The member of staff in question has been with us for approx. 8 months.  She works as a teaching assistant and therefore only works 30 hours per week, 38 weeks of the year.  She has a young child and is also pregant.  Since September she has been taken approximately one day off a week to look after her daughter who seems to be constantly unwell.  So far, this has been granted (though unpaid) as according to our HR policy she is entitled to take up to 16 weeks ‘carers’ leave.  Due to the nature of the school (for severe behavioural difficulties) , we have already removed her from some school duties as part of a risk assessment conducted when she first notified us of her pregnancy.  This has in itself cost us finacially as we have had to bring in a replacment to cover these duties.  My question is whether her continued absence could be a capability issue (our policy clearly states that the leave is granted for "a short-term crisis" but this appears to be an on-going issue), or whether we will have to continue granting this leave until she goes on maternity  in May?   If it makes any difference, we do have an exceptional benefits package for staff which includes paying 50% of her child-care costs whilst she is at work, so I do not think the problem is a financial one.