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  • FIRST POST
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 2:47 PM
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    sweaty betty
    Need time off - how should I do it?
    • #1
    • 19th Jun 17, 2:47 PM
    Need time off - how should I do it? 19th Jun 17 at 2:47 PM
    I'm suffering from exhaustion (lack of sleep due to children not sleeping) and anxiety. It's been going on for 6+ months and I'm at the end of my tether.

    I've just been signed off work for a few weeks, have been back a week and am still not coping/being able to function. Work have suggested that I need further time off.

    We've discussed this and nominally agreed that if I was to take between now and September off (i.e. from now until end of the school holidays), this might help.

    I think my GP would sign me off again, but I only have a few weeks paid sick leave left. I'm wondering about using annual leave, but that also wouldn't cover the whole period, so looking into unpaid parental leave for the rest of it.

    Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this? I genuinely don't feel up to doing my job (and work are concerned that they don't want to push me over the edge, so support the time off (in fact they suggested it)). But the financial side concerns me as I can't afford take a huge amount of unpaid leave.

    Thanks
Page 1
    • LMG1305
    • By LMG1305 19th Jun 17, 3:03 PM
    • 115 Posts
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    LMG1305
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 17, 3:03 PM
    • #2
    • 19th Jun 17, 3:03 PM
    It sounds like your employers are being helpful with this, which is a good start. Why don't you ask to use your annual leave until it is all used up & then once that is used up get a sick note from your doctors so that you will be on sick leave from that date & will get paid sick leave according to your contract (if they do anything above SSP), then eventually when any extra contracted sick pay runs out you should still be entitled to SSP for a while. The only issue I would say with this is that depending how your holiday year runs in work, you might end up having to go quite a while without any time off which might end up becoming a problem again. Our holiday year runs from January to December, so if yours is the same then you would be looking at 4 months with no time off if you do go back after the school holidays in September.
    Last edited by LMG1305; 19-06-2017 at 3:07 PM.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 19th Jun 17, 4:43 PM
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    sangie595
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:43 PM
    • #3
    • 19th Jun 17, 4:43 PM
    I appreciate that work may be supportive of more time off work, but did they indicate at all that they were supportive of paying you for it? Because the two things are very different things. And why would your doctor sign you off sick again - the issue is that your children are not sleeping, not that you are sick.

    There is clearly an issue here about too little information. Children not sleeping for 6+ months? Why not? Why would a few more weeks solve a problem that hasn't been solved in six months? How much time off have you already had - you mention a few weeks this time, but what does that mean? And what other sick leave have you had? Aiming you use up all paid entitlements, what happens next time you are exhausted and need time off?

    You really need to think through what you are doing here, because a lot can go wrong, and without understanding why this is happening is really impossible to give a good response.
    • PossiblyOverworked
    • By PossiblyOverworked 19th Jun 17, 7:06 PM
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    PossiblyOverworked
    • #4
    • 19th Jun 17, 7:06 PM
    • #4
    • 19th Jun 17, 7:06 PM
    You are in a good position having a supportive employer and if parental leave could be taken genuinely to care for / spend time with children (why aren't they sleeping? Have you visited the doc about that if it's abnormal for their stage of development e.g. babies are up at silly hours but older children generally sleep more) it could be an option..

    Unfortunately company sick pay tends to be a fixed amount and you may or may not be able to use annual leave towards "sick" time depending on company policies (there can also be some unofficial fudging around that!)

    What's the significance of the "end of the school holidays"?
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 19th Jun 17, 7:10 PM
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    Undervalued
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 17, 7:10 PM
    • #5
    • 19th Jun 17, 7:10 PM
    I'm suffering from exhaustion (lack of sleep due to children not sleeping) and anxiety. It's been going on for 6+ months and I'm at the end of my tether.

    I've just been signed off work for a few weeks, have been back a week and am still not coping/being able to function. Work have suggested that I need further time off.

    We've discussed this and nominally agreed that if I was to take between now and September off (i.e. from now until end of the school holidays), this might help.

    I think my GP would sign me off again, but I only have a few weeks paid sick leave left. I'm wondering about using annual leave, but that also wouldn't cover the whole period, so looking into unpaid parental leave for the rest of it.

    Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this? I genuinely don't feel up to doing my job (and work are concerned that they don't want to push me over the edge, so support the time off (in fact they suggested it)). But the financial side concerns me as I can't afford take a huge amount of unpaid leave.

    Thanks
    Originally posted by sweaty betty
    I agree with Sangie.

    Also, in my opinion, you are looking at this the wrong way round. It is great that your employer is being supportive, plenty are not, but you need to be very careful not to push this too far.

