Off sick - are you obliged to tell work whats wrong with you?

(11 Posts)
Nottalotta Wed 16-Oct-13 07:53:17

Just that really. Things are really difficult at work at the moment. Manager worse than useless and is barely talking to their team. Manager appears unable to seperate work issues with personal ones. Just really feel uncomfortable telling them personal stuff about me when they can't even say good mornibg.

(obvs a big back story here sorry)

flowery Wed 16-Oct-13 08:38:38

Well, it's a bit unusual not to, but if it's something very personal like gynaecological issues or something, and you don't want your manager knowing, don't. Of course that's only going to apply if you are only off for a short time as if it's longer than a week you'll have to get medical certificates.

Also, if you get any sick pay through work other than SSP, you may find this is withdrawn depending on the rules of the scheme, if you are not cooperative with giving them sufficient information.

LineRunner Wed 16-Oct-13 08:42:04

If you are off long enough to require a sick note, your GP does have to give a reason on the certificate.

Can you talk to someone in HR?

Glenshee Wed 16-Oct-13 11:37:20

It would be very unusual and would look suspicious if you refuse to talk about it point blank. Try to come up with a version that you are comfortable with.

GPs are usually happy to cooperate - for example they can put stress in your sick note, even though there might be underlying other issues etc.

If it's short absence, and GP isn't involved, then say it's a headache, backache, stomach bug, cold etc - something that sounds minor and common, something that is sort of true but isn't complete truth.

Your boss isn't necessarily itching to know the full story either, but in his position he can't avoid asking the question and will expect to receive a reasonable answer.

BrownSauceSandwich Wed 16-Oct-13 15:28:46

Check your employer's sick policy. It's pretty common that they ask you to specify on self-certification forms, and if you get a sick note from your doctor, that'll give sme indication. But consider just how vague you can be! At my work place, we have to pick from a dropdown list which includes things like "virus" (could be a cold sore, could be Ebola), "musculoskeletal"(stubbed toe? Slipped disc? Fractured skull?) or, my personal favourite, "substance abuse" (who admits to that one???)

If its the return to work interview where your manager gets a bit inappropriate, try just saying, "sorry, but it's a bit personal. I'd really rather not talk about it." As I see it, a return to work interview should really be an opportunity for your employer to assure themselves that you are ready to get back to it, and to make sure they are doing what they need to to prevent you getting sick again. If you think it's dissolving into gossip, then a gentle hint should be enough to remind them what you're there for.

Do keep in mind that it might not be in your interest to be too obscure about it, and it almost certainly isn't in your interest to lie about it. Ok, they don't need the gory details of a one-off stomach bug, but say you're suffering from recurring back trouble, or chest infections, your employer ought to be given fair warning that they might need to improve your workstation or the air quality.

Varya Wed 16-Oct-13 15:30:41

Tell him you have acute rhinitis (spelling?) that will keep him intrigued!

holidaysarenice Sun 20-Oct-13 14:56:37

One of my bosses couldn't be trusted to keep her mouth shut. So I informed her I would be off for x time, and would forward the gp note asap to HOUR. I would keep in contact near the end of that time to advise of return.

She was not happy that she didn't know but tough!!

pokesandprodsforthelasttime Sun 20-Oct-13 15:00:05

I never not told them why, but I have been quite vague.

And I have asked GPs to put something vague on a sick note, and they've been more than happy too.

Barnes1 Sun 20-Oct-13 15:38:06

Bear in mind, if you are referred to Occupational Health, more detail may be required, so firstly, don't wander too far from the truth and secondly as it doesn't sound a wonderful place to be, perhaps start to consider your exit strategy - working in such environments is corrosive.

Chottie Mon 21-Oct-13 21:40:11

I had a one day gynae surgery recently and did not want details on sick note, nurse wrote 'post surgery recovery' and said that lots of people made that request. Obviously there are a lot of nosey employers about! Good luck flowers

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Mon 21-Oct-13 21:41:51

How big is your employer? It's fine to go straight to HR with the information if you would rather not talk to your manager.

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