on Friday.

    So...this leaves me working on Thursday and with 5 days to do next week before Easter break commences.

    I was going to see how the last 5 days of term go and make a proper decision after the Easter break. I know it seems a little devious, knowing I can always be signed off indefinitely by the Dr if needed but I really do need to test the water - if I cope then all’s good. If I don’t then at least I have a little extra to put away for the maternity leave fund (assuming I’ll jump back onto the full pay entitlement as I’ll have done 7 days at work and 2 weeks over Easter break - all after April 1st)

    I too am refusing to put this baby at risk. Especially after all we’ve been through so far to keep him in there!
    Hope your day is going well today.
    Keep in touch xxx
  6. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    Yes please message/pm me! I’ve also put my last day as the Sunday before half term ends. I will be taking it one day at a time and also testing the water to see how I go. I know it’s a short half term so I’ll try my best. If things get worse again and the doctor wants to sign me off then so be it. My school really do not care about my wellbeing or baby. I’ve been so ill at work and they know it. I definitely won’t return there after maternity leave. Counting down the days now :).xxxx
  7. alicewonders

    alicewonders New commenter

    This post just sounds like my life the last few months. Been off since February with SPD which started at 8 weeks and finally diagnosed at 14 weeks. Tried physio , hydro , swimming , reflexology , pregnancy massage and the other normal remedies but nothing eases that pain does it?

    It seems like school think I’m just at home relaxing , only calling to ask about school related things like if I will definitely be back next April after maternity leave ( go on maternity in 2 weeks). The normal comment of hope you’re feeling better really does get annoying when the heavier he gets , the more painful it becomes to even try and sleep.

    Mental health midwife and psychologist think I have WRS , which seems ridiculous as I haven’t been there in months.

    Sorry for the rant. I just feel constantly anxious about not being at work , what people are saying or thinking and as I live in the area have been avoiding going out even to get food.

    I just wondered how you are all getting on now you’re on maternity? Do you feel more settled ?
  8. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    I’m sitting here with my lovely beautiful baby not giving two f...ks about school ;)xxx
  9. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Replied on wrong thread.

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