    Ultimately if you are not well enough to be at work then your doctor will sign you off sick. That isn't (or shouldn't) be dependant on whether you will get sick pay. Either you are well enough to be at work or you are not. A sick pay "entitlement" isn't there to be used up like holiday. It is more like insurance. You don't crash your car just so that you get value out of your insurance premium!

    Sick kids, let alone ones that simply aren't sleeping very well, are not a reason for you to take sick leave. If they are genuinely ill then you have limited rights to short periods of unpaid leave to care for (very short term) or to make arrangements for them to be looked after.

    Holiday - yes you have a right to all of your annual leave but it is up to your employer when you can and cannot take it.

    If you are signed off sick and your company sick pay has run out many employers will let you use up some or all of your leave so that you still get paid. However, keep in mind that they don't have to. They can insist on you only using leave in the normal way after you return to work. It is entirely at their discretion.

    Be very careful what you wish for here. Your employer's good will may not last as long as you would wish.
    • jobbingmusician
    • By jobbingmusician 19th Jun 17, 8:01 PM
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    jobbingmusician
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 8:01 PM
    • #6
    • 19th Jun 17, 8:01 PM
    I also wonder about a phased return. If it were me, it wouldn't actually benefit me fully to have no work to go to, as I wouldn't be self-disciplined enough to manage my sleeping properly, knowing that I never had to get up at a set time. If you worked 2-3-4 days a week, you would be able to stagger into work on little sleep, knowing that you had the next day off to recover!

    As a therapist would say - how does this make you feel? I ask this because I wonder how much of your exhaustion is actually the kids, and how much is general or work stress. If you feel VERY panicky at the idea of going back to work at all, it's not (just) the kids who are the problem....
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    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 19th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
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    Nicki
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
    • #7
    • 19th Jun 17, 8:37 PM
    The OP is entitled to use parental leave whether or not she or her child is sick and provided both her children are under 18 she can have up to 8 weeks unpaid leave in a year. https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave/overview I think undervalued is confusing parental leave with dependents leave which is indeed intended for short periods of time to arrange care for a sick dependent.

    It's worth having a conversation with your employer OP to see whether they can offer anything on a discretionary basis over and above your contractual paid sick leave. If your children have medical needs which are causing the poor sleep, they may voluntarily give you some extra help. Once you know where you stand, you can make some plans.
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 9:10 PM
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    sweaty betty
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 9:10 PM
    • #8
    • 19th Jun 17, 9:10 PM
    Thanks for your replies, I'll try to answer all your questions.

    My GP signed me off work with stress, exhaustion and anxiety. This is partly caused by work and partly because I've had very poor sleep for over 6 months, I can't function well and am not performing well at work. I've not been signed off to look after my children.

    On my return to work we discussed how, although a break had helped, I was still exhausted. We discussed options for addressing this, including dropping a day, changing role slightly, etc and, suggested by my boss, to take an extended period of time off to try to recharge my batteries. I was supposed to be taking 3 weeks off during the summer holidays (to cover a holiday at the beginning and then the last week of the holidays for childcare reasons), which is where the September end date came from. When we discussed this option I said that I didn't think I had enough paid sick days to cover this amount of time and I would struggle to take it unpaid/SSP. My boss suggested it might be possible to combine sick pay (as I am ill with anxiety and exhaustion), holiday and unpaid parental leave.

    This was a dialogue with my manager, not something I instigated (although I'd love to have the time off) so I was interested in any ideas or experiences people had of combining the different types of leave to make it work.

    It's very possible that it can't be done (at least not for the duration proposed), but I wanted to explore it. I realise that there are risks with using up my paid sick time.

    My children aren't sleeping for a range of reasons. But all avenues have been explored to improve this and so far none have worked. I'm hopeful that it won't be forever, but in the meantime we're just doing what we can to encourage sleep, routine etc. There have been episodes of illness, but I've always taken annual leave to cover this where necessary. I don't take sick leave unless I am sick.

    I would rather not be in this position, my partner feels similar to me and is limping towards the end of term (although he only has a short break, no long holidays!). Unfortunately we have no one to help with the children so it's all down to us.

    I don't know if an extended period of leave will help, but it would allow me to catch my breath and be away from a stressful working environment while I'm feeling so fragile. We've discussed me going back on reduced hours afterwards, but I don't think that would help at this point in time tbh.

    I'm suffering from exhaustion (lack of sleep due to children not sleeping) and anxiety. It's been going on for 6+ months and I'm at the end of my tether.

    I've just been signed off work for a few weeks, have been back a week and am still not coping/being able to function. Work have suggested that I need further time off.

    We've discussed this and nominally agreed that if I was to take between now and September off (i.e. from now until end of the school holidays), this might help.

