Work asked me to make up time off sick

Evening all,

I spoke with my manager today about the extreme pain I am in for 4-6 days of every month (ladies time of the month) when it triggers my OA in my right knee. I have suffered the past 12 months and its just getting worse. I am on strong medication which I try not to take whilst working as it can affect me.

She spoke with HR who have offered me not to go off sick every month but instead calculate the hours I would be 'ill' and make the time up throughout the rest of the month. So if I would be off 30-45hrs I would make up these hours to take the days off but not use sick. Can they do this?

I work for a big employer with a generous sick pay scheme (6 months full pay). I haven't been off sick the past 12 months even though it has been a struggle. I have been working from home for the past 12 months and currently homeschooling my child. I'm unsure how I could increase my working hours to cover my ill days.

I have given consent for my occ health dept to contact my gp and surgeon too. Any advice would be gratefully received. Thanks


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 27,847

    Well that's a bit like 'flexi-time' isn't it?

    I don't know if it's legal, but if you are regularly off sick could they say you are not fit to do the job?

    There is someone who comes on here who might know the answer @MoWW

    A genuine question from a peer/friend on here have you considered asking your GP is there is anything that could be done to stop the frequency of your periods? My middle daughter takes the pill for several months without a break and the eldest has a special coil which reduces the duration/severity.

    Take care

  • Bits1987
    Bits1987 Member Posts: 6

    Thank you for your reply. I never know if I am over-reacting or whether it is a reasonable request.

    I've not had any sickness in the past 12 months as I have pushed myself through, however the pain is increasing and it's becoming harder. I didn't want the stigma attached to 'oh it's just period pain' when the pain is only in my right knee and not the rest of my body. I have OA in both knees but at the last scan my left knee was worse, so I'm puzzled why I'm struggling with the better knee.

    I do have a telephone consultation with my GP today, I've been on 3 different contraceptive pills over the past 12 months trying to find the right one, so I will ask the question today. They don't want to look into my medication until I speak to my surgeon (I've emailed his secretary) as he thinks the pain is specialist and not linked to my estrogen levels 🤯

    Thank you.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 27,847

    You've done well not to take any time off at all @Bits1987

    I totally understand you not wanting work to know you are unwell due to extra pain in your knee exacerbated by menstruation.

    These issues should not be minimised nor a stigma, but sadly I think you might be right.

    Hope your Dr has some ideas. Good luck ((()))

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 67

    Hello @Bits1987

    I understand when you have a condition that impacts on you such as this that it can be challenging to find a way to manage your work and your health. Your employer seems to be trying to find a way to allow you to work flexibly to accommodate times when you are unable to work, they cannot make you change your way of working or stop you from taking sick leave. This flexibly work suggestion can be a practical solution if you have used up or have limited sickness allowance and may be worried about going on to reduced pay. However you have not used any sick leave and managed to work through the times when you are in pain, though you may be feeling that you cannot continue to do this and may have to consider time off to rest and recuperate.

    If you wish to take up the offer of flexible working and feel you can make up the time over the month then that is an option to try, some months will be different as your period of sickness may overlap on to a weekend. However if you feel unable to work and the suggested way of adjusting your hours will put too much pressure on you then you should consider taking sick leave. It may be that a combination of both of these may help. Speaking with your union rep if you have one, your manager or HR about how this would impact on your health and wellbeing may help you come to a decision. Happy to discuss this further you can find my contact details on this link. Working Well with Arthritis (

    Flexible working Flexible working: Types of flexible working - GOV.UK (

    ACAS sick leave Sick pay and holiday pay: Checking sick pay - Acas

    hope this helps,


  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 67

    Hi @Bits1987

    I meant to add in my previous reply that you could ask your employer to consider furloughing you part time? This may help reduce the pressure of managing your condition and home-schooling.

    Using furlough: Furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Acas

    Check which employees you can put on furlough to use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - GOV.UK (


    Maureen @MoWW

  • Bits1987
    Bits1987 Member Posts: 6

    Hi Maureen,

    Thank you for your reply. I can see that my employer is being supportive, now I've calmed down a little :)

    My specialist has moved my appointment nearer so I only have a month to go. I may see how I get on this month without making any time up and hope I don't need to use sickness. I am on leave for a week this month so it would leave me less time to make up my time owed or would mean me adding many more hours to my usual working day. Its been a stressful month or so with adding homeschooling into the mix so hopefully it's something I will find easier to do once school starts back up.

    Ideally I need to get a new chair to help with working from home, hopefully this can assist me more too. Maybe OH will pick up on this when I speak with them.

    Thank you again for your time. Carlene. Xx

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 67

    Hi @Bits1987

    hopefully you will be able to find a solution that suits you. Considering a chair for working at home, your employer has a duty of care to ensure you are working safely. If you have a condition or disability which may mean you require a specific type of chair then this should be provided either through your OH or if you apply to Access to work.

    Homeworkers (

    Making working from home arrangements: Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic - Acas

    Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK (

    Maureen @MoWW

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