Work Based Paranoia

donnas
donnas Member Posts: 119
I work for a huge public sector employer (I'll let you guess the rest). They have a Draconian policy on absence (4 strikes in a year and it's HR even though they know about my RA). I feel pressured to come to work when ill/infected although my immune system is weak and I work in an environment where catching things could be dangerous for me and the people I work with.

I've got good Union support but I feel paranoid every time I have to take time off. Last time I had a flare up I went in although I couldn't write or even hold a pen. I go in with fevers and stinking colds - the only things that keep me off are being unable to walk/move and vomiting.

I live alone and have to pay my own mortgage and I'm really scared that one day they'll have had enough and fire me. There are lots of cuts coming up for us public sector workers and I wonder if they'll see me as an easy target. I know they have to go through procedures but like a lot of you it seems that the people in power don't care.

I'm going back to work tomorrow after a joint injection that had me in agony and unable to stand up without a crutch or crying in pain. It's getting better now, thankfully and hopefully my meds will control everything for a while.

I just feel desperate sometimes and that having arthritis is one day going to stop me in my tracks, without a job and having to move in with my elderly parents out of town because I can't fend for myself anymore.

This is just a moan really, but I'd really like to talk to people going through the same thing.

Comments

  • janie68
    janie68 Member Posts: 1,186
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Donnas

    I too work for a big public sector company (the NHS) and I have recently hit 2nd formal sickness. Basically at my meeting I was told that it's redeployment (which is a no as there are no jobs) or ill health retirement. I am working at my usual place on a phased return to see how it goes. So yes I'm worried like you, we would be the 1st to go wouldn't we?

    Have you applied for DLA? That would give you a little more income and then you could reduce your hours? Have you asked for extra breaks, equipmnent to help you at work? Access to work can provide this for you.
    It's very hard to balance RA and work, I've been trying for 16 years and I know it won't go on for much longer. But I'm not in your position, you must be worried. Reducing my hours did help me, maybe that could be something to try.

    Good luck
    and you are ok to moan!

    Janie
  • donnas
    donnas Member Posts: 119
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    janie68 wrote:
    Hi Donnas

    I too work for a big public sector company (the NHS) and I have recently hit 2nd formal sickness. Basically at my meeting I was told that it's redeployment (which is a no as there are no jobs) or ill health retirement. I am working at my usual place on a phased return to see how it goes. So yes I'm worried like you, we would be the 1st to go wouldn't we?

    Have you applied for DLA? That would give you a little more income and then you could reduce your hours? Have you asked for extra breaks, equipmnent to help you at work? Access to work can provide this for you.
    It's very hard to balance RA and work, I've been trying for 16 years and I know it won't go on for much longer. But I'm not in your position, you must be worried. Reducing my hours did help me, maybe that could be something to try.

    Good luck
    and you are ok to moan!

    Janie

    Hi Janie, thanks for the reply. Sorry to hear about your situation at work. I have DLA already (but Iimagine I'll be refused it when they reassess everyone) and work part time for health reasons. I have asked for extra adjustments (an office based job - I don't have that at the moment) in the past but have been told this isn't possible. I think it is though, but they won't budge. I don't know anything about Access to work and I don't really need any equipment at work although better seating and computer wouldn't go amiss.

    I've had arthritis all my working life and I'm better now than I've been for a long time, but I know I'm not going to get any better than this without a magic wand.

    My health comes first but without a job I'd lose my independence and any chance of a future. I want to move house because I live in an upstairs flat, but this would be impossible without the level of income I have now.

    I'm feeling pretty bleak at the moment and I hope it won't come to that but I feel like I have to be prepared for the worst.
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi donna

    Girl you are coping with such a lot! I read your post about your toe injection and can hardly believe you were prepared to go back to work so soon.... and in such pain. :roll: :shock:

    You have rights Donna under DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) as you have a long term condition that impacts on your day to day life ....and that places responsibilities and duties on your employer to assist you.

    I've posted you a link to nras website publications section... they have a very helpful booklet that you can download (or they'll send to you) that explains about DDA and gives advice on how to access help to stay in your job..or re-deployment if that's an option.
    http://www.nras.org.uk/help_for_you/publications/publication_detail.aspx?id=a0B80000005CJTdEAO

    nras also provide a booklet for employers that explains their duties under DDA to provide what are called 'reasonable adjustments' to help disabled employees remain within their post.

    You've said that you don't think you need aids... then went on to say that a chair or computer might be helpful so maybe there are things that could be done to help you at work?

