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Working from home in third trimester

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by sdickinson2603, Oct 26, 2020.

  1. sdickinson2603

    sdickinson2603 New commenter


    Any ladies in their third trimester managed to convince their school to let them work from home?

    The NEU are fighting my case, but the school are being pretty difficult.
  2. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    If CoViD is prevalent in your area it might be a nice idea.

    But there's no evidence at all that you're at a higher risk than anyone else. Try to keep the dangers in proportion.
  3. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    We're in a high risk area. Our trust policy is that from 28 weeks all pregnant staff work from home. Nobody has had to fight for it.

    Our school feel that the risk to pregnant women isn't well known enough to take the risk. Also, in 3rd trimester, your lung capacity is reduced which makes covid harder to cope with not to mention the risks to midwives (and the prospect of already being ill!), etc. if you end up covid positive whilst giving birth. Stick to your guns.
    Emr1983 likes this.
  4. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    I will be in my third trimester in the coming weeks, at first my ht was following guidance and said I would be working from home and advertised my mat post to start earlier, but now things aren’t quite as clear and she said she will need to be more ‘flexible’.
    Midwife advised me at my 20 week scan that their staff at the hospital do not work past 28 weeks as you should be shielding as the risks are a lot higher.
    good luck x
  5. lilmisssunshine.

    lilmisssunshine. New commenter

    My SLT casually asked if I’d be working after 28 weeks pregnant, although haven’t said if they are happy to do that ‍♀️. My midwife said that the guidance is ‘wishy washy’ and that she can’t advise me. I’m now 32 weeks and when I went for my flu jab, the nurse asked me why on earth I'm still at work. I don’t really want to work from home but it’s making me very anxious being in school. Especially as some of my class are currently self-isolating as their family members have symptoms. My area is in tier 2 at the moment, if we go into tier 3 then I’m going to suggest working from home to my head.
  6. sdickinson2603

    sdickinson2603 New commenter

    Thank you all for the comments.

    @lilachardy I agree that there is very little evidence of the risks of COVID in pregnant women, however a large study conducted earlier this year suggests that the risks of preterm birth are much higher when COVID is contracted in the third trimester. Also, new evidence suggests that it crosses the placenta. The statistics are quite concerning.

    Also, I was previously on the shielding list for severe Asthma, so my risk of being seriously ill if contracting COVID is much higher than a healthy pregnant woman.

    I feel that there needs to be much clearer guidance, the government line is still “work from home where ever possible”... in March vulnerable people were told to work from home and limit contact, but now we’re told to continue in school as normal? We had ten positive cases the week before half term, and I was told I’m fine because they were sat in the second row!
  7. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    Yes where I live we’ve been tier 3 for weeks now and the rate is still extremely high. My midwife advised me to get signed off if my anxiety gets worse again and if I cannot work from home once I’m 28 weeks then get myself signed off to protect myself and our unborn baby so will be doing that if needed to stay safe x
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

  9. sdickinson2603

    sdickinson2603 New commenter

    Update - despite occupational health, my GP, the NEU and my midwife all writing letters saying I should work from home from 28 weeks, my headteacher is still fighting it.

    There’s been new guidance from the DfE that says pregnant women can continue to work at school, and as my Asthma isn’t severe enough to fall under the CEV category I don’t know what I can do.

    I’m so stressed.

    I can’t afford to get signed off sick, I’ve only been at this school since September so I don’t have many sick days. I can’t afford to start maternity leave this early as I’m just 26 weeks.

