Sent to the lovely Tommys.org staff, not a rant at them… just getting it off my chest.
Sent: 15 April 2008 21:40
Subject: Hiya, my employers are pushing me too hard. Can you help me?Hello,Firstly thank you so much for having the ask a midwife bit on your website. 😀I work at ********. I was working at a branch 5 miles from where I live, cycling each day. When I was planning a family I requested a transfer to my nearest store, that’s about a mile away. Since moving there, I told them as soon as it was confirmed by doctors, that I was pregnant. That was around 5 to 7 weeks into pregnancy.I’m now 6 months preg, my work load is increasing, rather than respecting that I’m preg and giving me slightly less work. I feel its sexual discrimination if I’m honest. My local store management is very hit and miss, some managers awful, some average, only a couple are helpful or understanding. I work mainly on dinning area. I’m stood up all shift. I work 9-5 each day, but they send me on my break at 11.15 most days. But we are often short-staffed…. then they force me to wait until after 2pm.I’m expected to work way too hard, often going home in pain, and often in pain on my shifts too. However on the weekends (my days off) i‘m fine. I’m on my own on dinning area, which means mopping floors, cleaning rubbish off of the tables, sweeping floors, cleaning toilets, emptying bins, picking up rubbish from car park floors. I’m nagged a lot of the time too to go faster. I’ve worked for the company 3 years nearly continuously. Honestly my work load has increased since pregnancy. Often I’m put on tills aswell. This is a lot of bending, lifting and getting stock (some heavy, some not) out from freezer and stock rooms.At 6 months pregnant I still have not got maternity uniform. Was simply given trousers in size 22 and told to cope best I can with those (I’m size 18/20). If I was to wear this, I get a visible dent to the point where I have a spare tyre look going on. Also my shirt doesn’t button up at the bottom. So now in frustration I wear a pair of scruffy black maternity trousers from eBay, and wear a black fitted maternity t-shirt underneath. If I did not, customers can see my tummy.I feel though, that I am at risk. I’ve been asking for a risk assessment since 2 and a half months pregnant. Nothing done as yet. But when confirmation of my maternity leave dates came from head office there was a bit of small print saying the company has done a generalised assessment for all pregnant staff… which is naff all use! I’ve not seen it, and I doubt my managers have. As carrying 4 FULL bin bags at once is dangerous, as is short staffing shifts to the extent they do. Queues often most of the way to the door, meaning I can’t even leave to go to the loo, and sometimes can’t get a drink for several hours.I’m not lazy, but this is not safe. I will work, but working this much harder, when I’m fragile anyway is mental. My baby is breach and big and it hurts to bend and lift all day long, not to mention standing that long. I have to lock myself in the loo sometimes so I can sit down.My official due date is July xxx, and maternity leave due to start on xxx May. Can I be signed off of work for the health of my baby, as they just wont take me seriously at work. It might only be about 6 weeks left, but I can’t cope with this that long. Enough is enough.What can I do? I don’t want to get fired, or lose maternity pay (although it’s a massive pay cut compared to my average wages, losing about a third of my wages). Please please, I need you impartial advice! Friends online seem to think I can be signed on sick for babes health and lose nothing, but I need to know where I stand, I’ve a mortgage and bills etc like every mum.Thanks for reading, and giving me someone to askJulie