Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

Sickness from work due to pregnancy and Occupational Health

(9 Posts)
MB34 Tue 29-Jul-14 21:18:39

I've been off sick from work for about 6 weeks now due to - as stated on my sick paper - 'pregnancy complications' (not being able to stand for long periods - in work we have to stand for the whole shift apart from an hour lunch).

My boss has now told me that I need to be referred to occupational health, is this normal? I thought that as it's due to pregnancy, I wouldn't be referred and my maternity would automatically kick in 4 weeks before due date. Has anyone else been through this?

JennyBlueWren Tue 29-Jul-14 21:48:15

I think the occ health is to look at what adjustments could be made for you to return to work. Whenever I'm off sick (even for a day) I have a meeting with boss to fill out a back to work form which includes whether I need to refer to OH. If we're off for a certain amount of time (with sick notes) we have to have a more formal meeting -possibly involving HR- to see how to improve our attendance. Not sure if that'd happen with pregnancy.

Septbaby Tue 29-Jul-14 21:56:36

Occ health is used to support a business in understanding what adjustments are recommended by physicians who understand the business you work, to be made to support an employee to be at work. I would imagine that there are trigger points within your absence policy that would be the reason for the referral, perhaps you've reached a certain length of time trigger. It's worthwhile looking at the policy, ask for a copy to be sent to you if you're not in work.

I wouldn't be particularly concerned about it, if you have questions definitely speak to your manager if you're comfortable to or give your HR department a call to talk it through with them. They shouldn't be applying pressure to you to return, it may just be an exercise for them to be able see if there is anything that can be done to support you

Hope this helps a bit smile

MB34 Tue 29-Jul-14 22:19:35

Thanks both. I suppose I'm a bit miffed, as speaking to other people, they've said they were off for most of their pregnancies and weren't sent to OH. Different companies but I assumed mine would be the same.
I know my company have a 4 occasion in 1 year rule, then OH are involved but I haven't reached that yet.
My boss told me last week that I wouldn't be allowed to do some of my duties which I could sit down for (as I've been off for so long) and would have to be on my feet and not sit down when I wanted, if I did return! (I've thought for 6 months now that she's been trying to manage me out but that's another story!) Plus I would only have 3 weeks in work before I went on holiday then maternity so it's not worth the hassle!
Thanks again

frankiebuns Wed 30-Jul-14 08:09:17

I was put on the sick at 15 weeks due hypermesis and high bp, I stayed off until maternity kicked in, they made my life hell tried to force mat leave early, I've beeen in once since and ppl who would normally speak to me would do a u turn in the aisle and go a diff way needless to say I'm not returning

Marnierose Wed 30-Jul-14 09:44:00

I think if you have been off work that long it isn't reasonable to have an assessment by occ health. It's just to see if there is anyway of supporting you back to work. Hopefully they can suggest done suitable adjustments for you.

rosiegal Wed 30-Jul-14 10:22:30

I also have experience of this as I have been signed off due to low blood pressure and almost constant dizzy spells, currently 33+3. I can honestly say its nothing to worry about, in my case the person conducting the assessment was a trained nurse and it was all done over the phone, she was professional but very friendly. She was also a mum herself so was able to relate to my situation. The original referral was only made with my consent and the information was only passed back to my employer again with my consent. My report basically agreed with what my midwife and GP have said, not currently fit for work due to nature of symptoms. It does make me feel slightly more relaxed about being off to know that I have this support. I'm due to start maternity in 3 weeks time but I'm hoping to make work for a few hours to get stuff sorted and say goodbye, again I'm lucky that the report supports reduced hours should I return.
I have a copy of my report, MB34 please feel free to PM me if you want to know more. Look after yourself x

Sparkle9 Wed 30-Jul-14 10:25:13

I think if you have been off sick for a long period of time then your employer has every right to seek occ health advice. In fact, your employer has a duty to look after employees health and safety at work. I see this as a good thing. The same thing would happen if I had been off from my job due to pregnancy or anything else. I am also a small employer and would look to get advice from occ health if I had a pregnant employee who was off sick. Occ health is there to find ways for your employer to make reasonable adjustments - as required by law. This could even help with dealing with future pregnancies in your company. Approach it as a positive thing - occ health are there to help your employer to make adjustments that allow you to do the job you are employed to do.

Also bear in mind that your employer can automatically start your maternity leave at 36 weeks if you are off sick from that point.

Hope you feel better soon!

MB34 Thu 31-Jul-14 21:58:41

Thanks all. I had my telephone chat today with a trained nurse at OH. She was very nice and understanding. She has said I'm fit for work on the understanding that I stand for no longer than 10minute periods. As my boss has told me outright that she doesn't want me doing my current duties (which I could do sitting down) and I would be in a role where there would be little possibility of me sitting down every 10mins, if I was to return, I don't think I'll be going back.
Having said that though, I've had a think about what we discussed-I told her that I wasn't sleeping well at night, so I'm tired all the time but I said my concentration was ok, which sort of contradicts each other. Thinking about it, I'm wondering if I can get back in touch with her to say my concentration may not be up to my normal standards and to allow for this in the report too.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now