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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?

DamnBamboo Fri 25-Jan-13 21:35:13

All other issues asides, you sound like a shit line manager OP!

Altinkum Fri 25-Jan-13 21:40:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lljkk Fri 25-Jan-13 21:43:10

DH would use a taxi to get to work. Or he'd work at home. Heck, he'd crawl thru the snow if that was only way.

MolehillAlchemy Fri 25-Jan-13 21:49:04

If she's needing a further ten weeks in plaster because of complications, then she could be facing a lifetime of problems if she doesn't get the rest she needs. Just because she's saying to her line manager on the phone that she'd rather be at work, doesn't mean that's what's she's really thinking. FFS, give her a break. Give her time for her bloody ankle to heal properly, without stressing about what people at work are saying. We're humans not bloody robots!

takeaway2 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:06:21

If she really wants to work but can't come in then why can't you truck some work to her? Post it or drop it off at hers, get her a company laptop?

I have come across companies paying in similar situations (where the employee was willing and able to work but unable to drive). It makes perfect sense. Can the company doctor really overrule a sick note from her GP?

footballmum Fri 25-Jan-13 22:26:25

As others have said I think you'll find it's an insurance issue. Your Employers Liability Insurance definitely won't cover her whilst she's signed off as unfit to attend work so her doctor would need to sign her back on again. However, she may still not be covered if emergency evacuation procedures may be hampered by her injury. If you can overcome those hurdles then I don't think YABU and it sounds a reasonable solution to the issue.

HoHoHoNoYouDont Fri 25-Jan-13 22:36:27

I might be wrong here but I've been told that if your HR dept referred her to Occupational Health then the Occ Health doctor may be able to override her own GP. Doesn't happen that often but the doctor may pass the employee fit to do alternative work and also advise that the company arrange for suitable transport. I have a friend in Occ Health and she says this happens from time to time. Suppose it depends on the company and their policies.

PrettyKitty1986 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:50:58

If she's already been in plaster for 10 weeks then I can't imagine it will take much longer. Personally I think you're being silly going the whole occ health route. It can take weeks or even months for an occ health process to be followed. It's not as simple as get her to see a co gp then boom, 2 days later she's back. I'd wait it out and certainly not be paying any taxis for her. It's the managers job to keep other employees toeing the line and people having the hump is not a reason to try and force her back to work.

Xmasbaby11 Fri 25-Jan-13 22:56:06

Just let her recover!

HollyBerryBush Fri 25-Jan-13 22:59:19

the reason she's signed off is because she can't drive

I don't believe that at all!

She is signed off because she is unfit forwork NOT transpoert issues, otherwise ther would be a plethora of people stating they dont like public transport/broken down car and getting docs certs to cover.

Enfyshedd Fri 25-Jan-13 23:08:20

One of my friends was off work for 3 1/2 months with a broken leg which required an operation following an accident. She was fed up of being at home and wanted to return to work. She might have cracked jokes about the perks of of being off sick included having hunky ambulance men carrying her up & down the stairs to her 2nd floor flat when she had hospital appointments, but she sure as hell wasn't enjoying having no independance and being trapped at home the rest of the time. If the doc has signed her off, then that is that.

TheInnerSea Fri 25-Jan-13 23:17:25

fgs,I'm being told by hr,that I need to get her back to work, nothing to do with the other staff, just that she's being paid to do nothing and they don't like it. ultimately I'll have to do as I'm told.but have been looking for a way to avoid laying down the law. Of course the company Dr can override what gp says esp as there is no obligation to keep paying her. In any case the reality is that the Co Dr would speak to gp and agree what is or isn't ok for her in terms of travel and duties.

She can't work from home it's a customer facing role.

ImperialBlether Fri 25-Jan-13 23:23:14

I really wouldn't want to work for your organisation, OP.

Greenkit Fri 25-Jan-13 23:28:32

Of course the company Dr can override what gp says esp as there is no obligation to keep paying her

But if you pay sick pay, then yes you are obliged to pay her, if she is signed off sick she isnt taking the piss FFS

tiggytape Fri 25-Jan-13 23:36:42

fgs,I'm being told by hr,that I need to get her back to work, nothing to do with the other staff, just that she's being paid to do nothing and they don't like it

If you keep trying to find ways to get her to go back when she is signed off sick you are going to be risking a tribunal.
You shouldn't even be contacting her to question her degree of sickness. She is signed off sick and that's an end to it whatever HR or the other employess think. She would be entitled to lodge a grievance against you for harrassment if you keep calling her and trying to force her into returning when she has been deemed medically unfit to do so.

tiggytape Fri 25-Jan-13 23:42:15

... and I'd tell HR to do their own dirty work if I were you because at the moment you stand to be held accountable if she happens to get advice or is in a union.

