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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Work Issues Experts!

I am a newbie here so first of all a big THANKS for access to this part of the site.

I am feeling a bit cofused and scared as to how to handle work at the moment. I feel I need to explain my position (although you've probably heard all this a million times before) but PLEASE bear with me!!

I have worked for my employer for 9 years. I work in a busy sales and customer service dept. I started as a co ordinator and spent the first 6 to 7 years working my butt off doing voluntary overtime and taking on responsibility beyond my job description (especially whilst the boss was on maternity leave) to prove myself with the aim of promotion in mind.

Just as the dept and business started to grow and we became part of a large international group, I discovered my infertility!!!

Deciding not to try and be a heroine and that honesty is the best policy I told my boss and my director (both female) about my impending IVF and that it was my decision NOT to now apply for promotion and indeed I felt I wanted to drop some of the extra duties I was doing and stay on a level with my colleagues. This was one way in which I could de stress my life in preparation for what was ahead.

Other people have been promoted above me and that is fine - I have helped where I can but the ultimate responsibility is not with me!!!

As was agreed, I have taken my IVF time from my holiday allowance so far and when I miscarried I got a weeks sick note from the hospital. All hunky dory so far. BUT the company are now trying to standardise their sickness policy etc and in addition to this are trying to desparately encourage overtime working as we are SOOO busy!!!

I have already taken 7 days hols for IVF this year and have 4 booked for a genuine hol soon. I have just had a neg result and intend to try again (Ihave 8 frozen embryos from my 2nd cycle). My worry is that I am going to run out of holiday and I may also want another genuine holiday later in the year.

I have approached my boss about the possibility of taking time off unpaid and I can apply for that but it would have to be approved by the director and she has intimated that I could do some overtime to EARN my extra holiday instead!!! Employees who are flexible are looked upon much more favourably!!

I DO NOT WANT TO DO OVERTIME during such a difficult period of my life!!! (I have already sacrificed promotion in favour of putting my energies into trying for a baby).

I understand from other postings I have read that people do get sick notes to cover IVF and that MAY be one way around avoiding being sneaky and throwing sickies for which I will now have to have a "return to work" interview with any more than 3 sickies in a 3 month period resulting in disciplinary action.

It just frustrates me so much that there is no legislation to cover us IVFers where other people seem to be able to get away with so much. Doesnt my honesty in the past and my dedication in the past count for anything??

I'm the one is MOST sorry this hasn't worked so far and I now feel like a burden to my employer.

What do you think???

Love LisaH
 

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Hi Lisa

Just seen your post so thought I'd respond although Nicky and Karen may also catch up with you soon! ;D

Every company is different, you've already given time and been honest to your employer regarding your situation.

If I were you (and I'm not ;) ) , I would request the time that you need, in writing, explaining as you have done to us the background of your situation and how you feel. That way they have all the facts of the situation and your perspective when they are making their decision. They already know your intentions - it's just placing it in writing so it's incredibly clear. I would also say your length of service stand you in good stead.

If the company are reviewing their sick policy, perhaps they could review it with IF procedures in mind because that way at least there is a clear consistent approach ;) and guidelines for everyone in the future - after all - IF affects more people than ever now and you might not be the only one going through this.

It would be very difficult/foolhardy of your employer to use the sickness that you have taken relating to your m/c and use that in disciplinary action against you. Like your company, our company has a sick procedure of 3 times in 6 months, informal chat then disciplinary action on the 4th time in 9 months.

I did 6 IVF cycles in a 20 month period (had 9 years continuous service like you) and I did it as a mix of holiday and sick and was honest with them, luckily they didn't quibble it! ;) I did work extra hours to cover all the appointments I had (clinic not local) which wasn't easy but I did it in the lead up rather than during the cycles.

Can you see if you can be honest and negotiate with them now so that the guidelines for both sides (you and them) are set to start with?

Just some rambling thoughts of mine!

Good luck and yell if you need anything
Sue
xxxxxx
 

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Lisa

Firstly welcome to the boards.

In terms of how you should approach this, I would get a copy of the absence and discipline policies, from the sound of what you say in your post I assume that they are only applying discipline action to uncertificated periods of absence or short term absence.

Unless you are contractually obliged to work an amount of overtime then you can refuse to work it. Are there opportunities for you to do some work from home whilst you are off? It may be a way of not taking sick leave or using holidays and another way of taking your mind off tx? Even if this were only part time, it would avoid you taking time off without pay.

If you have any questions once you have got hold of the policies then do let us know.

Good luck
Love
Karen x



 

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Thought Karen would catch up with you soon too! We were posting at the same time!!!!!!!

Love Sue
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Hi Lisa

I think its great that you were honest with them and have been willing to take hols to cover tx. In my organisation some staff treat their sick entitlement like holiday entitlement and even phone up to see how much they have left to take!!

I think you are wise to save some of your holiday for 'genuine' hols though as these will be so important to your mental and physical health. Whilst your employer has strict sickness triggers it would be genuine absence to take some sick leave around treatment as you are going through medical procedures. Why don't you have a chat with your GP and see if s/he would be willing to sign you off during treatment. Even if its just for a few days it may take the pressure off a bit and save some of your holiday entitlement.

I sometimes feel guilty at the thought of taking sick leave for tx (which I plan to do in the summer) but then always remind myself that I will not be with the company for ever and although it is important to be loyal and honest it is more important to look after yourself.

Sorry - a bit of a ramble from me too!

I hope you get this sorted.

Regards

Nicky
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Dear Sue, Karen, Nicky

Thanks for your support!!

