What does the issue of sick leave mean for you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

The annual allocation of sick days is not enough. There are times when I come to work sick, as I don’t have any leave. Other times, I have to send my son to school knowing that he should stay home. But when it comes down to it, with the constant rise in costs, I can’t afford to take leave without pay. I feel guilty that I’m coming to work and possibly spreading bugs (sickness that often I’m bringing home from work with me).

What will it take to fix sick leave for kindergarten teachers?

Increase sick leave to acknowledge we are working with tamariki that aren’t able to ‘catch their coughs’ or wipe their noses on their own. We can’t work from home when sick like in other professions. We are at the coal face and still having to encourage parents and families to wear masks.

When we fix sick leave, what impact will that change have on you as a teacher, and the tamariki you teach?

I can take leave when sick, stay home to care for my son when he is sick. My stress levels around this would be reduced/gone. I won’t feel like I’m letting down my team or my family by having to choose work or health.

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