Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Letter

Every day this week I have said I'll do it. Every day this week I have chickened out.

The letter is written.

It sits patiently in my desk drawer waiting to be delivered to my boss.

It is clear, and slightly more formal than my normal missives.

It includes choice phrases like "seven and a half years of service", "exemplary sickness record", "endeavoured to ensure my work has not suffered", and my particular favourite "emotionally destabilising time."

It refers to the closest concession to my situation that I can find, after hours of trawling Human resources' website:

Discretionary Leave my be granted on medical or compassionate grounds or in the interests of ensuring the domestic life of the member of staff remains stable.

The letter requests 6 weeks unpaid leave for the duration of my next IVF. I have worked out when the least disruptive time would be for me to take this leave, it means waiting a bit longer than I'd hope for round three (until October / November) but, if it is granted it will be worth the wait.

I am quite scared.

I don't know why. The worst he can do is say no, the best is say yes, and there are various middle-ground concessions that would still make my life a little bit easier.

I am certainly not going to be sacked for asking.

Am I?


23 comments:

  1. It is def worth an ask. I will be asking for some time off for my next IVF. All of my IVf so far has been in my holidays, but I would have run out of holiday days by next IVF.
    He can only say no!

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  2. I love this idea! I've often wondered how women who work full time manage fertility treatments ( and the stress) while working full time. I hope it works out for you to take some time around your next cycle!!!!

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  3. I agree-you must ask; and the sooner you can do it, the more time it gives your manager to plan for when you're out. Easier said than done, I know. Good Luck!

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  4. I think you're doing the best thing (for you). I spent *years* slaving for my company, it took it;s toll on my marriage. my health and my more productive baby making years. In the end the health a better, marriage better and had a baby - but all by a narrow thread. I was lucky, very lucky. When I die I won't regret the job/company loss in my life - but I'll always regret the time I didn't concentrate on the more important matters. You take care of yourself first (physically & mentally), you need it and you deserve it. Ok, rant done. Good job!

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  5. Go for it, Liz. No harm in asking at all - and, you're right, it's good to be ready with compromise deals. I bet they love you, for another thing. Who wouldn't?

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  6. I spent my time in the UK working European HR - if there is a discretionary leave policy take full advantage of it. We had an IVF policy so entitlements were clearer but they're unlikely to deny you the time.

    Look put it this way - they would rather give you time off now then have you go off on extended stress leave later. I'm fuzzy on the legalities after so long out of the game but we (a multinational technology company so very much in the private sector) were paying a small fortune to extended stress claims and would do anything to avoid them, this is exactly the kind of letter that would send us into hyper alert (which is good for you).

    Get it sent, copy HR. I personally think you're nuts going for unpaid but it is more likely to get accepted that way if there is no clear policy for compassionate leave - ours was at a percentage of normal salary for x number of weeks on a sliding scale.

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  7. The UK is screwed to the wall by EU regulations as well - might be handy scouring a few government and EU employment law type sites to be sure where the company responsibility lies - that way if they say no you have recourse. Might piss off some people but hell paying for IVF pisses me off so as far as I'm concerned they can go do one ;-)

    Seriously though Liz, know your rights and work the system. Your mental health is worth so much more.

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  8. I think this is a wonderful idea and very much deserved (in fact, I think you should be paid). You certainly won't be fired... I don't think they can unless the UK has drastically different employment laws.

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  9. Good luck! It is definitely worth a try. I hope it works!!

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  10. If you don't ask, you don't get is an oft used phrase of mine. Best of luck.

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  11. Sorry, my punctuation was sadly lacking in that last comment, should have read "If you don't ask, you don't get" is an oft used phrase of mine.

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  12. Deliver it Liz.
    XX

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  13. I can't think of an earthly reason why you shouldn't ask. I mean, hell, I think you deserve the leave PAID. Won't cross fingers, they're jinxed, ghastly little digits, but am wishing-hoping-thinking-good-thoughts.

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  14. Good luck Liz! I hope it will go over well, and you'll get much-needed time off.

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  15. Good for you. I went part time and changed my job role to one where I didn't have to travel and could be home every night before my successful ivf cycle. Some things in life are so much more important than work.

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  16. Sounds like an awfully good plan to me. Hope your boss is understanding and compliant!

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  17. Go for it Liz, it'll be a lot easier than you think and you'll be so relieved when you've delivered it. Then it's over to them and you can just wait for the decision, which should certainly be in your favour as it's a very reasonable request! xxxx

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  18. Liz, completely off the subject. Did your mom name you Elizabeth? If so was it after the queen? Dumb question, but inquiring United States minds what to know. Have a great weekend and positive thoughts on the answer to your letter.

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  19. You will never regret asking. IVF is so hard and I can tell you from personal experience that it's difficult to give you all at work while doing IVF.

    I wish you the best.

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  20. I don't think you can be sacked for asking. And I think you're smart to ask. This is hard. This is unspeakably, indescribably hard. And the more time that passes - the more cycles we rack up - the harder it gets. It's cumulative. And it chips away at everything: our sanity, our relationships, our very selves. To my mind, you are not only fully within your rights to ask for this time off, you are being wise in doing so.

    I was also filled with anxiety when I asked for a leave of absence. It's so easy to think of all the reasons why a)it may be rejected, or b) people may judge you/tell you to deal with it/etc. What I found - and what I hope you'll find as well - is that people were much more compassionate and understanding than I'd expected. Good luck, Liz. I'm thinking good thoughts.

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  21. No - you would not be sacked! That would be very strange grounds for dismissal!

    I think it sounds like a very well considered proposition. If you offer to train up a new person so your workplace isn't disadvantaged then it shouldn't be any skin of their nose.

    Plus it gives someone else the chance to get a toehold into your workplace/get some work experience which is always very attractive for those in the job market.

    Good luck! - keep us posted on the outcome of your letter.

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  22. I'll be controversial and say of course they won't fire you for asking, but also that this was totally not the right option for me (of course it may be for you). I have a very full on, high stresss job, and I took 3 weeks off for my first cycle. It was dreadful. I sat at home twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the clinic to call. I obsessed about every little twinge and pull. And of course that cycle didn't work (and to be clear, I'm sure the leave neither made it fail nor made it more likely to succeed). So if you do take time off, do make sure you have some fun things planned for it - just being at home is likely to be not so great.

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