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Time off with sick child

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by minniewinnie, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. a week or so ago, I had to take a day off as my 18-mont-old daughter had a chest infection. She was quite poorly so I really didn't want to send her to nursery. Her grandmother looked after her for 1 day and I took the other day off. My Head told my HOD that I needed to "sort my childcare" as he couldn't pay people to be at home. I was quite upset. I've just changed schools and in my old school this would never happen. Does anyone else have this problem?
  2. a week or so ago, I had to take a day off as my 18-mont-old daughter had a chest infection. She was quite poorly so I really didn't want to send her to nursery. Her grandmother looked after her for 1 day and I took the other day off. My Head told my HOD that I needed to "sort my childcare" as he couldn't pay people to be at home. I was quite upset. I've just changed schools and in my old school this would never happen. Does anyone else have this problem?
  3. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    I'm afraid your Head is completely within his rights to clarify that point.
    You are entitled to time off for emergencies; so, for example, had it been the first day of her illness, unforseeable and you'd not been able to get anyone else in, then you'd have been entitled to a day's UNPAID leave. After that, you don't even have that right in law.
    Although it might seem harsh, why should you be entitled to paid days off to care for your family?
  4. Perhaps you should read more carefully....I didn't once suggest in my post that I wanted to take PAID days off. As far as I was aware, teachers had a right to take time off in the event of child illness. It was indeed unforeseeable that the second day of illness would present me with no other alternative than to look after her myself.
  5. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Hi Minnie,
    Although it might sound harsh, Tafkam is essentially right. Obviously, when you first find a child is ill, it is very short notice and you need to be there to look after them. But beyond that, you have to plan ahead...it is forseeable that they might not be better next day, you have to plan ahead
    Otherwise, the system would be subject to widespread abuse...phone in, 'oh my child's ill' and not turn up for work.
    There have to limits, hopefully fair and reasonable to all. Teaching isn't like working in an office, where your work can sit on your desk till the next day...someone has to cover those classes and that costs money!!! And your head needs to do the best by those kids...which presumably is having you in front of them.
  6. I have read some docs on this now, which state that most schools give up to 5 days leave for the care of dependants. How helpful for you to explain to me that teaching isn 't like working in an office. I've been a teacher for 8 years, and I'm more than aware of this.
    sbrown1604 likes this.
  7. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Which documents are these?
    Schools will have differing policies on what they allow, and what they will pay for. But the essence of what MarkS and I say is the law: you are allowed to take unpaid leave for emergencies with dependents, but the expectation is that you will make arrangements on day one for if the illness continues.
  8. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Full information on the legal entitlements regarding parental leave here...
  9. In practice, it is not always possible for employees to make 'alternative' arrangements if a dependent is ill. While the ideal 'reasonable' period might be one or two days, in practice, you may need more time than this. An alternative to Dependents' Leave, might be to request you use some of your entitlement to parental leave (if your child is under five). This is also at your Head's discretion, but should not be unreasonably refused.
    Most Head's will dislike having to 'make arrangements' for teachers absent because of the illness of their child, but equally, all are well used to this scenario (as are all employers). Most Heads regcognise that accommodating a parent's need to look after a sick child occasionally, means a more dedicated staff who will go the 'extra mile' for them, when required to.

  10. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    As my 2 are now 13 and 11 I am well used to the rules by now, but I still wonder just WHAT one is supposed to do if the kids are ill??????????????
    Is it assumed that there are grandparents nearby? (mine have none within 100 miles)
    or a friend who is prepared to care for your sick children? (I for one would never offer that and i[if too ill for school] my kids don't want "someone else"!)
    .....just what are you supposed to do??????

    Btw: I am fortunate: o/h is sessional FE and can usually arrange classes to fit around our kids when sick - what about others, though???
  11. There clearly is no option for parents in that situation - they simply have to take the time off.
    Most schools, like most other reasonable employers, will allow you to take the time you need to without threatening or cajoling, because they trust that if their teachers are off, it's for a very good, and unavoidable, reason!

  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Every sympathy with the OP. It's hard when a child is ill.
    When our kids were young we joined a scheme called something like Rent-a-Granny. You paid a yearly fee - say £50 - and then got 1 free day of the Granny who came in, looked after the child, cooked meal, etc. Further days (only 1 day per year free) you had to pay for.
    If no-one was ill, you lost your £50, of course.
    It was a good scheme.
  13. You are having a laugh, please don't tell me you believe this! Perhaps you should have said:"they trust that if <u>mos</u>t of their teachers...."
  14. The teachers I know are far more conscientious about getting to work than the private sector workers I used to work with. I think it's a rare teacher who takes time off at the drop of a hat, and an unwise Head who doesn't recognise this.
  15. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    But unfortunately, there will always be some people who will take the p!$$ and will use their kids, or whatever, as an excuse to bunk off work. That's why any employer, school or otherwise, has to have a really clear policy in place to cover all forms of leave.
    As has been said, most schools will give a couple of days. But I've experienced people taking literally a week off school for a teenage child with a cough...in my opinion, unnecessary and taking the p!$$ out of the rest of us who then had to work harder.
  16. It's interesting, isn';t it, that there is such a difference between male and female attitudes to this dilemma. I now realise, that iin the institution I work in now, the only option really is to lie and pretend you yourself are ill. This really isn't my style, and it would never have occurred to me in my old school, but my new colleagues have all assured me this is what they have done in the past. Such a shame. I think that what Heads should bear in mind iis the effect being difficult about a situation like this can have on the teacher in question's morale at work. Such a throw away comment has made me feel really unhappy ar work this, and doubtlessly less motivated. I really sympathise with teachers who have had to endure such conditions over a long period. I'm really lucky this is new to me.
  17. Please!!!!!!!! Sexism and a clich&eacute;. Try not to be so crass!
    As a male parent I ensure that I organise care when the little mites are poorley. When my staff have sick children we do what we can, but there is a line that has to be drawn, after all at &pound;175 a day it ain't cheap! Our policy gives 5 days carer's leave, but I am aware that several staff seem to view this as 5 days for "nowt". Therefore, it comes under the absence monitoring policy and counts as time taken that will be considered within unacceptable absence levels.
    And before you ask, I have had 1 day carer's leave since April.
  18. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    OK, a question: how many days would you allow for each staff member who was a parent?
  19. Can I ask what 'care' you ensure you organise when your children are sick?
  20. Unpaid (which is what the OP was talking about) as many as are required by the member of staff to get their child back into their usual daycare/school.

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