Hi, Welcome!

The community is a safe space for people living with and connected to arthritis to ask questions and share experiences. Get started by registering here and posting your first comment or question!

Sign In with a Versus Arthritis account

Sickness absence meeting. Worried

SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
I will get on to my union tomorrow but wondered if anyone has been through this.
I am a teacher and until the start of this academic year I was working full-time on my return from neck surgery. I was diagnosed about 2 years ago and have other problems as well including mobility. I struggled through most of the year but as it got towards the second part of the summer term things got really bad and my GP insisted on signing me off for 6 weeks and only allowed me back for the last few days to break my leave.
This year I am working three days a week. I had to take one day due to a steroid injection, 2 as a result of severe pain and fatigue following a hospital appointment and subsequent fall at home, and one due to a throat infection/loss of voice.

Where appropriate I have put on my return to work form that the reason I was off was related to my disability.

At the end of the day today I was given an envelope infoming me that I have an "informal " sickness review meeting next Friday morning, that I am expected to minimise my absences from now on and that if I have anymore time off in the next three months it will go to a formal stage I meeting.

Any advice would be most welcome. I am happy to get evidence from my GP and will say I am quite happy to go back to OH.
I will phone my union tomorrow morning and try and get hold of my union rep.
He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
Julian of Norwich

Comments

  • Megrose489Megrose489 Posts: 734
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm afraid I can't offer any advice, Slosh, but just wanted to extend my support. It seems most unfair that you've now got this to worry about. I do hope that your union is able to offer you help and advice.

    Look after yourself. ((()))

    Meg
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Sorry. I can't help either, Slosh, but I do wish you luck. Please let's know how it goes.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • slomoslomo Posts: 180
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Slosh,
    I only spotted your post late last night hence the late response. Have you managed to get hold of your union rep? You're entitled to have someone with you, I'm sure. It must be that you've hit the trigger number of absences and work is trying to keep their employee absence figures looking pretty. All these absence from work procedures are new to me too as I'm not accustomed to being ill.
    Being a nosy B, I'd downloaded my work's absence procedures from the intranet & it says the informal meeting is to let you know that your sickness record is not acceptable and is impacting on the business. Not at all sure how you (or I) can change our attendance record.
    I've not had any sickness review meetings and can only suppose my boss is counting our email and phone contact as adequate. I was on sick leave for 2weeks in July when I started MTX, then for 2 weeks in October when my GP was on leave and the stand in GP just put down 2weeks and then my own GP signed me off for 2 months from the end of that sick line so I must have hit their trigger figure. I saw the OccH in June when mobility was a big issue and as soon as I put in the 2month sick line my boss referred me to them again. No idea what they can do this time as its fatigue and the emotional, memory, cognitive issues of the steroids that's the problem. Anyway I see OccH on Tuesday morning.
    When you saw them did they say you were covered by they equality and disability act? The chap I saw in June said he felt I was although I hadn't been ill long. I notice work is asking them that question again. If you're covered by the act surely that will mean your work will have to be more flexible and accommodating for you.
    I hope it all goes OK for you. They make it all sound so scary don't they and its added stress you don't really need.

    Will be thinking of you, let us know what happens.
    Love
    slomo
  • TrishaWTrishaW Posts: 121
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi slosh,

    I've never been a teacher but have been a nurse (until my recent ill health retirement) which may be similar as it's in the Public Sector.

    I know it was very helpful having regular OH reviews, and the OH Nurse or Doctor would write to my manager with suggestions/advice to both help me at work and also ensure they were aware of my limitations/ abilities.

    At one stage I remember them writing that as I was 'covered by the Equality Act' my manager should not count days off related directly to my arthritis/hospital apointments as part of a 'sick leave pattern'.

    I also made sure I had a Union Rep with me at all meetings, that I received a copy of the minutes, and was able to respond to any discrepancies I found. I kept a copy of everything.

    I think regular and honest/clear communication is key, and it also helps to show them how keen you are to keep working and how the quality of your work will remain high etc, you just need certain allowances to enable you to do so.

    It may help to go armed with examples of excellent work you have achieved, some suggestions for managing your health/work balance, and the unique skills you have.

    good luck

    Trisha x
  • FroseFrose Posts: 14
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Slosh,
    I have experienced informal sickness meetings etc and think I'm on course to get a warning about my absence soon.

    You are protected by legislation (Equality Act 2010) if your absence is related to your disability (arthritis?) - I don't know all the in's and out's of this but my b\f has used this legislation to protect him when he was off with depression, as this is a disability covered by the Equality Act. Check it out, also your employer is required to make 'reasonable adjustments' to help you stay in work.

    Don't worry too much, especially if it's at the informal stage. Definitely get advice from Union and check all policies and Equality Act :)
    Let us know how you get on!
    Fi x
    Favourite quotes/mantras:
    Take one day at a time
    Don't compare yourself to others
    There is only now :)
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all. On Friday I emailed the Business Manager who the meeting is with and asked if I could be referred back to OH (I thought it would show I had nothing to hide), she replied this would be done at the meeting, which would take about 15 minutes.
    I have spoken to my union rep, he was reassuring, said that it was not in the borough policy to set targets at this stage and referred me to the appropriate sections in the policy, at present it doesn't refer to the equalities act but is being re-written. He said I should say that while I hope to be able to meet these I do have an underlying condition /disability and would like to agree targets once I have had my OH review and sought advice.

    He also said I needed to try and get the wording(of the OH report), to be as clear as possible without words such as "may" which will give wriggle room.

