Pregnancy is tough! Especially if you are a working mother.
Recent studies on 508 employed pregnant mothers shows:
- 56% of employed pregnant woman call in sick in the first 32 weeks of pregnancy.
- 1 in 4 employed pregnant woman took long-term sick leave of >20 days.
- Lower back pain is the most common reason for calling in sick.
A study in Europe on 6686 pregnant woman shows,
Women using medications for acute illnesses were more likely to be on sick leave than their non-medicated counterparts.
|Top 10 Reasons for Sick Leave During Pregnancy|
|2||Pain in the neck, back, pelvic girdle||16.2%|
|6||Work-Related or Work-Stress||9.2%|
|8||Fatigue or Tireness||4.6%|
|10||Low Blood Pressure Dizziness||3.8%|
Good reasons for sick leave during pregnancy
Before calling in sick, you may want to check with your human resource department on your company’s policy.
Here are some commonly acceptable reasons for calling in sick during pregnancy:
1. Back pain or any pregnancy related medial conditions
Back pain is one of the most common medical condition that a pregnant employee may have.
It is totally understandable that a pregnant mother will go through some sort of discomfort during the period of her pregnancy.
But when the discomfort become unbearable or even health threatening, it will be best if you can call in sick and seek medical help immediately.
You might be pleasantly surprise that Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) states:
“Employer forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, such as leave and health insurance, and any other term or condition of employment.”
Pregnant worker are protected at work.
2. Contagious illness
Fever? Cough? Running Nose?
Contagious illness can be pretty scary.
First, there was only one colleague whom is not feeling well, then you see a few, finally almost everyone around you is coughing or having running nose.
If you are having contagious illness, just call in sick and stay at home.
- Common Cold
- Stomach Flu
- Pink Eyes
- Strep Throat
- Whooping Cough
- Hand, Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD)
Not only calling in sick will protect your coworkers and customers, sufficient rest can help you recover faster.
Preventing the spread of sickness is just one way of being a responsible and respectful coworker.
3. Medical Appointment
Periodic pregnancy health check up is important. Pregnant mother does routine health checkups to have a peace of mind to know that her baby is doing “OK”.
Prenatal check up is usually required every few weeks. And the booking for the check up is usually not easy.
Expected frequency of prenatal visit:
- Pregnancy at 0 to 26 weeks: Once every four weeks
- Pregnancy at 26 to 32 weeks: Once every three weeks
- Pregnancy at 32 to 36 weeks: Once every two weeks
- Pregnancy at 36 weeks to delivery: Once every week
Some companies allow you to use sick days to attend non-emergency preplanned doctor appointments.
What if sick leave is not allowed for preplanned doctor appointments?
Take unpaid leave.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to take twelve weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period.
FMLA will apply if you are working at:
- Public agencies; Local, State, and Federal employers, and local education agencies
- Private sector employers who employ 50 or more employees
With FMLA, you will be entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave with continuation of group health insurance coverage.
Most workplace will consider any condition that makes you unable to perform your job as a reasonable reason for sick leave.
- Slips, trips and fall
- Ankle sprain
- Muscle strains
- Knee injury
- Tennis elbow
- Crashes and collisions
- Cuts and lacerations
- Inhalation of toxic fumes
If the condition persist and your doctor requires you to rest, you can consider taking recovery time sick leave.
If you’re injured, most managers will rather you recover quickly at home, than to come to work.
You are responsible of your own well-being. If unwell, don’t over exert yourself.
5. Pre-Existing Diagnosed Medical Condition
Human resource department are usually notified about your pre-existing medical condition during your onboarding. Some medical condition may require regular medical checkup or appointments.
Here are some common pre-existing medical conditions:
Clear documentations from a medical professional should always be provided to your employer.
You may want to discuss on flexible work options or even opt for working from home for some of the days, if your job permits.
You can check out some of the tips on work from home for working moms if that helps.
In cases, where your hospital stay extended beyond your sick leave allowance, you workplace may provide hospitalization leave or offer unpaid leave for your recovery.
Example of where hospitalization maybe required:
- Heart diseases
- Acute upper respiratory infections
- Obstetric complications
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can be used to cover your extended absence at work for up to 12 weeks in a period of 12 months.
Alternatively, you can discuss your extended leave options with your human resources department
Studies have shown that most standard working conditions present little to no danger to maternal or child health. A pregnant employee with an uncomplicated pregnancy is allowed to continue working for as long as she chooses.
Having said that, I am not encouraging you to tough out contractions and risk an in office birth.
Calling out sick due to your pregnancy or even possible delivery is totally acceptable reason for sick leave!
In fact, pregnant employees can use Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for absence related to her pregnancy.
How to call in sick
Asking for sick leave can sometimes be quite troublesome. You are tired, dizzy and maybe sometimes feeling confused.
But it is important for you to convey your message to your employer clearly.
Calling in for a sick day should included the following information:
- Reason for calling in for sick leave.
- What responsibility are required to be covered when you are on leave.
Usually, employee ask for sick leave by 2 different ways:
- Calling on the phone
- Sending a text message
Example on what to say when you call in sick on a phone
“Hi [Employer], I woke up today feeling very dizzy, and I think I’m having a fever.
I am worried it will get worst and I don’t want to infect my colleagues.
I think it will be best for me to take a day off and rest.
Should be able to complete my [Task] when I am back tomorrow.
I’ll try to be on email as much as possible.”
Example on what to text your boss to call in sick
“Hello [Manager], I am having a very bad back pain and my doctor has recommended me to take [No. of days] days off work to recover.
I hope I will be well enough to return to work on [Date].
I’ve texted [Your Colleague] with the things he/she may need to do in my absence.
I will be available by email for any pressing needs. Thanks.”
“How does sick pay works?”
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