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I’m a trainee at a day care centre, and I’ve had a lot of time off sick due to the flu I caught from the kids.

Work has put a lot of pressure on me to come back to work when I haven’t fully recovered, making it hard to shake the flu. I went into work, after a few hours I felt sick and was throwing up. I got told if I was going to be sick I should have called in that morning and that they weren’t going to look for a cover and that I had to stay and finish the day.

I did, but I feel confused because I get in trouble for being away sick, but if I do what they want and come in sick I also get in trouble. They make snarky comments about how knowing my record I can’t just take one day off to get better and make me feel really bad about being sick even though I can’t control if I have influenza.

Are they allowed to treat me like this? My goal here is that I want to be treated with some type of respect towards my health because in general I don’t feel like I am treated as well because I’m not as old or have as much experience as everyone else.

  • How would you prefer to be treated? I.e., what goal are you trying to achieve? – Jay Jul 12 at 0:35
  • I want to be treated with some type of respect towards my health and I’m general I don’t feel like I am treated as well because I’m not as old or have as much experience as everyone else – Olivia Jul 12 at 0:56
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    So they knowingly forced the children at the day center to be around someone who has the flu because they are too lazy to try to find someone to cover for you? – さりげない告白 Jul 12 at 1:04
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    Wow there is a heap of word that wish for being turned into sentences :-) Such text is hard to understand because the only period is at the end. – puck Jul 12 at 3:54
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    Please edit your post. This is a text-communication, it's incredibly hard to read and understand your train-of-thought typing. Write this post as if it was a written communication to a non-native speaker, where you want to do your best to make the reader understand you. – nvoigt Jul 12 at 6:10
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Childcare in Australia as you know is and has been in very high demand especially in the large cities. A lot of the centers are small with no real HR departments and pretty much at the mercy of the owner who is also often the person running the day to day business. This limits your options in terms of what action can be taken.

In an ideal world you shouldn't be treated this way. In the real world this sort of thing can happen anywhere and in any job where there are laws governing how many staff members must be on site for the business to remain open. Childcare workers are plentiful with the TAFE's pumping them out at an industrial scale and as you know they are low paid workers. (I absolutely disagree with how this is but thats besides the point I'm trying to make). The bottom line is this means the small center owners often see their staff as disposable. Having the kids (and their parents) get attached to staff means nothing to them. Some business owners are worse than others and in your case they were obviously unreasonable.

I know all this because my wife worked in (and ran) a childcare center in Australia for a long time before changing careers.

Unless you are working in a large center with a corporate body governing them unfortunately you might have to either play by their rules or find somewhere else to work. Complaining to any government agency probably wouldn't be much help since nothing can be proven.

Good luck, I think you guys are very under appreciated.

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    +1 for your last note on under-appreciation of persons working in that field - Among other fields I fully agree on that one and hope the public eye/perception will show more gratitude in terms of respect & compensation! – iLuvLogix Jul 12 at 10:46
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Are they allowed to treat me like this?

There may not be a law against how they treat you (Especially If the 'bad treatment' is primarily on the lines of passing rude comments). However, there should be a company policy against it and you should check with your manager or HR if there is one and how to enforce it in your case.

If you are getting this treatment from your manager/HR, then I suppose there is nothing much you can do about it other than leaving.

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