Should I tell work?

mazbaz Member Posts: 38
Hi all,

Can anyone advise me the best course of action here please? Had my interview and landed my new(ish) job last October.
Was and had been quite poorly for a long time before that and then got my OA & RA diagnose in the December.
Although work has been a struggle quite often, I have not had any days off because of said illness.
Am now experiencing RSI symptoms in my right hand and arm which is probably made a lot worse due to my other problems.
Also, have had to swap a couple of shifts or arrive late a few times due to Hospital apts with my Rheummy.

Question is: Do I tell work that I am ill with OA & RA or would I be better off keeping quiet about it and just blagging my way out of questions about why I want to swap shifts ect when I have to go to hospital or doctors?

Ive read a few of the other posts and it sounds like a nightmare with employers trying to get rid of workers who have long term conditions.
I like my job and I want to keep working but I also need them to know that there are some things I cant do (eg, kneel down, lift heavy things, reach up high etc etc)


  • lily
    lily Member Posts: 160
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    Tbh im 1 of the people who are having trouble with work but, I have always been honest with my work about what is wrong with me, in fact when I applied for my present job and got an interview with them I made a point of letting them know that there were things I could not do, I actually still have my job(just)

    I may be wrong but im sure you are allowed time of for the hospital, I was well enough for 18 months before I had to take sick leave and 15 months down the line ive had 4 periods of sick this last time ive been of 3 months and still have another month before I see the doctor to see if im well enough to go back to work, honesty is crucial I believe

    good luck
    Lily x
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Personally I think work should know
    If you work for a big firm they might have an occupational health department where you can be assessed.
    Your work by law should put in reasonable adjustments to your work place so you can carry on working
    It is difficult as many of us have had bad experiences with work on here
    I had such a dreadful time and I worked for the NHS! After 4 yrs of struggling I finally got ill health retirement so at 49 I became retired
    Yes work are supposed to allow time off work for appointments but my ward manager was evil and always turned nasty when I needed time to go to hospital appointments even when they were in the same building! So I had to take mine as days off
    Hopefully your work will be more understanding
    Sorry for sounding so negative
    Keep strong
  • mellman01
    mellman01 Member Posts: 5,303
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well you will need to tell them something at some point but if your on probation you need to be a bit restrictive otherwise they could dismiss you under the capability rule if they were truly heartless like my HR department head was, basically this little catch all is HR's main weapon if they decide to go hunting, that said your HR department could be really nice mine was anything but.
    The capability rule effectively means you've broken your original contract of employment due to you getting ill, I know it sounds c**p but thats how it is, they can use it against someone who turns up drunk or constantly late as well as those who are truly genuine & thats the sad truth of it, it all depends on the head of HR.
    As soon as mine were told I was straight in for an informal stage 1 meeting and she told me nicely that I was either out the door under capability or I could go and talk to the OC health doctor about ill health retirement, it took 4 and a half years before I was retired.
    The main things you need to know is yes they have a right to know your medical situation, now if your still on probation then they capability rule is easier to enforce, that said if you are on probation I'd not lie but I'd not be to forth coming either unless I really needed to, it all depends how far down the diagnosis trail you are, if your not 100% sure yourself then you could hold off until your 100% sure what it is you have after all you don't want to tell them wrong information its as bad as not telling them anything when you know all the facts, if your still undergoing tests then you could argue you didn't know yourself so you were waiting to get a complete diagnosis before approaching them about it.
    Now are you in a union?, if there is one there join it although they might not give you full cover they will be able to give you advice and some level of protection regardless. Are you in a works pension fund?, if so is there a pension fund handbook or a web site for it?, if so have a look at the ill health rules, also how old are you?, if your over 50 this is an important age trigger for many a pensions ill health retirement criteria.
    That said I'm not saying thats the way things will go but its a point of interest to you if you spam up on this info then its more power to you, knowledge is power after all and with work related maters the devil is in the detail.
    Also have you been to your local CAB(Citizens advice), they can be helpful with regards to your rights as a employee with long term health issue.
    Oh and one last piece of advice, whatever you do DON'T LEAVE even if they pressure you, your better off being in employment regardless.
  • mazbaz
    mazbaz Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for your replies , I think judging by this I do need to tell them. A friend i used to work with got ousted from her job due to numerous and ongoing back problems. They finally (after 2.5 years) got rid of her on "frustration of contract" and she became retired due to ill health.

    I am in a pension and over 50 so that would probably be the way they would send me, altho at the moment, altho a struggle sometimes I am managing to work all my shifts .

    I guess Ive got to bite the bullet and reveal all!
  • ouchmyfoot
    ouchmyfoot Member Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Maz,
    I used to work for a company that was not very OA friendly or understanding,and ended up leaving getting another employer and telling them from day 1 ,I am lucky to say that I work for a company who manage Retirement homes and we live on site,I can not imagine how I would be able to work for the other company if I was as bad as I am these days.So I can empathise with you! But truth may be better but speaking to HR or an Occupational health person? It is personnel's job to monitor sick time etc so they are just doing a job BUT there are ways of being empathetic about eh ? Any way hope you are ok x
  • woodbon
    woodbon Member Posts: 4,969
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I told my employer, I was a care assistant working for the Council. I was very lucky and had understanding boss and she let me work on the lighter shifts, swap some of the heavy work for lighter things, I also told the rest of the staff and they were very understanding, but in return I'd help them out more by doing boring things while they did some of the heavy stuff and swapping shifts to allow someone time off to go out. I also arranged to work fewer hours, not good paywise, but stopping work was worse. I think it also means that they have a duty of care towards you if they know and they know they could be in the smelly stuff if anything happens! :shock:

    As for my appointments - I tried to either get them at the end or beginning of a shift or on a day off. I know its unfair, but it allowed me to work for longer than I would have been able without help from the others. Some people were not nice but not many.
    I think, reading other peoples stories, I was very lucky.
    Love Sue