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New job, references and previous sick leave

Rach101Rach101 Posts: 165

Im just looking for a bit of advice on the above! I got arthritis at the end of April and was off work for 4 months on sick leave before I handed my notice in. I then still had a zero hours contract and I honoured all the shifts that I arranged through that contract so I have now had 4 months without any sick leave with the same employer. I have just handed in my notice with that job as I felt I needed a fresh start as they weren't at all supportive re my condition.

Health wise I have a diagnosis now of spondyloarthritis with enthesitis and am on steroids and soon starting sulfasalazine to control the symptoms. I am feeling really well and have applied for and been offered a new job.

I am concerned about my previous sick leave and wonder if they will ask my employer about it when requesting references? Should I raise it the issue first myself? I am confident that I will manage this new job and scared that they will withdraw the offer based on my previous sick leave. Any advice would be appreciated.



  • helpline_teamhelpline_team Posts: 1,961
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rach101,

    Congratulations on your job offer! I hope this will be the fresh start you are looking for, in a more supportive environment.

    The Arthritis Care booklet, ‘Working and arthritis’ has a section called, ‘Should I tell a potential employer about my arthritis?’ (see pages 9 – 10: https://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/do-i-have-arthritis/publications/225-working-with-arthritis). This section includes the issues you have raised about sick leave. In short, a potential employer should not ask you about sickness absence during the recruitment process but can ask health-related questions (including questions about sick leave) after you have been offered a job.

    I’m glad that your arthritis is now well-controlled medically and that you are feeling so well. It sounds as if you have good reason to be confident about the new job. Yes, there is a lot to consider and the level of detail you share with your potential manager and future colleagues would be your decision. I can understand how, after your last experience, it may feel risky to tell a new employer about your health. In the long-term, though, many people find that being open about having arthritis can bring peace of mind, which in turn helps them to cope well – both at work and in life.

    It is also worth considering that anyone with a long-term health condition or disability has legal protection to equal opportunities under the Equality Act. However, your employer would need to be aware of your condition to offer you this protection.

    If it would help to talk things over, I hope you will call us on the Arthritis Care helpline.

    Best wishes,

    Rachael, Helplines Worker
  • Rach101Rach101 Posts: 165
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rachael

    Thanks for your reply. I have now filled in an occupational health questionnaire which asked 1. Do you have an illness/disability which may affect your work? I answered no to that one as I am confident that this role is v manageable for me and I don't need any reasonable adjustments. 2. Are you undergoing treatment for an illness or condition? I answered yes and gave details of my diagnosis and medication and current situation as that was clearly the right thing to do.

    I'm so anxious about it though, my last employer wasn't supportive at all and I just keep thinking they'll withdraw the job offer or become nasty about it all. I've never been an anxious person but I've been panicking about my sick leave and my references and now this questionnaire. It seems like I've finally had some good news and it could all fall through.

    Anyway, sorry to go on, I did try phoning the helpline at about 4.30 this evening but it was v busy so I didn't get through but I may call again tomorrow.

    Thanks for your ongoing support
  • helpline_teamhelpline_team Posts: 1,961
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rach101,

    I'm sorry you couldn't get through yesterday afternoon, but we were on other calls. The lines have been open all morning, so do keep trying.

    You've not mentioned the kind of work you'll be doing (but certain very physical jobs can offer particular difficulties) - but it may be worth considering how you might approach any bad days, so that your support can be factored in.

    I do hope we can be of further help

    Kind regards

  • Rach101Rach101 Posts: 165
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Yes of course I understand you were busy, it's no problem.
    The new job won't be at all demanding physically which is good, I'm just hoping it goes through ok.
    thanks :)
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