Disability related absences!!


Right guys, I need your help please!!! When I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis, my employers were less than supportive. Long story short, they recorded all disability related absences as sickness, refused to change it then issued me with a 12 month warning. Employers don’t have to record them separately by law, so I’m on a mission to try and change it, but I don’t know how. I asked my M.P to raise it in Parliament, she seemed keen at first but I can’t get any response from her now. I’ve tried to contact radio 4, and bbc ouch and access all @ bbc but have had no response from any. I can’t be the only employee who has faced this issue surely? Any ideas how, who, what I can do??


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,550

    Hi @Millymoo

    This is definitely the way work absences are being treated these days. You are by no means the only person to raise the issue. For some it has meant being 'finished' by their employer under capability

    Have you seen this:

    It might be worth asking our admin @PeterJ if he can raise it as an issue with Versus Arthritis?

    Take care

    Toni x

  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Administrator Posts: 902

    Hello @Millymoo try calling our Helpline as they might have some idea regarding your legal rights and you can explain more fully the details to them

    Good luck

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Millymoo
    Millymoo Member Posts: 5

    Hi @PeterJ

    thank you for your advice. To be honest, in order to preserve my mental health I have given up my fight. I had Unison involved, HR, citizen’s advice, and an employment lawyer kindly gave me free advice. My final port of call was the school governors. It all came down to the “grey area” of wording and I ended up having a mental breakdown. I now need to concentrate on getting to August with no days off or they will sack me. They let me leave early for a few weeks to attend physio, but refused only this week to let me have 90 minutes a week for the next 7 weeks for counselling their argument being they let me have time off for physio. They tried to pay me off, which I rejected for two reasons, I want to work, and it’s a state school so “tax payers “ money!

    so I want to fight to change the law for the next generation so there isn’t the grey area! I have worked in 2 education settings and in order to improve pupils attendance they give them rewards for 100% attendance, day trips etc. there are obviously pupils with long term health issues or disabilities who never achieve this 100% so are disadvantaged. This will likely continue into work (as I have found out). Soooo that’s what I’m after help with, raising awareness, getting the law changed! That’s where I’m hitting a brick wall, no one seems interested. It’s too late for me!!

  • Michellou1908

    Hi, I have joined this site as I am having a few struggles with my employer too. Iam hoping that someone might have useful advice. I have psoriatic arthritis and administer biologicals twice weekly, and consequently have a suppresed immune system. I had very little time off work, up to the point where I had covid. I shielded during the pandemic but on returning to work (I am assistand head of early years) The little ones often carry germs and want to be in very close proximity! I worked at the setting for 15 years before I was recognised as needing some adaptations. I asked for a light switch in the cupboard where I work as I suffer from headaches after methotrexate and wanted to turn off the auto light some days. It was only at this point that triggered a visit to OH and from then support was reluctantly provided. It is more the effects of the medication that lead to absences and I was told that I need to improve as otherwise, I could be taken down the medical capabilities route. I have been in touch with my union representitive as minutes from meetings have not been factual. I have been asked how I plan to improve my health.

    I lost my father at the end of Jan and have found things very difficult; the loss and issues surrounding my employment. I went to see my doctor, explaining the scenario and he provided a fit note. This of course is separate to my other health issues but I have since received a letter inviting me to a meeting where it says that I may be given a written warning or a final warning. I have not had a warning before and have worked for the setting for 21 years. I'm not sure what to do but finding it really hard to cope. If anyone can offer advice, I would really appreciate it. I love my job, but feel that I am being pushed out.

    Thank you in advance of a reply.

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 1,003

    Hello @Michellou1908 and welcome to the online community,

    I understand that you have psoriatic arthritis and you’re having problems with your employer due to various issues including absences relating to the effects of your medication. It’s important to understand that you do have rights at work, and certainly speaking with your union is a good step forward.

    I’m linking to some information on our website that may be of interest to you - it’s about the support you are entitled to from your employer and from the Government.

    If you’d like to talk to someone, our helplines are available each day, and they will be able to offer you information and support with issues at work.

    Other members may be along to share their stories as several members have experienced challenges with work situations.

    Do let us know how you get on,

    Anna ( Moderator)

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 75

    I am sorry to hear of the issues that you have been having with your employer. Disability leave is something that unions had tried to raise this issue in the past. There is some good information on it and some employers will consider this. These links gives you some details of good practice, https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/7835/Disability-leave-2016/pdf/Disability_Leave_2016.pdf and https://www.unison.org.uk/content/uploads/2019/11/Disability-Leave-bargaining-guide-and-model-policy.pdf

    If you are a member of a union, consider getting support from your rep and checking out their guidance. ACAS is also helpful and may be able to offer information. Disability-related absence: Supporting disabled people at work - Acas

    It is also useful to read the policies within your workplace to ensure your manager or HR are following the procedures laid down in them.

    Hope this information is of help