    I am going to take a copy of my most recent report which makes it clear I do have a disability, my lesson observation which was graded as "Outstanding " as evidence if needed that I can do my job to a high standard and I am also prepared to raise the fact that on three occasions this term my ability to do my job has been affected by faulty lifts.

    It's at 9.00 Friday morning so if anyone is around for pocket duties you will be most welcome.

    Going to be a fun week as Wednesday it's time to review my risk assessment and do a PEEP!
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • stickywicketstickywicket Posts: 25,993 ✭✭✭
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'll be there, Slosh. As I'll be absolutely useless I'll (wo)man the tea and biscuits.
    “There is always a well-known solution to every human problem - neat, plausible, and wrong.” H.L. Mencken
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Sticky, tea and biscuits the most important things of all!
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • Megrose489Megrose489 Posts: 734
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'll be there, too, Slosh. I do hope that all goes well.

    Meg
  • slomoslomo Posts: 180
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Slosh
    I'll join you for yours, will you some to mine? (see my post Friday is absence meeting day).
    Mine is at 10.30am. We can compare notes afterwards.
    take care
    slomo
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had my risk assessment updated today with the Head. The main concern is the stairs in the event of an emergency,we have outlined a plan and just need to sort out nominated adults to escort me down, (I did make it clear when asked that I cannot go down them alone due to the risk of falling). Last time it knocked me sideways through the fatigue it caused afterwards so he has said he is quite happy for me to leave after and go home. With Friday in mind I have requested he puts this in writing so it cannot be counted as sickness leave.

    I am covered by the act but the borough's policy is out of date and does not refer to this.

    I am going to take a copy of my previous OH review and make it clear I do nit want to be set targets until this meeting so I can ask OH to put in about absences related to my disability.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • slomoslomo Posts: 180
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    How did it go, Slosh? Was it as bad as you'd feared? I do hope not. Mine wasn't thank goodness.

    slomo
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Worse! Will do a full post.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • MbrooksMbrooks Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi not sure if this matter is sorted or if I can offer any advice.

    I worked in a school for 7 years up until 31st December 2014, due to disability they agreed to lengthen the trigger points, but they preceded with the level 4 sickness absence meeting of which my union rep said I should get a solicitor involved for a discrimination claim as in OH reports the reasonable adjustment was to not count disability days off against the sickness absence policy. You need to ask for a copy of the school's sickness absence policy and disability policy. Also ask for a copy of the risk assessment the business manager should of filled in when they knew about your disability. And put a grievance in about the way you are being treated.

    Unfortunately I didn't get to keep my job but I got a nice out of court settlement
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I went in well prepared which I think came as a shock, and finally the HR person had to concede, but not in so many words, that she was outof her depth as my case was "unusual " and they needed more medical advice.

    I am now waiting for an OH appointment, something I requested ahead of the meeting, and interestingly they don't seem to see it as urgent, unlike HR.

    The letter I received post meeting was also a bit of a climb down on their part as it now refers to "reasonable " targets.
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • yarisyaris Posts: 96
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi I have had formal meeting two weeks ago at work don't worry they are there to help you I had hr there two manages there as well I spoke to union unite who I belong to they would not come down they said its just something
    My works have to do at my meeting they talked about how they could help me get back to work make things easy for me etc I was like you very worried
    But there there to help you you are also covered under the 2010 act and they
    No it
  • bouncebounce Posts: 106
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Slosh, I have just found my short term absence management printout and I dont know if this will help but firms listen for Trigger words in any meeting as it could mean progressing to the next level in the meetings or identifying an area needing their support. Ongoing medical condition, Work related stress ( the bosses are responsible) or even depression is covered.
    it helps if you have all the medical information to remind them of the treatments you have gone through, get your medical team ready to help out with any extra information and definately see CAB, they can give you a lot of advice. they know of your problems, and as LTC people know we will not take any time off unless we are really really desperate, hospital appointments you have the right for reasonable time off for your medical appts, and if you can come up with more ways to ease the areas they are worried about then you can start to get the upper hand. You have to just keep pushing at them and staying tough You are definately covered by the equality act of 2010, just read as much of that as you can to see what you can use or not.

    But it all comes down to HR who can say which way the meeting goes. they are pretty well up to date on the legal issues that will arise in any meeting.

    Good Luck for any meetings with them and I really hope it goes well for you. I dont know if any of the stuff I put on here is of any use, I hope it is.

    I will keep every bit of me that I can crossed for good luck for you.

    Jules.
  • SloshSlosh Posts: 3,194
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for that. OH are supportive of me remaining in work and fingers crossed if I manage through my three days next week I will have done half a term (6 weeks )with no absences. The last two weeks have been a bit more challenging but even so it is an improvement. Still no news on when the review will be, (so much for it being urgent and HR meeting with me again before the end of January ), however I have got support from my union and my rep will come to my next meeting whenever it is.
    HR rep I saw obviously wasn't up to speed with the equalities act and her attitude was quite insulting, I was sitting there with a splint on my wrist and my crutches beside me and she asked if I had proof of my disability!
    He did not say you will not be storm tossed, you will not be sore distressed, you will not be work weary. He said you will not be overcome.
    Julian of Norwich
  • TheLordFlasheartTheLordFlasheart Posts: 346
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Slosh,

    Its a shame that you have to get your union involved, but you have no choice if your HR is clueless on the Equalities act.

    I'll be going for a infomal back to work meeting when I go back to work, due to a OA flare up, so may use some of these tips to push for a OH referral.
    "Stoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast"
Sign In or Register to comment.