Record numbers of parents have been caught faking child sick leave in Sweden.
The country pays 80 per cent salary costs if a child is unwell but hundreds of parents have been busted telling lies about their children’s health, according to The Local.
The Swedish police have received 400 reports on cheating parents and more than half of them are mothers.
In Australia, full-time and part-time workers are entitled to full pay for a day off sick or for carer’s leave. The minimum requirement for employers is ten days per year and employers can ask for evidence – even if an employee has only been off sick for one day.
Truth. image via Instagram @mumthenwifethenme
"An employee who doesn't give their employer evidence when asked may not be entitled to be paid for their sick or carer’s leave," says the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Pre-baby I thought people could be faking their children's sick days. They often called at the last minute. They sounded fine. They were just getting out of a day's work, I thought. Shame on me.
Since returning to work, I can now fully understand the horrible conflict between having to work and caring for a sick child.
My baby doesn't yet know how to fake a sick day and when he's sick I don't feel great either.
I'm not talking about serious illnesses, I'm talking about common colds, tummy bugs or 4am meltdowns. I now realise the reality of how hard it is to do normal things with even a mildly sick child. My pre-baby self thought that a child sick day was a relaxing day off for parents lucky enough to have snotty children.
It's harder work to stay at home with a sick child than going to work. All the training in the world could not prepare me for an inconsolable child.
Children in childcare fall ill up to ten times a year. Image via iStock.
In Sweden, most of the parenting cheats actually worked while they claimed their child sick benefit from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency. They weren't slacking off - they were just trying to make money.
In Australia, the lies happen but for a different reason. It's estimated a baby in full-time childcare can be ill up to ten times a year, and the child's mother is more likely to take a day off work if needed - according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).
"Mothers of younger children were four times more likely to have missed work over the 12-month period to care for sick children," states their latest study.
I've seen the battle parents have with sick days. The need to email, attend meetings or get stuff done with an added full-time job of caring for their little one.
"I have to use my own sick leave for the children when they're sick and then when it comes to taking it for myself, I don't have any left," a parent told AIFS.
"I want some special leave. If you have to do things for family matters, then you shouldn't have to pretend it is sick leave. We all do it and pretend we don't," said another parent.
There is currently no mandated leave in Australia which gives parents time off to deal with illnesses of children, according to AIFS. It's covered in carer's leave.
I work in a flexible environment that understand's these pressures but if I took a day off for every time my son had a cold I wouldn't be able to hold down a job.
People in Sweden were lying about child sick leave to make some extra money but parents in Australia have to lie about their own sick days so they can care for their child.
Everyone has parenting ups and downs, including sick kids. Watch the Mamamia Team confess to the times they felt like terrible mothers.