I have had a talk with my Manager which started well (it was after 5pm so I was keeping her behind at work as my hours are different (11 to7 ). The next day she pulled me as I was going to lunch (HA HA!!) and spent 1/2 hr going through the sick policy (which does NOT include IVF).

The policy is a little different to what I thought it would be.

First sick - informal chat
Sick again within 13 weeks stage 1 counselling
Sick again within ANY 13 week period stage 2 Verbal warning on record for 13 weeks
2 periods of sick within ANY 13 weeks - stage 3 Written warning active for 6 months
2 periods of sick within ANY 13 weeks - stage 4 Final written warning active for 12 months
2 periods of sick within ANY 13 weeks - stage 5 Dismissal

This includes short term sickness EVEN if it is certified by a doctor.

IE. I think this is because if you have a debilitating illness they could say you are not fit to do the job you are being paid to do.

I kept my cool and explained at this stage I am just exploring all the avenues. Her view was that knowing me (I am quite thorough at work for which I have been praised in the past) I will dot all the I's cross the T's and I will probably find a loophole and that she now wants me to deal with the Human Resources Manager ( this dept set up about 6 months ago) as this is not part of her job!!!! (Oh Dear!!)

I returned to my desk on time (a colleague who does not know my situation pointed out I had not had a full lunch break - and the Manager asked ME to go into HER office - but I thought I'm not going to let this get the better of me).

I spoke to my Husband and have decided to sit on this for a couple of weeks - after all an appointment might be made for me to see Human Resources (they already know about me but as the dept is so new I have not had a chance to speak to anyone one to one yet)

If this does not happen I will make an appointment to see her for a chat (better to introduce myself first than to just start writing letters) and take it from there.

In the meantime I will probably have an appointment to see IVF clinic about the next step, and I can also see my GP to get an idea of what they could do for me.

Other people are leaving at work for various reasons. Maybe I can use my experience and multi-skills to offer help on other desks of the Dept to show my flexibilty!!! (Flexibility MUST be defined using other things other than just Overtime???)

I will keep you informed.

Many Thanks

LisaH
 

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Lisa, at least you know where your manager is coming from and the policies! I would say that the policy is pretty harsh cos it doesn't appear to cover any disability (you definied as debilitating) and "reasonable" adjustments do need to be made for people with a disability.

Sounds like you have a good plan up your sleeve! Wishing you all the best and if you need any advice please yell!

Love Sue
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dear Nicky

Just read the article from Personnel Today - v interesting!!

I forgot to mention I have been guaranteed 100% confidentiality (only my line Manager, Director (who hasnt really been involved) and Human Resources know about me. All my holidays to be signed off by line Manager (not Team Leaders). All sickness to go via Human Resources who will inform wages BUT paperwork will not be available for public viewing. My file to be kept personally by Human Resources Manager!!!

Obviously people will twig there is something special about me - but they will not be able to do anything about it.

Bye again!!!

Love Lisa
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dear All

Just thought I'd update you. All has been fairly quiet since my last post.

I had my consultation appointment on 8/6/04. It was at 12.00 Noon. As I usually work 11am to 7pm I put in a half day holiday request. This was refused as 3 other people were off at the same time.

I went to see my manager (still have not approached HR direct yet), and she suggested it would look better if I could do a 9 to 5 day, leave and come back to work - we would sort out what would happen when we knew how much time I had taken.

I agreed to this straight away. I incorporated my lunch into the time and ended up owing just one and a half hours. I made this up by going into work early the following 2 days so now we are quits again!!!

In the meantime, while I was off on hols for a week I visited my G.P. who has absolutely no problem with signing me off on the sick between ET and PG Test - But I have have not yet decided whether to use this or try to just work through it.

I think it has already taken the pressure off just knowing I can do this (if I want to).

Feeling a lot better now.

Hope everyone else is ok!!!

Love

LisaHXXX
 

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Hi Lisa

It's good that your manager agreed a different way to work things for you! lets hope the manager continues to be helpful!

however, your gp sounds very supportive, which is handy if you need it!

Good luck
Love Sue
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi All!!!

Just thought I would post an update.  It has been ages since I have been on here and a few congratulations are in order!!!!  I also have a friend who is to meet her future adopted son in between Christmas and the New Year with a view to getting him early Jan.  I have seen the photos and he is gorgeous - 4 years old in Jan.  I love a happy ending!

Anyway, I had a go at frozen Blasts in Sept but it didn't work (only 2 of 8 survivors).  I got to the point where when I took my Preg test day off work I owed them 1/2 a day!!  The attitude was well we will sort it all out when you get back, which was good.

I put a letter in asking for 3 days additional holiday unpaid.  I was told I could have this so long as I pay the hours owed back which of course I agreed to straight away,  particularly as my Manager gave me till Christmas to do this!!! 

Sounds a dream doesn't it?  But of course this is not the way we can proceed into 2005!!

I am currently awaiting a letter which I think is going to tell me that for every day I work at overtime they will let me have a day off unpaid.  I think they are going to let me do this in hours rather than full days (eg Sats and Bank hols).  I think this may work ok.  If I can do 3 hours per week, thats 12 hours per month.  In 2 months I can earn 24 hours which is just over 3 days plus 3 days unpaid (total 6 days) - Thats my week off for tx without eating into hols!!!  I can always use just a couple of days hols for EC and ET.

I will let you know if the letter is what I hope!!

Love to everyone,

LisaH
 

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Hi Lisa

Good to hear from you.

Glad things are working out and your employer is meeting you halfway.

All the best

Nicky
 
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