What type of leave do you take for medical appts?

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What type of leave do you take for medical appts?

Postby Kate » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:32 am

Just wondering what people do about getting time of work to go to doctor's appointments? Obviously arrangements will differ between awards and types fo work and sectors of employment etc, but I have been told all sorts of things by different bosses which are beginning to become conflicting, so thought I'd suss out the terrain a bit more broadly.

I was once told by a boss that if you come into work and then leave either being sick or going to a doc appointment it doesn't count as leave at all. Other people I know try to schedule all their doc appointments on one day and take an annual leave day (partly to maintain their privacy etc) - near impossible for me I have discovered with an endo who only sees patients on one or two days and therefore not much room for flexibility etc.

When I worked in the city it was a duck out and duck back thing and wasn't so much of a deal really but working an hour out of town now I need to take a half day almost to get to anything.

Would love to hear what you do. Thanks, Kate
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Postby Mel » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:46 am

Generally I try for the duck in & out thing and believe that the overtime and all the lunch hours I don't take makes up for the time out of the office. Some people I know who are total clock watchers will say they are out of the office for 2 hours so they will then come in half an hour early or stay half an hour later over 4 days to make up for it.

I think there is a lot of ambiguity about Dr's appts (and one hopes that employers are flexible) so it is usually a case of asking your boss and seeing what they suggest. If absolute worst came to worst the employer could simply dock your pay for the time you weren't there.

Given that the new workplace laws give everyone employed by a company 10 days "personal leave" which covers sick and carers leave etc I would imagine that most employers would suggest that that is what should be used. Although if you are employed by the State GOvt then you probably aren't covered by the new workplace laws.
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Postby Tara » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:46 am

I think it really depends on the boss and the environment you work in. My boss is fantastic and just lets me go whenever i want / need to. He does not dock me anytime / sick leave.

I recently went through having laser on my eyes every Tuesday afternoon for about 5 months. My boss let me leave every Tuesday at 1.30pm - no questions asked.

If I did not have this kind of flexibilty at work, I would have taken it as annual leave - purley because I was having so much time off. But if it is just half a day every 6 months I would take it as sick leave. If you pretend you are sick and leave early it should be nothing, but I, personally don't like that approach (your situation at work may be different!!!)
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Postby deviation72 » Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:59 am

I too have lots of flexibility with my work, and tend to schedule my appointments around days that I generally work from home anyway. If I need an appointment on another day when I go into the office, I try and make it for early in the morning and then go in late, or late afternoon and leave work early. I am lucky to have an extremely understanding boss and very generous workplace conditions that make these things possible.
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Postby Kate » Mon Jan 15, 2007 10:11 am

Thanks for the responses. Great to hear people have so much flexibility, though I would suggest that that is the exception rather than the rule - and does require divulging a lot about your personal health situation which personally I'd rather not have to do on a regular basis. I suppose ti depends on things like your work environemnt, security of employment, professionalism of your manager etc.

Would be great if there were provision within sick leave to take it for medical appointments which are in a way often preventative sick leave (if you have a very good doctor!) but shall look into the personal leave suggestion thanks.
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Postby Mel » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:35 am

Thanks for the responses. Great to hear people have so much flexibility, though I would suggest that that is the exception rather than the rule - and does require divulging a lot about your personal health situation which personally I'd rather not have to do on a regular basis.


Do you think? I'd rest assured employers can't sack you for going to a Dr's appt and they have to be very careful about discriminating against people for attending medical appts and also in requesting information that they have no right to have eg personal health details. I think a courteous, professional but firm approach is the way to go and I agree wtih whoever said arriving late or leaving early is the way to go. THere will be different situations but in general I would tend to write my boss a memo or email stating that I had a medical appointment (nothing more specific than that unless you want to) on x date and that I would, therefore be a little late to work that day. I would bet that in a lot of situations that would be the last you'll hear on the matter, in some places they will tell you that you must take the time out of particular leave. They can't tell you you can't go.

PS I think all employees in Vic are covered by the Workchoices legislation (Vic govt ceded its IR powers to Federal govt some time ago) so the personal leave is the way to go if your employer is inflexible about coming and going.
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Postby ali m » Mon Jan 15, 2007 11:39 am

I work shifts and simply book any appointments when I either know I'll be off, or ask the roster coordinator for that day off. Most people ask for particular days off anyhow, for weddings and parties and so on.
There is no way I could leave work for an appointment unless I asked another doctor to cover me, and as we're on skeleton staff 99% of the time, that's just not going to happen.
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Postby Torie » Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:08 pm

I work for Defence and we have flex time, so we have two options - either you tell your supervisor that you're taking flex or you use sick leave for appointments. You can take sick leave however you want (eg. half an hour), as long as it's medical. so if I have an appointment with the physio, endo, opto...whoever I just let my supervisor know i'll be in/out whenever and then fill in the form for sick leave. He knows about the D, but that's only a fraction of the reasons I take sick leave (and none of them are fake sickies, we have Flex for that). It's definitely a bonus not working for clock watchers.

