The Man sucks

"When did you stop being The Man, and start being The Man?" -Michael Ian Black on "Ed"

In case the humour isn't translating given that it's really hard to make the distinction in print, "The Man" as in "you're the man!", and "The Man", as in, "The Man is trying to keep me down." Incidentally, Michael Ian Black is the man, I so adore him. Any people who used to watch The State on MTV in the mid 90s? Watching this last week made me all nostalgic. Sigh. Cue silence whilst all of you silently wonder what the fuck I'm on about this time.

Anyway, The Man has pissed me off last week. I was under the grossly incorrect assumption that a working parent is not penalised when one must stay home with an ill child. Now, I am not the type who expects to be rewarded for shooting a baby out my vajay - millions of women do this every year and remain mere mortals. However, however, I do expect there to be some sort of system in place which understands that I am an employee and a mother. As these two events are not always compatible, some flexibility may be required.

P came down with a fever early in the week, and though The Dude and I are 50/50 parents, my part of looking after P still meant I had to take two days off work. I stupidly assumed that it would be classified like a sick day of my own - paid. Go on, laugh at my ignorance and naivete. Americans may scoff at such a notion, but the US screws workers all the time, parents or not. Britain treats their employees far better. For instance, I get 27 days of annual leave (vacation days in Yankspeak) not including university holidays, and my maternity leave was more than gracious - 12 months off, the first 6 months paid in descending amounts. We even get 13 weeks of parental leave for use with each child up to the age of 5.

All of this gave me a false sense of security as far as my employer's attitude toward working parents was concerned. Some may say that UK workers are gifted enough as it is based on the information provided above, but I'm pissed off at how they are accommodating up to the point where you need to return to work. Surely that is when you need the most support?

I do have three options. I can take the leave from my flexible working hours (additional hours I have accrued working overtime), as unpaid leave as part of the Time Off for Dependants, or as one of my annual leave days (paid). I can be paid, but that means cutting into my own well-deserved leave, or I can not be paid and just bite it. Hmph.

It's a selfish and arrogant viewpoint to be sure, but I am doing my employer a favour. I have come back to work full-time, thus preventing them from hiring someone else entirely, or hiring a second person to enable me to do my job part-time. Oddly enough, The Dude works at a local college, a fraction of the size of Large, Corporate, Faceless University, yet his employer considers his sick day for P just as any other sick day that he would have for himself, ie paid. Sweden my employer ain't. Go on, tell me how unreasonable I am. Bring me back down to earth.

Apropos of nothing, I had an odd blip on my stats the other day. Statcounter must have had a massive hiccup, as it noted that last Thursday I had nearly 6000 hits. I'm back to my usual piddling amount now. The absence of Julie's blogroll is a statkiller, shit. I would like to carry on deluding myself that for whatever reason, 6000 hits genuinely occurred the other day, so let us just pretend the BBC did a small feature on me or something, ok? Naturally it's not just one of my stalkers manically refreshing and refreshing. Dudes, get a life. Go look after your kids and/or your uteri. Yeesh.


DD said...

I take sick days off without pay. I'm storing up paid days for maternity leave...oh, wait...

I don't know about you, but I have but one uterus and since I and the other stalkers are not connected at the pubic bone, I would guess that you would like us to look after our uteruses. I think. Fuck, who cares.

Eva said...

I'm teaching a class on work/family policies this semester. Kind of relevant given my life, now too. Of course, most of the semester the students just marveled at how much U.S. policies suck compared to the rest of the world when it comes to said policies. But yeah, Britian, although better than the US, was not in the group that had the absolutely amazing ones.

Of course, within places like universities there is total classism, because as a professor, if I take off for a sick child, I basically just need to figure out how to make up my own work but I'm not taking a vacation day or anything... on the other hand, I'm not sure that I have official sick days and vacation days!

Anonymous said...

The last few places I worked didn't differentiate between types of leave. Sick, vacation, etc, it was all considered paid time off and you used it for whatever you wanted/needed off for.

May said...

I'm an "associate faculty" at my college. Basically a part-timer with zero benefits, who does not get paid at all, ever, if I fail to turn up for work, for whatever reason. This was fun when I missed half the semester while hospitalized during my pregnancy with my daughter. So- maternity leave, yeah, take whatever you like, but you sure won't be getting paid!!! I'm so glad I spent 6 years getting that PhD so I could get such a cushy job.

PS Can I be a stalker, too? Please? Please?

PPS Pretty please?

statia said...


I'd like to thank the academy....

See. This is where I would have lied my ass off and called in sick. Morals be damned, there are no morals when you're sticking it to the man. They'd throw you under a bus faster than you could call P your preshus little angel.

That said, I've worked for companies that would have just let you take it as a regular sick day, but I've been pretty lucky in regards to most of the companies I've worked for and their vacation/sick policies.

PiquantMolly said...

Damn. I have no idea what my employer's policy is. I guess I never had to think about it.

And by the way, why am I not your stalker? HMMM?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure I only have the one uterus, but I know a woman who has two. I wonder if she gets double the period? I'll have to ask.

That's ass about your work situation. It's even worse here, I think, but I haven't been working for fifteen glorious months so I'm not sure. I'll let you know how it goes after my forty-seventh interview today. SIGH.