    I think my GP would sign me off again, but I only have a few weeks paid sick leave left. I'm wondering about using annual leave, but that also wouldn't cover the whole period, so looking into unpaid parental leave for the rest of it.

    Does anyone have any advice on the best way to do this? I genuinely don't feel up to doing my job (and work are concerned that they don't want to push me over the edge, so support the time off (in fact they suggested it)). But the financial side concerns me as I can't afford take a huge amount of unpaid leave.

    Thanks
    Originally posted by sweaty betty
    • Geoff1963
    • By Geoff1963 19th Jun 17, 9:28 PM
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    Geoff1963
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 9:28 PM
    • #9
    • 19th Jun 17, 9:28 PM
    Phased return sounds good. Think of it like building up fitness to tun a marathon every day.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 19th Jun 17, 9:40 PM
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    sangie595
    The OP is entitled to use parental leave whether or not she or her child is sick and provided both her children are under 18 she can have up to 8 weeks unpaid leave in a year. https://www.gov.uk/parental-leave/overview I think undervalued is confusing parental leave with dependents leave which is indeed intended for short periods of time to arrange care for a sick dependent.

    It's worth having a conversation with your employer OP to see whether they can offer anything on a discretionary basis over and above your contractual paid sick leave. If your children have medical needs which are causing the poor sleep, they may voluntarily give you some extra help. Once you know where you stand, you can make some plans.
    Originally posted by Nicki
    No. The OP made it absolutely clear that they did not want unpaid leave as they could not afford it.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 19th Jun 17, 9:43 PM
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    Nicki
    No. The OP made it absolutely clear that they did not want unpaid leave as they could not afford it.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    She specifically said in her OP that she was looking into unpaid parental leave for part of the time!
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 9:47 PM
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    sweaty betty
    No. The OP made it absolutely clear that they did not want unpaid leave as they could not afford it.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    I was looking at unpaid parental leave (as suggested by a previous poster) but couldn't afford to take the whole period/a large amount of time unpaid. So I was/am looking into a combination of annual leave/sick leave and unpaid parental leave, if this is possible.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 19th Jun 17, 9:53 PM
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    sangie595
    I would rather not be in this position, my partner feels similar to me and is limping towards the end of term (although he only has a short break, no long holidays!). Unfortunately we have no one to help with the children so it's all down to us.
    .
    Originally posted by sweaty betty
    I assumed that you were a single parent. Why is it all down to you to take all the time off? He may not have long holidays. Neither do you!

    I would share Undervalued's concerns about this. The manager is supportive (not really the same thing as the employer though!) but there is a point at which they may not be. Being realistic, you are looking to try to find a way to stretch to getting several more weeks off work and paid in full for those weeks. What about your colleagues? Would they perhaps also like several paid weeks with the children? Will they have to pick up your work? This isn't about being unsupportive of your circumstances - it is about the fact that there is only so far that any employer will go. I do understand that the situation with the children is exhausting you, and that is having an impact on your work anyway. But you must also be realistic - as things stand you are not an asset at work, and that makes you vulnerable in all sorts of ways.

    Since there are two parents here, can you not look at your own arrangements. If one has to deal with the children whilst the other one sleeps; and you take that in turns, would that help you to be less tired? Could you both get a few weeks of reduced hours? Or both take some leave of some sort to cover several weeks? With two of you, there is far more flexibility available.
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 10:01 PM
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    sweaty betty
    I assumed that you were a single parent. Why is it all down to you to take all the time off? He may not have long holidays. Neither do you!

    I would share Undervalued's concerns about this. The manager is supportive (not really the same thing as the employer though!) but there is a point at which they may not be. Being realistic, you are looking to try to find a way to stretch to getting several more weeks off work and paid in full for those weeks. What about your colleagues? Would they perhaps also like several paid weeks with the children? Will they have to pick up your work? This isn't about being unsupportive of your circumstances - it is about the fact that there is only so far that any employer will go. I do understand that the situation with the children is exhausting you, and that is having an impact on your work anyway. But you must also be realistic - as things stand you are not an asset at work, and that makes you vulnerable in all sorts of ways.

    Since there are two parents here, can you not look at your own arrangements. If one has to deal with the children whilst the other one sleeps; and you take that in turns, would that help you to be less tired? Could you both get a few weeks of reduced hours? Or both take some leave of some sort to cover several weeks? With two of you, there is far more flexibility available.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    We do take it in turns, but if both children have disturbed nights, we're both up. And even if it's just one, every other night having little sleep has taken its toll.
    It wouldn't help if he took time off, because the problem is me not being up to scratch at work and being exhausted, having anxiety etc. It'll take a lot more than a couple of good nights sleep to fix that unfortunately.