    There is a lot can be done to improve your working position but assessment is the key to moving things forward for you.

    You could contact your local jobcentreplus and ask to speak to a Disability Employment Adviser.... who may then arrange for you to have an Access to Work Assessment. Basically they assess under DDA to see if they can provide aids or supports to keep you in your job (like a chair, keyboard, software programmes). They also make recommendations to employers about what 'reasonable adjustments' should be made to help you. ( for example..reduced hours, change in shift pattern, phased return)

    It's worth a call Donna!

    Your OH department also can assess your needs under DDA... some employers refer their employees automatically after X amount of absences... but you can also self refer.

    I don't want to waffle on, but want you to know that there is help out there... you just need to know how to access it!

    Iris xxx
  • oneday
    oneday Member Posts: 1,650
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I really feel for you and hope someone can help you i.e. the union are the best.
    I have same problems where i am in that youre afraid to be genuinely off sick as threat of procedures leading to dismissal etc - so much so people go to work when clearly not well - its [email protected] and i feel like its back to draconian days - only thing i think it karma is gonna get them! - hope so.....if you want to see others feeling totally annoyed with work theres a website, probably cant name it but if you type in the word rant and work the other way round you will get it.
  • donnas
    donnas Member Posts: 119
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you for your replies.

    Things have been a bit better at work lately but I fear the **** may be about to hit the fan tomorrow. Wish me luck.
  • oneday
    oneday Member Posts: 1,650
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    good luck,take a union rep in, dont overly talk i.e dont fill in managers gaps!! and when left write notes down. Perhaps requrest you are sent to occup health?
  • speedalong
    speedalong Member Posts: 3,347
    edited 12. Nov 2010, 04:50
    Hi Donnas,

    Good luck with your meeting. Do you have anyone going with you?

    Struggling in to work and struggling to get through a day of tasks other people can physically do without thinking is something people only understand if they have experienced it. The total exhaustion and the pain afterwards is also only understood by those who have been there.

    Definitely get a work place assessment via access to work or OT. Have to ATW were very quick to sort out assessment. Anything to make life easier and also makes it clear to management that they have obligations to support you.

    Also good to have that you are covered by DDA openly acknowledged, it was put in my ATW report - this makes the employers more accountable too.

    Speedy
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • maria09
    maria09 Member Posts: 1,905
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I also work for the NHS
    Had written warning as sickness was 4.5% & not under 3.9% went to appeal lost that!
    Even though they knew it was my OA & I have it in every joint but how can you win when they couldnt even understand I had pain 24/7!
    Ive even got occ health on my side
    7 monhts down the line I was so worried & stressed abt going off sick I had a melt down & Had 4wks off work related stress
    at least its classed as long term sick so the % does not count not that my manager knew that also my % went to 0% after the written warning which she didnt know either she had to check with Hr who said she wasnt sure so I banded abt that my union rep had spoken to a high up bod in HR & I was correct
    More stress! I know that policy back to front now even told my boss & HR in sickness review meeting what they should be doing
    So now Im having my carpal tunnels done on mon & occ health doctor says i should have at least 3wks off such a lovely man so 1 in the eye for them!
    Sorry Ive highjacked your post!
    It seems strange working for the caring proffession & no one seems to care about us!
    May be we should just give up but im stubborn I aint going to let them win
    Thank you for listening to the ramblings of an old woman well 47yr old!
    Keep strong dont let em get you down
    Maria x
    PS my union rep for unison is excellent make good use of them
  • oneday
    oneday Member Posts: 1,650
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    you know the funny thing here...these are public sector employers who have rules for the private sector but dont practise what they preach!
  • masaka
    masaka Member Posts: 47
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello,

    You have my sympathy. Like you I live alone and have a mortgage to pay. I have also gone in when I could barely walk or hold a pen and put up with all sorts of hassle from my employer. I have given up now, and decided it simply is no longer worth the stress. Have you considered downsizing?

    There are organisations that go through what benefits you would be able to get. It might be worth a look. I have realised that in the end I won't starve. Also what is the point in paying off a mortgage when in the end people like us will have to sell up to pay for the care we will undoubtedly need in the future. People are being made redundant all of the time at the moment and yet still manage to survive.

    Stopping is scary, but now I have done it I have realised just how horendous the battle had become over the last few years. I have realised that I can't physically do this any more.

    Can your union help? Mine is looking at the possibility. I doubt it will happen as the odds seem stacked in favour of the employer. I have also realised that the employment legislation is not really worth the paper it is written on.

    Good luck,

    Masaka