To make this offer or suggestions

(57 Posts)
TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 16:37:28

I am line manager to a woman with a broken ankle. There have been some complication and she's now been in plaster for ten Weeks and signed off work. We're in regular contact and she says she wants to be back at work and the only reason she isn't is that she can't drive. Her absence is causing

dissatisfaction among her work mates as they feel she's skiving and they're having to cover for her.

WIBU to offer to pay half of her taxi fayre so she can come to work? (approx 15 each way)

Also does anyone know the legal position?

MsVestibule Fri 25-Jan-13 16:39:55

15 miles or £15? If £15, would that just be 'your' share? What is your company policy on long term sick?

ShamyFarrahCooper Fri 25-Jan-13 16:41:14

You should be speaking to the work mates about not slagging her off when she is signed off. Signed off is the operative word here.

Dawndonna Fri 25-Jan-13 16:43:14

Erm, you are offering to pay the taxi fare for somebody who is off sick?
In what world is that reasonable. I'm sure she would rather be at work, however, she's been signed off for a length of time for a reason.

Pandemoniaa Fri 25-Jan-13 16:43:20

Your company should have sick leave policies. I suggest you consult them first. However it is not U to provide practical support to allow someone to return to work. You don't, however, pander to accusations of skiving.

Crawling Fri 25-Jan-13 16:44:49

I wouldnt pay the taxi fare but I may offer a lift.

DontmindifIdo Fri 25-Jan-13 16:47:13

If she's only signed off because she's incapbale of getting to work due to her ankle and you have a company policy that allows expensing of taxis under certain circumstances, you wouldn't be wrong to point this out to her that if she did want to come back before the plaster is off then there's an option to get her to work and back once she's deemed fit to work but still not drive.

However I'm surprised, do you work somewhere that's not accessable at all by public transport? If it's just that she can't drive to/from work, surely there's other options than the company paying for taxis...

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 16:48:50

If she's been signed off as unfit to work then that's the end of it and you should be disciplining the other workers and making it very clear that until a doctor gives her the all clear she is legitimately off work and you won't accept any sniping about it!

If otoh, the doctor has signed her as fit to work, then she should be at work. Not everyone has a car! People go on buses etc.

If you wanted to help with taxi fares then be aware you will be setting a precedent and will have to do it for all staff in similar circumstances.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 16:50:51

It's 15 pounds in total.

She's not sick, she can't drive and she says that's the only reason she's not in work.

It's not pandering to want to deal with an issue that's causing workforce issues.

Dawn the reason she's signed off is because she can't drive. Why is it so outrageous to offer get what she apparently wants?)

HecateWhoopass Fri 25-Jan-13 16:52:50

And what will you do when the other workers then start complaining about her being given extra money?

Do any of them live near her? Could give her a lift? you could pay them mileage.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 16:53:33

We are on an excellent bus route, but she feels unable to use on crunches

UKSky Fri 25-Jan-13 16:57:18

If she is signed off by her gp then she is not insured to be at work. If she were to have an accident at work, the company will be liable for any compensation claim.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 17:03:35

That's true US, but if she didn't need t)
o drive he wouldn't have signed her off.

Yes Hecate there are people who would and have offered lifts, I thought that may be even more unreasonable?

I'm on new phone Btw and doing my best!

If she's signed off work she can't come in. You can't override her GP's medical knowledge in the sick note. She may be saying it's because she can't drive but she might not be able to put her weight on it, and need to move it regularly etc which is more difficult behind a desk.

What did her doctor's note say?

And if you're her manager, your job is to support her when she's well enough to come back to work, and to manager her colleagues expectations. She doesn't have to return to work because they think she's skiving. Maybe start discussing other times when staff cover for colleagues, it's just what colleagues do.

quoteunquote Fri 25-Jan-13 17:07:13

If you did this, and the employee then developed further complications, she would have an excellent case against your company.

I would check very carefully with the legal department of your insurers, as they may well want to know before you take this very dubious step.

As for letting anyone pressurise someone who is off due to injury, that is extremely poor management.

but then letting a situation develop where people feel dissatisfied is very bad management, there are many ways that this could be avoided, hiring agency staff or rearranging the structure of the work load,

who ever is running this team is not doing their job properly and is allowing someone who is not there due to health reasons to carry blame, that is shameful,

I hope that this woman gets the apology she deserves, and who ever has failed to make the right decisions for the team, calls a meeting and explains that it is not this woman's fault, it would be very cowedly not to, as she will suffer animosity from work colleagues.