She has every right to be off sick, to be paid for being off sick (if that is company policy), to not return to work until she is deemed fit and to block you from any direct contact with her GP. I understand you're getting pressure from all sides but she is totally in the right and protected by law. Basically there is nothing you can do about it and trying to force her to come in is not on.

Tell the other employees if they're so jealous they can all go and break their own legs and have time off angry
I do know how frustrating this is-have managed large numbers of staff over the years and to see your team barely heads above water whilst someone 'isn't quite sure if they're up to returning yet. Maybe see in a couple of weeks' etc is hideous. However that is just the nature of large organisations. Your job is to adhere to the policy and tick your boxes-not create more problems for the future for yourself shelling out on cabs.
Believe me-employees will gladly fit and bullshit you about being desperate about wanting to come back when they don't but ultimately it's tough. She is off sick, not out dancing on her broken leg on the sly. Just leave her well alone-you really don't want to be accused of bullying once she returns.

I am really confused. The employee has indicated that she would like to be back at work and is only signed off because she can't drive there. Why is there a problem with the OP, the employee, HR, occupational health doc and the GP working together to find a solution that allows the employee to fulfil her desire to return to work earlier with suitable adjustments?

The employee may be lying about wanting to get back to work ASAP, but I think you should be able to take adults at face value and I would certainly rather my employer believed me.

HecateWhoopass Sat 26-Jan-13 07:43:45

Do whatever you see fit. You're a manager. You've had advice from HR. You're surely not going to make a decision based on what some random people on the internet think, are you?

You don't need our agreement or approval or for us to agree with you that she really ought to come back to work.

Do what you think is the right thing to do.

hotbot Sat 26-Jan-13 08:15:52

Follow h.r. Let her come into work late and leave early for extra travel time, her g.p. needs to send a fit note, o.h. Needs to assess her before she returns to work.
She can work in crutches, you just may need to allow her to work around it. Talk to her invite her in for a catch up
It really isn't rocket science and its not your responsibility to pay her taxi fares.

ifancyashandy Sat 26-Jan-13 09:31:02

I was off sick for 4 months with a broken leg. I was non weight baring, on crutches and in a cast following an operation post break. I would have loved to have been able to work but the pain killers I was on made me so floppy and exhausted that they plus the exhaustion of a bad break made it impossible. It's physically tiring being on crutches whilst your body heals a break.

If my managers were trying to get me back to work whilst I was legally signed off sick, I would have sought legal advice.

MostlyFine Sat 26-Jan-13 10:22:18

I had knee surgery last year and was unable to drive but wanted to return to work and they paid for my taxi's to and from. My gp was happy to sign me back knowing that I would not be driving. Obviously this is only anecdotal but, once I stated I would rather come back I was pleased by the offer. I would not have been happy to be offered this without my first saying that I would like to return though so, so long as the employer brings it up I don't see any harm in offering so long as you enquiry about what else may be a hindrance for her

Onewomanandherdog Sat 26-Jan-13 10:24:27

I too was off work for 12-13 weeks for a broken ankle. My company also wanted me back to work as soon as possible. It was about this time of year too and crutches don't work too well in the ice and snow! Steps were a massive problem as was going to the toilet through fire doors that I couldn't 'push'. There is also the issue that I needed to have leg elevated for at least 20 minutes of every hour. Can't carry anything etc. I went in for a chat with my line manager one day and pointed out all these things, sometimes people don't understand what day to day issues are involved.

tiggytape Sat 26-Jan-13 13:01:46

That is very true Onewoman.
Whilst driving is totally impossible with a leg in plaster, many other things are also much harder or more dangerous too. Not being able to carry anything or use your hands when standing up, not being able to open doors that go inwards, not being able stay standing for very long as well as needing to avoid steps and being permanently off balance...

..the chances of falling over or hurting yourself again must be reasonably high when you are struggling around on crutches all day especially in bad weather and especially in a busy work environment.
It is one thing to be able to sit at home with your leg on the sofa and hobble around to get lunch but it is quite another thing to be able to do an 8 hour day at work whilst on crutches. It depends on the job and the building I guess. If it was a ground floor office and she could sit all day with her leg up to work and get a taxi to the door then that is one thing but if it involves standing or moving around or negotiating steps then there is no way a Dr should deem her fit even if the taxi was sorted out - she'll end up doing herself another injury.

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