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Father sacked by Sainsbury’s for ‘unauthorised absence’ was caring for ill wife and baby

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:43 11 February 2015

Stephen Agin with his wife Emma, daughter Maisie, two, and son Teddy, six weeks

Stephen Agin with his wife Emma, daughter Maisie, two, and son Teddy, six weeks

Archant

A delivery driver was sacked by Sainsbury’s for unauthorised absence while he was caring for his newborn baby and ill wife.

Stephen was sacked for 'unauthorised absence' while he was caring for his ill wife and newborn babyStephen was sacked for 'unauthorised absence' while he was caring for his ill wife and newborn baby

Stephen Agin, 48, has launched an appeal after being given his four-week notice at the Chadwell Heath supermarket a week after he returned to work last month.

He had taken early paternity leave in late December to care for his wife, Emma, who was ill with high blood pressure during the latter stages of her pregnancy.

But after baby Teddy arrived, she remained ill and under the care of her midwife. Stephen took a week off work to care for her, Teddy, and their four other young children.

Maisie, two, who has Down’s Syndrome, attends First Step in Hornchurch – a charity sponsored by Sainsbury’s.

Stephen, of Wood Lane, Elm Park, said: “To lose my job over what happened is unfair. I was quite happy there, it suited me down to the ground.

“I told two managers that because my wife had high blood pressure and wasn’t well I wouldn’t be in but I’d be back the next week. I was told I had to come back that week.

“Either way I would have lost – but I’m not going to leave the wife on her own.

“When I went back the next week they took me off driving for two days and paid someone else overtime while I was in the warehouse.

“Then, on the Thursday I had a meeting and they gave me my four-week notice.”

Stephen, who was previously given a verbal warning by the company for unauthorised absence, when he says he went “to the cafe”, has now signed on at the job centre while he anxiously awaits the outcome of the appeal.

Sainsbury’s has said it is at the “beginning” of the process, in which it will look at all of the details surrounding the sacking and said no final decision had been made.

A spokesman for the supermarket added: “This is an ongoing investigation.

“We always look to support new parents during this important time and have to treat all of our colleagues fairly.”


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