Speaking of which, i'm off to the doc now :)
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Postby KSW » Mon Jan 15, 2007 5:29 pm

I live 3 hours from my doc, so whenever I know I have an appt I let my boss know straight away and I just book it in as a sick day. I work for the NAB so it is pretty easy to get days off. I also get rdo's but no way would I take one so I can go and see the doc. That is what the sick days are for as far as I am concerned.
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Postby carolyn » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:00 pm

We were given a directive by my department (NSW govt) that we should make medical appointments out of work hours. Can't remember exact wording but think they also wanted us to take flex hours (at least half day) instead of sick leave for appointments too.

My endo's in Melb so usually I make a day of it and my local boss has no problem with me using sick leave for the day off.
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Postby Tash » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:03 pm

As long as I can give 2 weeks notice my boss just shuffles my hours so I get the time off for an appointment and dont have to use sick days or anything....

So if I need 5 hours off...she just adds an extra hour to each day the week before...so I can 'accumilate' the time off.... I looove this system because it doesnt interfer with my sick and annual leave.
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Postby Ingrid » Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:51 pm

I used to work as a contractor so if I didn't work I didn't get paid, so I would schedule my appointments for either as early or late as I could...


To all those who take the time off as "sick" leave, what happens if / when you actually get sick?


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Postby Inga » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:50 pm

For me its REALLY hard to get an apointment at a suitable time. I go to the diabetic clinic at the hospital, and last two apointments it took three hours of waiting. But I really like the endo there so *shrugs*
I let work know as soon as I do so I can shuffle round my RDO to go on the day. Or swap late shift for morning shift etc.
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Postby Spike » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:22 am

When in Oz i'd schedule my appointments for the afternoon, tell my boss i was off to the docs for a check up and that i would'nt be back that day. No drama's all fine, no leave forms to fill in all good.

I don't see a problem in telling your boss that you're taking a portion of time off for a medical problem. whats best in the long run, that you look after yourself or you fall in a hole and become unhealthy and unproductive?/

I can understand if you have a condition you wish to hide, like trying to get pregers that maybe worth hiding from your boss that you are going to an IVF centre
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Postby l0vaduck » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:12 am

It isn't really an issue for me because I have one annual appointment, so I book it during holidays.

We're encouraged not to book appointments during work time at all, which can make things difficult with certain consultants who only do certain days and times!
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Postby kat » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:30 am

i do shift work and have tuesday and wednesday off so i make my appointment on my days off
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Postby emma » Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:28 pm

I've just started anew job well last October but if i work late one day i just come in late another so I assume it would be something like that. Just say I've got to leave a bit early. At my work we all work really hard and do extra whenever we need too and that time is just taken off during a quieter period so I assume a doc's appointment would be the same.
I'd hate to have to use my sick pay for an appointment What if I needed it!
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Postby Mel » Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:57 am

It isn't really an issue for me because I have one annual appointment, so I book it during holidays.


Does that mean that the UK health system is so efficient you can get all your d reviews and complications screening done at once. ie you see an endo, opthalmologist, podiatrist and have all your blood work done annually. What about your hba1c, do you only get that checked once a year?
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Postby Kirsty » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:04 pm

My boss is totally hopeless and is never at her desk so wouldn't really know what we do - even though we only sit a desk away from her.

So this year I said to my colleagues that we could (I am Team Leader) do what we needed to do. So if we need extra time for morning tea or afternoon tea we could. Two of us have joined the work gym so it sometimes takes longer than an hour to do our program and shower so we just take the time.

Appointments are easy now - we just have slightly less for lunch over a couple of days and then go to our appointments.
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Postby Anne » Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:33 am

Mel,
I definitelty get all my diabetes checks, blood tests and screening done in the diabetic clinic on the same day, in London.
Personally, I attend it more often than once a year (even when not pregnant) and take day off for it (not really labelled as anything specific, I just tell my boss where I will be and he/she is fine with this).
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Postby l0vaduck » Thu Jan 18, 2007 7:40 am

Mel wrote:
It isn't really an issue for me because I have one annual appointment, so I book it during holidays.


