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Work is NOT understanding

Does anyone else have problems with work not being understanding if you need time off to care for a sick child? I am allowed 5 days per year to cover all of the following: child's medical and/or dental appointments, appointments at the child's school and care for a sick child. I've gotta tell you with the way things are now I burn through those 5 days FAST. Once they are gone I'm expected to use my holiday time. I would rather take a day without pay, because I would like to use my holiday time for a holiday with my family, but my employer is not supportive of that. So apparently as a parent of a chronically ill child I should just not get holidays.

BTW this type of leave is renewed for me every spring so I have not used all 5 days in January rather I have not had any such days to use for months now.


Staff member
I'm sorry... I know it's tough trying to balance it all! Are those 5 days also considered your sick days? If not, can you try to make arrangements to use up 'sick' time for appointment time?

We (usually) get an annual bonus and, last year, I did speak to my manager and offered to have my bonus cut in lieu of 'appointment' time. Instead, they suggested I use up my 'sick' time (we get 5 days) on an hourly basis (ie 5 days = 40 hours) and if I got beyond that, then we'd deal with it. By being able to just book off 1.5 hours or 2 hours, the 5 days (plus a couple of vacation days) was enough. My husband and I have traded off - I do the doctor appointments and he does the tests. But, even still, between Stephen and, sometimes Emily, I feel I'm constantly asking for a 'favour' by booking off time!

But, it's probably easier for me... if Stephen's just not feeling well, he doesn't need me to stay home with him...

If your employer won't let you take time without pay, can you make up the time? ie go in earlier in the morning or stay late to make up that same amount of time?


Staff member
I'm like you, never get sick... As much as I hate to lie, if I were you, I would just call in sick sometimes... Especially if you're going to be home bcz your son is sick. There not leaving you with many options. Our company doesn't differentiate between sick or appointment days, so I just have to work within the five days! :ymad: Luckily, my managers hv been understanding but, then again, I've managed with the 5 days. But, it is hard! I hate feeling like I'm constantly asking... It adds another layer of stress to an already stressful situation. I've even considered if leaving for a part time job wouldn't be worth it... But, as my kids are older, I keep thinking some of the responsibility will be lifted soon???

But with your son being so young, its hard to understand why they wouldn't be more flexible with you re your sick days! :voodoo:

my little penguin

Staff member
In the us there is FMLA - family medical leave act - sounds good on paper but....
You must work there for a year.
Most make you take ALL of your vacations days ( I assume your holiday time)
Then you have 12 weeks total including vacation time - unpaid to use in a calendar year.

Unfortunately - using FMLA is very frowned upon.

My husband and I trade off ( DS has 6 specialists) so the critical appts I take -routine he does. I schedule as many on the same day as possible . We have four docs one day soon.
DH does the tests mostly.
So even here still have to use vacation time - it just is.
Not that it's easy
I get 6 days a year and 3 personal but they carry over so I have 30 days banked since before he got sick and I can use sick days for him and his appts. No vacation but then I work for the school district at the main offices so I get 3 weeks off in the summer and 2 weeks at christmas and 1 for spring break (they're not paid but I'm not complaining) so I'm lucky I can schedule normal doctor, dentist, eye during those times and not have to take off for them plus I work in the special ed department and they deal with a lot of chronically ill kids so are very understanding when it comes to leaving for that. Took 1/2 day today for his appt. and will take 2 sick days next week for scopes which would use up my sick days for this year.
I don't want to seem negative or anything, but Being that I am a supervisor in the Navy, I have the option to allow my guys to go if something like this came up, but there are limits to this because, how is it fair to the rest of my guys who don't have kids who now have to take up his slack. and if it happens too often obliviously my guys are going to start complaining to me about it and wanting to take random time off too. Recently this happened and I told him I would allow him to go home the first two days then I had to tell him he needed to take leave. While we all get paid salary, if you work hourly wages then it shouldn't be a huge deal. you're only paid if your there, But still an employer still has to depend on you to be able to show up for work and get the job done.

with that said....

A good employer would work with their employees when unique situations arrive. the case above where I had to tell the guy to take leave after I gave him a few days off free, was a father whose spouse was also military and currently deployed. We worked with him and when his son had appointments or sick we were able to accommodate that because the workforce supported him, but if the time he had to take was more than a few days then leave was required to justify that many free pay days... if you understand.

But I really hope you can find a solution to your predicament, and if times were better suggest finding a better employer. but since times are not good. do your best and I hope for the best for you.


Staff member
I say we all go work with Jacqui! ;)

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do... I took a Thurs and Fri off a couple of weeks ago for my surgery and then Stephen had his scopes the next Tues... Being as my surgery was for 'woman' issues and my managers are men, I just said Tues was a fllw up for me and knew they wouldn't ask too many questions. :lol: I still felt terrible abt lying (probably dumb to feel so bad! :lol:) but I know I'm going to have apptmts coming up with Stephen so...

HaroldG - I understand what you're saying... It can be a balancing act for mgmt too.
I am glad you are understanding to your people. My daughter was diagnosed when I was in the Air Force and my boss was not to understanding and always wanted me to take leave for everything, however it seemed like other people got off time when they asked. It was very tough. My husband basically did everything. they did not even want to give me off when she had surgery. It really depends on the boss though. I had some good people and some not good. My first AF commander was amazing and totally understanding of family and family needs.


Holding It Together
Very frustrating when people don't get it. So far I've not had any problem, but I wonder how long the support will last. I get 27 days a year for holidays and PTO. All days off have to come out of this. Sometimes I resent having to take off holidays like Memorial Day or Labor Day because I lose one of my days... but overall I think I have it pretty good.
Not so much an issue for me as I have 7 weeks vacation time si generally I have enough days to cover everything and still have family vacation time bit I have a really understanding boss so it does help. My husbands employer is great also the just let him take the day off for Lucy's appointments- so thankfully for us it hasn't come up but if it did I think my emoter would be understanding. Think it is unfair if your vacation time is limited that you have go eat into it for appointments
My work if pretty understanding. I work two jobs, both half days. I work in a kindergarten class in the morning and they (secretary, principal) will give me a hard time some times, but all I have to do is call my union rep and that is the end of the attitude lol. I have 11 paid sick days in a Sept- June school year. In the afternoon I work in a daycare that is in another school and they are wonderful. They have never given me a single bit of a problem. BUT if I don't go in I don't get paid. I don't have any sick days, because I am only considered part time.
I can't imagine having to worry. Having a child with medical issues is worry enough.
It is so hard! I would call in sick when you know you need to get to appointments, or if your child is really poorly.

I am never off sick for myself. Have had one week off injured in nearly six year and that was through a work related injury (I work with severely challenging autistic young adults!!)
They have let me take a few of my sick days off for my daughter when I have needed to over the last few months.
I agree with Niks, that is exactly what I've been thinking I would do from now on with the school. I think in the 6 years I've been there, I have called in sick MAYBE 6x


Staff member
New York, USA
At my job, I accumulate sick days at 5.25 hours/2 weeks...that time can be used either by myself, or I can take sick in family and that comes out of my sick leave.