Loss of increment due to sickness

(12 Posts)
wellcoveredsparerib Fri 04-Apr-14 18:12:08

I have recently returned to work after having planned surgery. I have been off for 6 weeks ( the minimum advised after this op ) I have now been told I will have a salary increment taken off me due to my sickness record. I had an exemplary record before my recent time of, so no issues from before.

I can and will appeal but feel this is a real injustice and that I am being treated as if I was swinging the lead. (I am currently unable to swing anything at all!)

I work in local govt BTW.

Has anyone had a similar treatment?

wellcoveredsparerib Fri 04-Apr-14 22:14:20

Anyone?

fascicle Sat 05-Apr-14 08:32:15

The decision does sound unjust and poorly thought out. Is this part of a blanket policy (which kicks in when a certain amount of sick leave is taken) or was the decision discretionary? Had the increment already being promised and is there anything in writing about salary increments not being awarded for reasons such as sickness record?

On the plus side, it sounds like you have good grounds for appeal.

WhatsTheWordHummingbird Sat 05-Apr-14 08:35:48

Thats madness. I would assume sickness is counted in periods of sick - so whilst this period was six weeks long, it only counts as one absence.

poubella Sat 05-Apr-14 08:36:13

I have been sick for 6 months this year due to cancer treatment and I got my pay rise on 1 st April despite this. Local government too and my rise was supposed to be performance related increment. I had not had my review due to sickness but my manager said I could not be penalised for sickness !

What area of government are you as it sounds wrong. I would be ringing the union.

wellcoveredsparerib Sat 05-Apr-14 09:32:35

Thanks for the replies.

I believe it is part of a blanket policy but had been told before going in for the op that my case would be "looked at sympathetically" and yet am now told decision has been made.

To clarify, I am not just not getting an increment, I am losing one as at the top of my scale.

Ruebarb Sat 05-Apr-14 10:23:18

What is it with sickness policies - who thought up these bullying policies? I have been out of main stream work for a couple of years now but have worked in civil service, insurance and NHS and this never used to happen.
In the civil service in the 70s we were entitled to 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay for sickness in any 12 month period - only stipulation was that you were not allowed to take more than 10 uncertified sick days within a 12 month period and of these not more than 5 days could be consecutive - any days over the 10 day limit had to be covered by a doctor's certificate. Also if you were sick immediately before annual leave you had to get a doctor's certificate for those sick days.
In insurance again in the 80s it was 6 months full and 6 months half pay - yes sometimes it was recognized that 1 or 2 people took advantage but overall it was accepted that you could not help being ill.
Same with NHS although in my last 2 years they had introduced interviews for when you returned to work to record why you were off sick. Never heard of people being penalised for genuine sickness.
Reading posts on here it seems that people are being penalised for something over which they often have no control - it must be very demoralising - what is the thinking behind it all? What do employers hope to achieve - a cowed workforce?
Also 'white collar' workers invariably were paid their normal wage whilst off sick for at least 3 months but I hear nowadays of people in managerial positions who are only entitled to SSP. I weep!

fascicle Sat 05-Apr-14 12:14:53

I wonder what alternative action your employer expected you to take, in order not to be penalised. Forgo the operation or come back to work before the minimum recommended 6 week period of recuperation?. Presumably either of those (crazy sounding) options would be likely to have an impact on your longer term health, sickness record and performance.

fascicle Sat 05-Apr-14 12:38:16

Thinking about it, is there a provision in your contract for your salary increment to be reduced in this way? I believe they would be on shaky grounds to do so unilaterally.

Sandthorn Sat 05-Apr-14 13:28:38

I think this comes down to the contractual details of the increments. Do they award them based on your actual contribution to the organisation..? Have you met your FJP objectives? They might argue that you haven't, because you haven't been there enough to complete x, y, and z. In that case, your appeal might centre on the evidence that, actually, you achieved x, y and z in the other ~40 working weeks. Or you could try to demonstrate that, actually, customary practice is that they award the increments purely for bums-on-seats. (And I bet they bloody do!)

If it is, contractually or by custom-and-practice, a bums-on-seats award, regardless of whether staff meet objectives, then I think to withhold yours may be discriminatory. Would you mind sharing what your op was for? If it was related to a condition covered under the disability discrimination act, then your employer may be unknowingly in breach of the DDA. Even if not, I think it's very dubious, legally, to withhold benefits purely on the basis of sick records.

Are you a union member, or can you join one ASAP? Talk to your local reps... They may be willing to take on your case if you sign up immediately, though they don't have to accept cases predating your membership.

wellcoveredsparerib Sat 05-Apr-14 14:52:14

Yes, I think it is very much about bums on seats.

My op was a hysterectomy. It was not essential ( that is not lifethreatening ) as such but recommended treatment because of ongoing problems with pain due to endromytriosis and fibroids.

I am in a union, luckily.

Sandthorn Sat 05-Apr-14 21:08:22

Get advice from your union rep, equalities rep if you have one locally, or head office about this. Endometriosis and fibroids might well count as a disability if it has a "substantial" effect on your day-to-day life. See this: https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010 ... Certainly it qualifies as a long-term condition.

I'd be taking the line that, while it might be reasonable to defer the increment for 6 weeks, to deprive you of it altogether is disproportionate. Keep in mind that we are not talking about this coming year being affected, unless they plan to award TWO increments next year. Say, for the sake of argument, each increment is worth £500... You would be losing £500/year, every year, for the rest of the time you work there. All for the sake of six weeks justifiable sick leave, which may actually reduce your sick absences in the long term.

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