    Re the manager, he's says he's oked the potential time off higher up the chain and that he will manage the workload for people. I have to take his word for it up to a point, but realise that this could put me at an advantage later on.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 19th Jun 17, 10:02 PM
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    sangie595
    She specifically said in her OP that she was looking into unpaid parental leave for part of the time!
    Originally posted by Nicki
    Yes - but only if she couldn't get paid leave - annual leave or sick pay.

    Undervalued quite correctly said [B]"Ultimately if you are not well enough to be at work then your doctor will sign you off sick. That isn't (or shouldn't) be dependant on whether you will get sick pay. Either you are well enough to be at work or you are not. A sick pay "entitlement" isn't there to be used up like holiday. It is more like insurance. You don't crash your car just so that you get value out of your insurance premium!"
    Sick kids, let alone ones that simply aren't sleeping very well, are not a reason for you to take sick leave. If they are genuinely ill then you have limited rights to short periods of unpaid leave to care for (very short term) or to make arrangements for them to be looked after"

    In other words, if you are sick then you can be paid sick pay. That is based on whether you are fit enough to work, not whether your children are sleeping or not. If the children are ill (as in the cause of them not sleeping) then the appropriate leave is dependants leave to make arrangements for them - or unpaid parental leave if you wish to remain at home and care for them yourself (whether they are sick or not). Sick pay is not appropriate for caring responsibilities - and if the OP is too sick to work due to exhaustion, then who is actually caring for the children?
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 19th Jun 17, 10:11 PM
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    sangie595
    Checking with previous posts, it appears that you have at least one child with a disability. Could you not claim carers allowance as a result? That would enable you to make up some of your income if you were to take unpaid leave or to reduce working hours.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 19th Jun 17, 10:25 PM
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    Undervalued
    I think undervalued is confusing parental leave with dependents leave which is indeed intended for short periods of time to arrange care for a sick dependent.
    Originally posted by Nicki
    No I wasn't. I had read the OP's posts in the way that Sangie has explained. It seemed clear to me that the OP wanted / needed time off with pay.

    If they are willing / able to take their eight weeks unpaid entitlement then that is another matter. However, even then I would caution that it may encourage the employer to take a stricter line with any future sick leave. Ultimately a business needs employees to work, not be off for long periods. It is OK to stand on your rights providing you also remember your responsibilities.
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 10:35 PM
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    sweaty betty
    Checking with previous posts, it appears that you have at least one child with a disability. Could you not claim carers allowance as a result? That would enable you to make up some of your income if you were to take unpaid leave or to reduce working hours.
    Originally posted by sangie595
    He's no longer eligible for DLA (which is a good thing as it means his health is improving), so we're unable to get carers allowance unfortunately.
    • sweaty betty
    • By sweaty betty 19th Jun 17, 10:39 PM
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    sweaty betty
    Yes - but only if she couldn't get paid leave - annual leave or sick pay.

    Undervalued quite correctly said [B]"Ultimately if you are not well enough to be at work then your doctor will sign you off sick. That isn't (or shouldn't) be dependant on whether you will get sick pay. Either you are well enough to be at work or you are not. A sick pay "entitlement" isn't there to be used up like holiday. It is more like insurance. You don't crash your car just so that you get value out of your insurance premium!"
    Sick kids, let alone ones that simply aren't sleeping very well, are not a reason for you to take sick leave. If they are genuinely ill then you have limited rights to short periods of unpaid leave to care for (very short term) or to make arrangements for them to be looked after"

    In other words, if you are sick then you can be paid sick pay. That is based on whether you are fit enough to work, not whether your children are sleeping or not. If the children are ill (as in the cause of them not sleeping) then the appropriate leave is dependants leave to make arrangements for them - or unpaid parental leave if you wish to remain at home and care for them yourself (whether they are sick or not). Sick pay is not appropriate for caring responsibilities - and if the OP is too sick to work due to exhaustion, then who is actually caring for the children?
    Originally posted by sangie595
    I think I said earlier. It's me who needs the time off as I'm suffering from exhaustion and anxiety. I don't take sick leave if the children are ill, I take annual leave in that case. The children are in school/nursery.
    • dawyldthing
    • By dawyldthing 20th Jun 17, 12:47 AM
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    dawyldthing
    I looked after my nan for a few years and worked 30 hours alongside it. At times they would ask me to do more and more until I just said I just wanted to work my contract. If you can and they agree it might be worth dropping a day so it gives you time to rest up and catch up (when you go back mind) and make sure your money works for you from bills etc as although you will see a drop in income one day (depending on your wages this is) might not be too bad as 32% at least goes on the various taxes. As if you're working full time and then supporting your family too it's no wonder your burning out.

    One thing I've learnt over the years and an ex collegue said to me is you have to come first and you really do. Put yourself first sometimes.
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