Does that mean that the UK health system is so efficient you can get all your d reviews and complications screening done at once. ie you see an endo, opthalmologist, podiatrist and have all your blood work done annually. What about your hba1c, do you only get that checked once a year?


I don't know whether it signifies efficiency! All the screening, yes, but opthalmologist, no - the consultant checks the backs of my eyes and the nurse checks my eye sight. What's a podiatrist - is that a chiropodist? I don't have one of those. The consultant checks my feet once every two years. Hba1c is done once a year, yes. Nobody seems to want to know what it is in between - I did once have to go back more often when I was having problems with unexplained and unpredictable hypos, but when things settled down I was back to once a year. I think you only get seen more often if you're outside certain limits.

I think they're just hugely understaffed. I tried to change my appointment which is due in February and was told the next available appointment is not until June!
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Postby luluhaggis » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:40 pm

Hi everyone - you all make it sound so easy making appointments when in work. Im a secondary/high school teacher and its really difficult to try and make an appointment during the day as I will be pressing on the time of my colleagues to cover my lessons - so loads of guilt even though i know i need these appointments. Why dont the eye/foot/endo/etc professionals make it easier for other professionals to see them? when I ask for an appointment for 4.30pm + im given the definite no! like im some freak asking for some special treatment that i dont deserve! Im paying money to see them why cant they make it more accessable. It really gets on my nerves! Im from the UK where everything is free for diabetics (lucky - hoorah for the national health service) and they had late appointment but here you pay and they wont accomodate professionals - yes i can take all the time off in the world dont you worry about it! But hey i dont mind you making money out of me!
Dont get me wrong i know i need to priortise my needs but it doesnt help in reality - it just makes me feel guilty and 'special needs' coupled with colleagues who just think shit ive lost my free coz ive got to cover so and so for another medical! Now thats reality!
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Postby Anne » Sat Jan 20, 2007 6:44 am

As a teacher I hope you get some annual leave during school holidays. Won't they even get you a medical appointment during school holidays? It might make you feel less guilty if it doesn't affect your colleagues.
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Postby Mel » Sat Jan 20, 2007 11:56 am

Im from the UK where everything is free for diabetics (lucky - hoorah for the national health service) and they had late appointment but here you pay and they wont accomodate professionals - yes i can take all the time off in the world dont you worry about it! But hey i dont mind you making money out of me!


Hmm I know in Sydney there are a lot of doctors who have appts after 4pm and I always see my eye Dr at 8am. I am very surprised that it is an impossibility in Melbourne, maybe you should shop around. I have more trouble finding a plumber to work convenient hours and charge a reasonable price than a Dr.

As well as school holidays, what about all those pupil free days, if you made an appt then at least you wouldn't have to have your colleagues cover for you.
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Postby Lisa » Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:57 pm

I'm a primary school teacher and am also finding it really hard to get Drs. appnts.

The problem I'm having is there sometimes aren't any appnts free when I can go during the hols. When in this situation I know I put my appnts. off until the next lot of holidays. Obviously this isn't ideal as it means I am delaying seeing the doctor sometimes by 4-6 months.

It especially becomes difficult when the doctor wants to see you every couple of months or when you require a procedure that can only be done on a certain day!
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Postby Catapult » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:01 pm

Mel wrote:As well as school holidays, what about all those pupil free days, if you made an appt then at least you wouldn't have to have your colleagues cover for you.


The pupil-free days tend to be training sessions - so they can't really be skipped!

I think you can forget about getting 'good' appts in the public system. Private is not so bad in Adelaide, if you can afford it. Plumbers do charge more than Endocrinologists, I'm thinking of starting an apprenticeship.

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Postby luluhaggis » Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:03 am

Lisa - exactly! No free appointments during the school holidays and I can see myself reluctantly going down the same path as putting check ups off to try and fit in around the holidays. 'pupil free' days are staff training days that cannot not be skipped - not hoorah lets have a 'sit off' day, lounge around doing sweet fa - they are used to address lots of educational issues so that we can become better professionals and ultimately adds even more work onto us - but hey what do I know Im only a teacher who has an incredible amount of holidays - how dare I moan.
I have made sure my transition onto a pump has occurred over my summer holidays - it would have been a nightmare during term time with lots of time off. A bit nervous going back to work as my basal levels might have to be changed.
All im asking is for appointments to be available around 4.30pm. I get excellent care at the Diabetes Institute so I dont really want to risk going somewhere else - its just this one thing and hey this is what the forums for.
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