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Resign or get fired over child care issues? California

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  • Resign or get fired over child care issues? California

    The latest issue we are having with my husband's employer has me thinking he either needs to resign or risk termination, but I don't know which is better for us. Over two months ago, my husband put in for leave during a week when I have to attend an out-of-town conference for my job. We have no family in the area, and my husband works a swing shift. There is no way my usual babysitters can watch our son from 4:30pm until 12:30am for a week, and no one I know has any referrals for weeknight care. Knowing we'd have no child care, my husband requested the time off nearly three months before the conference. He has been following up ever since with no response until now when there's only three weeks to go. The supervisor has said that he isn't denying my husband's request yet, but he won't approve it either because there are some pending labor actions they are anticipating in the company. My husband is not union, but those parts of the company that are must be equally fed up with this horrid employer (this is by far not the worst or only issue we've had over the years). The supervisor simply has said, "You need to figure out a plan B just in case." if we had a plan B, we would have exercised it long before now, not to mention the fact that my husband is paid so poorly that child care costs for that time period would essentially mean he's paying to go to work...something we can't remotely afford. It's beyond late for me to go to my employer and say, "Sorry, you're out hundreds of dollars, because my husband's company is terrible and is facing strikes because of it." I realize he's at will and can get fired whenever they choose and for no reason at all, which is just the sort of thing this company would do. I also understand failure to show up for a shift that they may insist on scheduling him for despite knowing he can't make it would be grounds for termination. Should my husband put in his two weeks' notice? Or should he advise the supervisor that we have no alternative and see what happens? Would he be eligible for unemployment in California if he is terminated? I know it's better for his future job hunt if he resigns rather than being terminated, but if he would be eligible for unemployment since he gave ample notice multiple times, then maybe that's better for us. I have no idea if the company has a policy about timely response to time off requests. Would that be our only recourse if they deny unemployment? Also, our second child is due in June, so we are very distraught about both money and the upcoming leave time he should be allowed under FMLA. We wouldn't be surprised if they'd like to use this to fire my husband rather than have to grant his leave in a few months. He received the leave when our son was born, but only after being treated like he was a bad employee and generally being insulted over the baby bonding time. If it helps to know, my husband has been late only a couple of times and has called in sick no more than five times in the past seven years. That's rare in security work, which is the worst field for an employee that I've ever seen. Also of note, my job is our primary household income, so that's not the one to jeopardize. I probably won't lose my job if I have to cancel the conference, but it won't be good for my career. I don't think my good employer should be penalized either. Help!

  • #2
    RE: Resign or get fired over child care issues

    First, let me say I certainly feel for you. I think anyone who has a career and a family fully understands the situation.

    I can't say I understand why the employer is doing what they are doing but I stopped wondering why people and organizations are illogical and unreasonable long ago.

    Here is my advise: Federal leave law would not, in my opinion, apply. I would urge him not to resign. If the employer is citing labor issues, and not knowing how isolated or broad that term may be applied in his situation, you don't want to cut off your nose to spite your face. The fact that the supervisor is not approving the leave request with such advance notice is concerning. The reasons that come to my mind vary from corporate reorganization, impending disciplinary action against someone equal to your husband's position or incompassing duties which your husband may be able to absorb, disiplincary action against your husband, impending company closure, impending company merger/acquisition which would require your husband's presence/work (if it is this he might offer to work from home or be oncall as needed), or the supervisor simply being a jerk.

    Have you considered flying a relative in to watch the kids? Paying $400 in airfare to save 2 jobs would be a good investment in my view.

    Best of luck to you.


    • #3
      Having been a working mom for the first 4 1/2 years with kids, taking a break and then going back fulltime with 3 kids with a husband who travels for work often, I totally get the stress of childcare, especially out of the ordinary care. That said, you really do need to have a Plan B. I agree with possibly having a relative fly in or even meeting a college aged person who you could get to know who COULD stay that late. Call your local churches that have preschools and see if they do recommendations.

      Even if he does manage this time off, I would strongly consider strategizing at least one more Plan B, if not two or three. Especially with another baby on the way. Depending on your DH's pay rate and the cost of child care, it might be more financially prudent to have him be a SAHDad.

      I agree that there may be information that your husband's boss isn't telling him about possible needs/changes. Or it may have just really been too far out timewise for the employer to say yes to the request. Or the supervisor might just be a jerk who thinks moms should be the #1 caregiver. But if the employer says he has to work and he refuses, that would be cause to fire and it just depends on the state as to whether unemployment would be given. Generally though, I don't think lack of child care will get him benefits, because he would still need child care (and have the same issue) with any other job too.


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