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  1. #1
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    Default Antenatal Appointments & Work

    Hi,

    It was always my understanding that antenatal appointments (or any medical appointment for that matter) could be considered sick leave if you have an attendance certificate. And my last pregnancy with the same employer this was the case.
    My boss has cracked down on sick leave and is no longer approving sick leave unless you get a certificate that specifically says unfit for work. I have so far only been given attendance certificates and fair enough as I’m not unfit for work it’s just when my appointments are.

    I do try and book appointments out of work hours which is fine for my OB, but my endocrinologist only works when I work so I have no choice.

    Is this normal? I’m going to end being forced to use all my annual leave without actually getting a holiday!

    I will contact fair work too clarify but wanted to check if this seems to be the norm?

    I’m so annoyed about it all, I’ve pulled a sickie today just for a mental health day. This is the first sick day I’ve actually taken in the 18 months I’ve been back at work since DD was born and prior to that I never took sick days unless I really needed them so it’s not like I’m pulling sickies all the time like some do.

  2. #2
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    Bump, anyone?

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    I kind of thought that antenatal appointments were in a separate category, due to them applying exclusively to reproductive rights. I'll do some googling. I may well be wrong.

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    Talk to fair work. Unfortunately as pregnancy isn’t considered an illness, you technically don’t qualify for sick leave. But I personally think it is unfair and I’d be mad if my employer did this!

    So they can make you take annual leave. What they can’t do is discriminate, so if you know anyone else who has been able to use sick leave you could argue that maybe.

    As always, if it was men having the babies this probably wouldn’t be such a problem

    R

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    It's a bit confusing. Human rights. Gov.au website says "When you are pregnant, you are still able to take all your normal leave entitlements like sick leave. Often you can use your sick leave to attend appointments with your midwife, doctor or hospital ante-natal clinic during your pregnancy."
    But fair work says that sick leave can only be taken if you cannot work due to illness.
    I think you should check your award/eba and call fair work to confirm.
    The human rights page does say "often can be used" rather than the broader and more solid "can"

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    And more: this from the Women's hospital Melbourne :
     You are entitled to leave for your antenatal appointments under your normal sick leave entitlements. If your employer does not allow you to attend your appointments this may be considered discrimination under the sex discrimination laws.

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    I would check your award as well as relevant workplace policies on sick leave.
    Is your leave called “sick” leave or “personal leave”? I’m not sure it makes a difference. But it might.

    The Royal women’s hospital website says that not allowing the use of sick leave for antenatal visits “may” be a form of discrimination and to check with the Australian human rights commission.
    The website also says specifically that you are entitled to leave under normal sick leave provisions (although doesn’t state paid or unpaid) to attend antenatal visits. It also says “if they don’t allow you to attend...” it may be discrimination.
    But it doesn’t link to a specific law.

    I would get some advice or try and negotiate. It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to stop you from attending appointments. Or failing to give you time to attend. The issue relates to whether or not it should be paid time.

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    Thanks ladies! My googling found much the same as you wonderful ladies. I plan on calling fair work tomorrow. My leave is actually called personal/carers leave so not exclusively sick leave. The last person to use this leave for prenatal appointments was me which was allowed then (but I could work my appointments around work so wasn’t actually used more than once), but for some reason my boss has cracked down- very frustrating.
    Yesterday’s sick day I used the excuse that I had MS- not a complete lie because I do still have MS but not usually stopping me from working. Today I’ve been asked for a medical certificate, which I said I didn’t go to the doctors for as I can manage that myself so now I need to get a stat dec. It’s an absolute joke to be honest, I’m pretty angry about it.

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    My workplace agreement states our appts can go as sick leave and if we have none left we can use AL leave. I just used to make all my appts for 330 as I finished at 3. I also made all my appts for my entire pregnancy at the beginning so I’d get the times I wanted. My employer also had a copy of my schedule of appts to keep in my file for them to clarify when I’d remind them a couple days ahead of time I needed to finish smack bang on time

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mashie View Post
    Thanks ladies! My googling found much the same as you wonderful ladies. I plan on calling fair work tomorrow. My leave is actually called personal/carers leave so not exclusively sick leave. The last person to use this leave for prenatal appointments was me which was allowed then (but I could work my appointments around work so wasn’t actually used more than once), but for some reason my boss has cracked down- very frustrating.
    Yesterday’s sick day I used the excuse that I had MS- not a complete lie because I do still have MS but not usually stopping me from working. Today I’ve been asked for a medical certificate, which I said I didn’t go to the doctors for as I can manage that myself so now I need to get a stat dec. It’s an absolute joke to be honest, I’m pretty angry about it.
    Is it written down in a policy somewhere? And has it been changed in writing with all employees notified? Or has it been changed specifically for you?
    Was there anyone else before you during your last pregnancy that used leave this way?
    It seems pretty tight to me. It’s a few appointments, that you have accrued leave for. Does he want to reduce your pay for the hour or so it will take to go to an appointment a month? Or whatever it is?
    What about if someone (not pregnant) needs any kind of medical appointment - health check, optometrist, dentist etc? Does this same rule apply. In none of those cases (general check ups I mean not to treat an illness) would someone be unfit for work. So it would be interesting to understand whether it’s pregnancy related specifically (might be discrimination) or whether he’s applying the requirements in the strictest sense, across the board.


 

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