Enfyshedd Fri 25-Jan-13 17:08:26

What does your company's H&S policy say about this? I'm only mentioning it because I work in a highrise building and each time someone has been signed off with leg injuries which have needed crutches (torn tendon, broken leg, etc), they haven't been allowed to come to work as they would be considered a risk in the event of a fire alarm. There is one guy I know of in the building who is in a wheelchair, but there are specific arrangements in place for his safety & evacuation. I imagine that making arrangements for several people over different floors would cause problems that they'd rather avoid.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 17:14:51

Ok, let's assume that she's telling the truth about not driving being the only reason she can't work,obv we would need doc to be happy and sign her fit for work before she can come back.

Also assuming she's genuine in her desire to work, why is it such an unreasonable suggestion? Noones going to force her to come back,just make the offer.

Because whether she's said she's well enough or not, her GP has signed her off as unable to work, not unable to drive or catch buses.

No-one's doubting her desire to work if she's been stuck at home for 10 weeks' worth of daytime telly.

When does her sick note run out?

Her GP could have confirmed that she's fit to work but needed modifications making e.g. reduced hours, take 10 minute walking breaks every hour, but they didn't.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 18:32:28

Yes, but we wouldn't have her back until a Dr has given the ok. ATM this is just an idea and may never happen.

I'll come clean now-I have already taken adv from hr.I'm not sure they're right,but they want to insist she sees co dr with a view to him confirming what she says about driving. Co could then insist that she funds her own taxi,travel to work being her responsibility. My suggestion is a way of avoiding it coming to that.

As for the other staff,if you can honestly say you wouldn't be a but put out by someone posting on fb about the great
break they're having on full pay,then I regret I have never been fortunate enough to work with such saints [Wink]

Nancy66 Fri 25-Jan-13 18:35:27

so she's already been off for 10 weeks?

How much longer is she planning to be off for?

ZenNudist Fri 25-Jan-13 18:53:48

I was going to say ask hr. follow their advice. She is taking the piss posting on fb and shes stupid. That's kind of irrelevant but it's worth letting the company's health adviser deal with her, so petty grievances don't get in the way and they will have best idea of how work can adapt to accommodate her.

Do you think she is telling work one thing 'I really want to come to work, obviously I can't drive, feel unable to catch bus', but telling the doc all sorts of sob stories to get 10weeks off'? Do you think she is exaggerating how hard it is to get into work without a car?

Frankly I wouldn't fancy having to crutch it to & from a bus stop to my work. But I would then work from home. I certainly wouldn't take a full ten weeks off as I'd be pretty sure to get a reputation as a shirker and lose any goodwill when I want pay rise/ promotion in the future. Is this someone who is just a jobs worth or is she usually a good worker?

Fwiw I think you're taxi idea is a bad one. Follow he policy, otherwise could In a well meaning way cause problems for your company re a claim.

ZenNudist Fri 25-Jan-13 18:56:14

Oh and your co doctor could well look to move her onto statutory sick pay. Would that convince her to come back to work? grin

Shesparkles Fri 25-Jan-13 18:56:15

I'd be checking my employer's insurance policy.... It's not just about getting her to work, how would she exit the building in case of emergency etc?

I think you're needing to be giving the rest of your staff a massive kick up the arse about their petty and juvenile behaviour before you're offering to pay taxi fares

manticlimactic Fri 25-Jan-13 19:31:16

My company won't allow you back to work if you're on crutches. You're best checking the company policy.

2kidsintow Fri 25-Jan-13 21:23:25

Our deputy head came into work with a broken arm because he felt like a fraud sitting at home.

He was sent straight back home by the head teacher as he wasn't covered by our insurance to be at work if he was signed off by the doctor.

If it is as simple as 'she really wants to work' then she could go back to the doctor and asked to be signed back as fit to work and then make different arrangements.

I've been on crutches though- and it's knackering and not easy. It has a knock on effect for your whole body and makes you clumsy. I'd hate to have to evacuate in a fire drill for example.

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