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Hi my name is Karen. I am a carer for my son who has been currently having a hard time and I don’t feel its safe to leave him on his own. I have had too take time off work to care for him. Around two weeks which I have a certificate for from gp. My main problems are financial and also working as I don’t feel my employer fully understands the situation as I have been told I’m putting a massive strain on the team by not going in. At the moment I really have to put my son first. Has anyone else had similar issues and how have they resolved or at least got better.
Thank you

Welcome Karen

You have right’s your employer should not be making you feel guilty. They should be supporting you and so should your collegues.

It’s a very uncomfortable situation. Is there a HR dept.

Hi sunnydisposion
I am not aware of an HR department. Its a care home that I work for. I know how it is always difficult to cover shifts but even having said that I’m disappointed in the response I got. No one wants to take time off especially as we only get ssp so it has even more of an impact on me. My certificate says off with stress but I feel totally unsupported by them. I’m unsure what I should do as I feel it could be difficult for me to go back and it’s increased the stress I’m feeling.
Thank you for the links I will look at them

Really sorry to hear that. With care workers in short supply you might think they would want to keep you and be more understanding?

Depending upon why you need time off for your son, you might be considered disabled by association under the Equality Act 2010 - this means you have the same right not to be discriminated against as a disabled person (disabled can include mental and physical conditions). Some more info in link below. . it might be worth seeing if you can get an appointment with your local Citizens Advice to discuss? Or if you are a member of a union they might be able to help?

In the longer term, what are your plans for going back to work? Are you getting any help to get you into a position where you can leave your son? A local authority needs assessment is generally the first step to getting some help? Is he getting the medical help he needs?

Hi Sally
Thanks for your reply. My son is currently at the stage of hearing voices and is not being well controlled on medication. Crisis team are seeing him daily and think it maybe a while until he is back to how he was. I tried to go back to work but unfortunately it was only for one day. I’ve o ly been off for less than two weeks but its looking like at least another week. It’s very difficult as he’s not safe on his own and it’s a risk that there is a possibility he could harm himself. This is the second time in 18 months that he has had a period of this not being controlled. He has not had a needs assessment done yet.
I hope that when he does get better I can go back to work as I was working full time and my son was independent

In the short term are you able to a least reduce your hours.

I might be able to reduce hours but there is a distance between were my son is and where I work so it would mean leaving him for long periods of time including overnight when he needs me the most. So it’s a difficult situation for me and difficult to come up with a solution

Do I guess that the care home. Doesn’t have other homes nearer to where you live. That you could temporarily or permanently transfer too. Additional, can the care home not offer you alternative duties i.e office base duties.

So sorry to hear that Karen, that must be so hard. The Equality Act says that in order to be qualified as disabled the person has a:

‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.

I am not a legal expert, but I would say that covered your son and therefore you are disabled by association? In which case I would think your employer has a duty to accommodate you. I would absolutely see if you can seek out some legal advice? In the longer term, perhaps you could request reduced hours that avoided night shift etc. The situation is hard enough as it is without having to worry about work and money.

I really hope things get better for you and your son.

The home is in a chain but the one near were my son is doesn’t have good transport links and as I don’t drive I can’t see me getting there. I have tried during the day to get there once was on a training course but ended up paying for a taxi as no transport near it.
Since this morning the mental health service has contacted my manager and explained the situation and given a written report of why I cant work for at least the next week and I have also got a certificate from my doctor.
To be honest it’s stressful as I feel like I’ve had to prove he is unwell as well as already giving in a certifate from my doctor. Is it always this difficult when you are already stressed by the situation and very tired out. It’s like not being believed or maybe I’m overreacting because of the situation I am in.
On the plus side the mental health services and my doctor couldn’t be more supportive and I’m grateful for that

Yes, in many cases it is like what you are describing.Hence many people get stressed and leave employment. Then regret such a move further down the road. Can we ask your age.

My age is 55.always worked in care and until this happened I have hardly had any time off apart from when I had an operation myself around a year ago. I totally get why others have given up work it’s hard having to prove something that to be honest I think is unfair, once you have a doctors certificate that should be enough. I have only had 2 weeks off so far. Many other staff have had longer sick leave

Funnest thing is they made me employee of the month last month because of things I had done at work so I’m finding it hard to understand why

Obviously you are worth your weight in gold. Given your age I would think long and hard. Also considering what you wish for your retirement. Now the Government has moved women’s state pension age. Getting back into the work place after caring. It one of the most difficult things.

They are absolute idiots for treating you this way given you sound an amazing employee and they are lucky to have you. Aside from the human element in treating you like this, in pure business terms they are mad. They risk you leaving altogether and then they are stuck with a vacancy which they will have to spend time and money on filling. And spend time and money on training someone new. Bear this in mind if they continue to be difficult, it is as much in their interests to keep a good member of staff as it is for you to keep your job.

Really glad that drs are being supportive. I think now try and park the work situation and concentrate on you and your son.

Sally thanks for your reply. I’ve been thinking that I’m not going to leave and make it easy for them because I do believe this is the wrong treatment of an employee