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Stage 1 Absence meeting with head. Need advice.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by tjmr22395, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. tjmr22395

    tjmr22395 New commenter

    Hi All,

    I am in my second year of teaching and next week I have a stage 1 absence meeting with my head as I have 6 leaves of absences in a 12 month period which equals to 9 and a half days (two of the absences are just for an hour each however still a period of absence).

    The reason for half of these absences is because last year I was an egg donor for a family member and needed two days off for appointments e.g. injection training. I also needed a week off as I got a nasty infection after the egg retrieval and was in the hospital for a few days recovering. The frustrating thing is I planned the egg retrieval to be in the Easter holidays so I didn't need any time off but obviously I got the infection afterwards!

    My department and line manager knew about this egg donation however I have no idea if the head knows.

    The other three leaves of absences are genuine sickness and compassionate leave reason etc (they in total add up to 3 and a half days).

    Do you think I have anything to worry about or is this just standard protocol? Obviously, I will explain to my head that the IVF treatment is now over and I will not be needing any more time off for IVF appointments. Can anyone offer any more advice?

    My main worry now is if I need time off for my Grandfathers funeral (he has been receiving an end of life care so doesn't have long) will this get me into more trouble?

    I would just like to point out my head is lovely and very supportive I just haven't been to anything like this and I'm nervous about it!

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Sickness absence and leave of absence to attend a funeral are separate issues.

    Have a look at the school's sickness policy. It probably has automatic triggers, 'X' number of days off and you have a review with the head/HR about the reasons for your absence. it's supposed to be a supportive meeting, so that the employer can understand your health issues and ask if there are things the employer could do to support you. In practice it can feel like a disciplinary investigation from some heads! Does the policy allow you to be accompanied by your union rep?

    Leave of absence for funerals is not a right. There should be a school policy about leave in term time, have a look at it. It probably says it's entirely at the head's discretion. When making a request it's always a good idea to 'bring solutions not problems' and explain how your teaching will be covered if you are given the day off, preferably without the school incurring supply costs.
  3. tjmr22395

    tjmr22395 New commenter

  4. tjmr22395

    tjmr22395 New commenter

    Thanks! I have hit two out of four trigger points one is having 6 or more days off in 12 months and the second is 8 or more days off in 12 months. Thanks again. It hasn't mentioned in the letter about needing a union rep ... do you think I should do that even though they haven't stated I need one?
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    With good reasons for the absence and the fact that it's unlikely to recur, there shouldn't be an issue - and as you say, you'd done your best to avoid the egg donation impacting on work. The chances are that all will be well, and that the meeting will just enable a box to be ticked.

    An alternative to taking your union rep to the meeting might be to take a colleague - your line manager would be the obvious person - they're clearly supportive, and it gives a second person without the formality of "bringing the union". Even if policy doesn't entitle you to take someone, have a quick chat with your line manager, who might clear the way. I was once apprehensive about a meeting with the head, and rather than me asking, my union rep popped in to see him and told him she would be coming with me to the meeting.

    As for your grandfather, if the meeting has been friendly then I'd mention it at the end of the meeting - it means the head is forewarned - and if they say now that they would be happy for you to go, it's one thing less to worry about when the end comes.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's perfectly routine. School policy will insist upon it. If they weren't to do so they'd be in breach of their own policy!

    Don't worry.

    • You weren't skiving.
    • You had kept your line manager etc in the loop.
    • You planned as best you could around the egg donation.
    • Hold your head high.
    • I'm fully persuaded there's nothing to worry about in terms of your professionalism or health or any need to make any changes. Just the luck of the draw this last year.
    • Don't feel defensive. Don't become agitated.
    • Smile your way through it. You've done nothing wrong and you don't represent a health time-bomb who's going to cause timetabling problems.
    • Take someone if you want but I don't think you'll be in for a roasting.
    Don't worry. Routine.
  7. tjmr22395

    tjmr22395 New commenter

    Thanks for the advice, my family member has ten eggs in the IVF freezer for future use so it will definitely not be happening again! I will definitely mention at the end of the meeting about my Grandfather so they are pre-warned. My line manager has told me not to worry and she doesn't think she needs to be there as the IVF treatment is all finished and done with so should be a relatively short meeting and as the head is approachable it won't be a problem and the other 3 and a half days were genuine sicknesses.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Maybe speak to her again and ask if she can come with you because you are worrying. That you'd like her there for emotional support, even if it isn't strictly needed.

    Or maybe ask her to have a word with the head beforehand and let them know about the egg donation.

    Sounds like you work in a lovely school, so don't shoot yourself in the foot by making a big deal about something small.
  9. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I worked in a school where a colleague who's had five weeks off for knee surgery was invited to a stage 1. It's procedure. Don't stress.
    mothergoose2013 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. Fleecyblanket

    Fleecyblanket New commenter

    I suggest you read your attendance policy. If this is a stage 1 formal attendance meeting, then I suggest you get in touch with your union rep.

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