Phased return to work?

(9 Posts)
2kidsintow Sat 15-Mar-14 19:30:51

I've been off for 4 weeks (one of them half term) after developing and being diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia.

I'm starting to reach a level of medication that is managing my pain. It has been very unpredictable, but I'm on day 3 of minimal pain now and am starting to feel that things are getting better. I have an MRI scan on Friday to see if they can find the common cause for most people's TN (a compression of the trigeminal nerve in the brain).

My headteacher has been wonderful and has offered to 'ease me back in gently'. I've never had a long term (ish) sick leave before - never even needed a sick note before in a 17 year career, so I'm not sure what that entails.

Do I need to have sick leave to cover the week(s) that the phased return would take place over.

Do I need to have a fit note that specifies phased return?

Do I need to accept phased return? Because my condition is purely a pain condition, I don't think that I'll be too wiped out by going back to work - no more than after the summer holidays, for example when life has been at a slower pace for a few weeks.

OR - Am I daft to turn down phased return? I could ask to be signed off the the next 4 weeks, which would take me up to the Easter hols. It would give me leeway to find out if my pain management is stable or adjust my dosage if it proves not to be, would mean I miss 2, 12 hour days when we have parents' evenings planned and would allow me to spend a few of those weeks returning on more hours per week. I could also get my scan without worrying about time off from work.

As well as the offer of phased return, the management at work have made me promise not to return until I am 100%, so I do need to make sure my pain is under control. It can be very unstable, I can think it's improving and then it dips.

Last weekend, I had upped my dose a couple of days before and had an amazing 2 days of minimum pain. Then I had a nightmare of a day on Monday this week with severe attacks (ear infection, toothache in every tooth, someone stabbing pins in my teeth and more!) every 45 minutes all day from the minute I woke to bedtime. I couldn't speak or concentrate and certainly couldn't cope with my class in that state.

What to do....

FloellaDaVille Sat 15-Mar-14 19:37:27

I'm not sure about the fit note and whether you'd need one for phased return. However feeling a bit better at home is not the same as returning to school. There's no let up in the classroom. Perhaps you should have another week with minimal pain before you try going back. This would hopefully minimise the chance of a relapse too. Good luck.

2kidsintow Sat 15-Mar-14 19:42:17

Thankyou.
I've been in pain to some degree for most of this week just gone, so was definitely planning to ask the GP when I see him on Monday for a note to cover next week at the least. Then the head offered the phased return and it threw me a bit.

Goblinchild Sat 15-Mar-14 19:44:21

Phased return is the school trying to do its best by you, I'd take it.

nevergoogle Sat 15-Mar-14 19:50:04

it's worth checking the terms of the phased return.

i was offered a phased return on the nhs but with any half days off being made up with annual leave. i would have in fact used up the rest of my annual leave entitlement within a week or so of phased return. in that instance i stayed off until i was more confident i would be able to manage a full day.

poubella Sat 15-Mar-14 19:51:31

I did a phased return with local authority and was counted as working full time for those weeks.

2kidsintow Sat 15-Mar-14 20:12:04

I think you are right, Goblin. THey are all being lovely. Couldn't ask for more.

As a teacher, Never, I don't get any annual leave. And my sick leave is currently covered by full pay as I've not been off that long yer.

Pou, this is my query (which I will phone occupational health to ask about on Monday anyway if I haven't answered my own question by then) - does the period of phased re-entry need to be covered by a sicknote?

They won't be paying a supply teacher for the time I'm there, but the rest of the week when I'm not, they will have to - and do they then need my official sick leave time to be covering it so they will be covered to pay for the supply teacher?

poubella Sat 15-Mar-14 21:24:00

My phased return was not covered by a sick note. Your employer will have a policy as to how long the phased return can be. The council I work for allow max 4 week phased return. My dr put on my final sick note 'phased return strongly recommended '. You will need an occ health assessment too.
A lot of employers take the view that if you need longer than 4 week phased return you are not fit for work.

2kidsintow Sat 15-Mar-14 21:41:50

Thankyou. That's interesting.

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