    No idea what to do now.
  10. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    How long have you been a teacher for? Is it a state council school? You get sick pay based on how long you’ve been a teacher not how long you’ve been at the school if you’re at a council maintained school. X
  11. lilmisssunshine.

    lilmisssunshine. New commenter

    So, we have half of our classes self isolating. It’s getting really worrying at school. My class are self isolating next week (after being taught for a lesson by a teacher that has tested positive).
    I’ve been given admin tasks for next week to do in school and told that I can work from home for the rest of the week once they’re completed. Then I’m back in with my class.
    I’m now 34 weeks and feel like it’s only a matter of time before I catch it! We have over 10 members of staff with it now. I’ve been told I’ve just got to get on with it
  12. Emr1983

    Emr1983 New commenter

    If you are feeling that anxious then I would advise going straight to your doctor tomorrow. We have had 15 staff test positive within a week of another so it certainly gets around. I don’t know why you’re putting yourself through the stress. Best of luck x
  13. sdickinson2603

    sdickinson2603 New commenter

    Update - occupational health advised I should work from home during my third trimester, as did the union, and my headteacher did a U-turn and followed their advice! Still teaching all my classes but via teams with a cover teacher in my lessons.
    Very happy!
  14. lilmisssunshine.

    lilmisssunshine. New commenter

    That’s great news @sdickinson2603
    They’ve threatened to start my maternity leave ASAP if I go off sick. They ‘haven’t got time to write a risk assessment’ and asked me to cover a class outside of my bubble as we have 30 staff self isolating/ shielding ... it’s absolutely ridiculous.
  15. sdickinson2603

    sdickinson2603 New commenter

    Do you have all of this in writing? I’d get them to write all of that in an email and then take union action.
    They can’t legally start your maternity leave early before 36 weeks. So they’re talking out of their ***** there!
    They also have a legal obligation to give you regular risk assessments throughout your pregnancy. Mine were every four weeks.

    Are you with the NEU? They were fantastic with me! You must get your union involved, you could pursue legal action if they continue to threaten you with early maternity leave.
  16. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 Occasional commenter

    lilmisssunshine they cannot make you start your maternity leave earlier than you wanted just because you are off sick. The rules are very clear. If you are off sick with a pregnancy related illness in the last four weeks of your pregnancy then that would trigger your maternity leave to start immediately but if you were off with food poisoning for example then it wouldn't. I would recommend you complete a risk assessment yourself and then forward a copy onto HR/your line manager and state that as you are pregnant and are required to have a risk assessment carried out and in the current climate you feel this is even more important you have taken the time to complete your own as they have advised you that they do not have time to do one. Make sure you make it clear on there the items/changes to your work that they need to address and state you would like a meeting ASAP to discuss it. In the meantime get in touch with your union and discuss this with them who will be able to advise you further.
  17. lilmisssunshine.

    lilmisssunshine. New commenter

    Thank you both! I’ve spoken to my regional union rep who is disgusted by how they are behaving. He’s forwarded me some risk assessment templates to forward on, they’re general pregnancy ones though and don’t mention viruses/ Covid? He said under no circumstances am I to write my own in case anything goes wrong and then I will be to blame.

    I feel like speaking to my midwife/ gp about my anxiety and stress levels. But again if I go off sick would they relate these illnesses to my pregnancy? I’m not in a good place at the moment :(
  18. SammyBear2016

    SammyBear2016 Occasional commenter

    It might be different in a school but where i work (FE/HE i have written my risk assessments for both of my pregnancies. My College has a template and then you complete it as soon as you notify them you are pregnant and send to HR who will discuss any concerns and get changes to work implemented. I then updated it every month to ensure that it was up to date and gave copies to the relevant people.

    This is a difficult one but it shouldn't no, you might be stressed and anxious because you are pregnant but who is to say that even if you weren't pregnant you wouldn't be stressed and anxious with everything that is going on. Mental health is becoming a bigger issue the longer all of this goes on so it should not be put down to pregnancy, although from what you have said you school might try to argue this. Ultimately it all comes down to what is written on a sick note if you get signed off by your GP. Explain everything and make sure the note is clear that it is not due to your pregnancy.

    I'm not going to say try not to worry or get upset because with everything going on and then adding pregnancy hormones on top of that you are bound to. Get a GP appointment today and see what they suggest.

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