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to insist he returns to work

(113 Posts)
SlightlyBemused Mon 17-Oct-11 06:19:18

AIBU to consider phoning a work colleague who has been on compassionate leave for more than 4 weeks and insist he returns to work?
The reason for the leave was the suicide of his only DS. He is understandably distraught and has my sympathy. I wish to give him all the time he needs, however pressure from above and critical work elements requiring his attention make me question; how long is long enough?

BranchingOut Mon 17-Oct-11 06:21:05

jeez!

You are being very unreasonable.
THink about it.

Tortoiseinadarkspell Mon 17-Oct-11 06:27:44

When you say colleague, I assume you mean you're his boss? Is there an HR department? A leave policy? I'm a bit baffled that you have no guidance on this?

MilkNoSugarPlease Mon 17-Oct-11 06:33:31

Seriously? No really, SERIOUSLY?!?

JESUS CHRIST

SlightlyBemused Mon 17-Oct-11 06:34:22

I have thought long and hard and if in his position would need as long as I need and look to the support of the company. I am his boss although the relationship is very friendly, which is why I feel awkward.

The HR department is next to useless, policies are few and far betweeen and everything is left to the line manager.

troisgarcons Mon 17-Oct-11 06:39:18

Rock and a hard place isn't it?

I can understand small business and financial constraints - but I cant understand larger business who can absorb that cost.

If you push it, all he will do is certificate for depression/stress etc.

If you are that friendly, and the funeral has been held, I would suggest visiting him and gauging his mental state. Most people want/need a return to normality after the funeral.

Only you know whether it's unreasonable to return to work. He might be the sort who cant face the pitying looks, but if he keep putting off comng back, it becomes all the more difficult.

Bledkr Mon 17-Oct-11 06:48:35

4 weeks? fgs. Tell him to get signed off poor bloke.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Mon 17-Oct-11 06:48:35

Wow, glad you're not my boss!

YABVU to insist he comes back so soon. If he has had the maximum amount of compassionate leave that you can allow, you could ask him to get signed off by his GP. But I doubt he'll be ready to return for a while.

Can you get someone in to cover his role?

MrsSchadenfreude Mon 17-Oct-11 06:55:06

You can't do this on the phone and you can't insist. This is something you need to do face to face - you need to ask him when he thinks he will be able to come back to work. Is he currently signed off on compassionate leave, or just awol? No company or organisation can keep someone signed off on full pay indefinitely. If he needs more time, he will need a doc's certificate.

callmemrs Mon 17-Oct-11 06:55:08

You would be extremely unreasonable and insensitive to a) phone him and b) insist he return.

However, clearly some jobs need cover, and the company cannot run indefinitely without someone there . That's just logic isn't it?- if this guy could stay off indefinitely without it having any effect, you'd be questioning the need for his job.

I think a letter should be written to him, probably from HR, outlining the situation and explaining what he needs to do- which will probably be getting signed off on medical grounds.

You need to jump and down and rant at your useless HR dept who are failing to do their job properly, not the employee

GuillotinedMaryLacey Mon 17-Oct-11 06:55:32

How much concentration do you think he'll be able to give those critical work elements even if you do drag him back? That, to me, is a pretty sound reason for letting him be the judge of when he's ready.

SeoraeMaeul Mon 17-Oct-11 06:57:27

I would also recommend going to visit and gauge for yourself. Ultimately there is a time he'll have to come back be it 4 weeks or 4 months or whatever. And if HR won't help you'll have to find a solution that works for everyone.

Why not pick a non time critical part of the job and ask him to come back flexibly part time. So if he's very down one day, he won't be there but is the next. Tough to find something like this but if you can then it would help ease him back into work - or if he really struggles then show that he needs to get signed off or some professional help.

Robotindisguise Mon 17-Oct-11 06:57:28

shock

OK, so you do that. And then he fucks up badly, because he can't concentrate because he's so poleaxed by grief. And then, what, you fire him and say it was a terrible shame? angry

One of my colleagues, some years ago, was in a similar awful position. He was off for a couple of months. No-one expected anything else. Many years later, he is still a valued member of staff. Accept ypu're employing human beings, with all that entails.

You're serious?!

YADBU and your bosses are prize twats for starting to put pressure on for him to return. I'd suggest that you tell him to get signed off by a doctor or, like someone else suggested, gently phase him back into a relatively normal working life. You honestly can't just demand he returns.

Tbh, if it were me in his position and someone demanded I return to work, I'd be looking at how to screw them seven ways from Sunday for being beyond insensitive.

scarevola Mon 17-Oct-11 07:10:15

There is a separation between what you can do and what you should do.

I think you already know that you can insist, but are not sure if you should.

If he has not been given any indication of how long his compassionate leave can extend, then you will need to decide and give him fair notice of it. You can either make this decision yourself, or see him first to find out if he has any ideas. This is of course awkward because of the conflicting duty of the employer to keep in touch will the well-being of absent employees and the right of the employee not to give out such information or be "harassed" (which any enquiry can seem like at a sensitive time).

My best shot is that you do need to get in touch with him, use your RL interpersonal skills, find out how he is getting on and whether he has any plans for return date (and if so how well they fit with the requirements of the business) and then tell him - probably on a return visit - how much longer his paid leave can continue.

BullyBeefBadgers Mon 17-Oct-11 07:14:41

Id tread very carefully OP. Think about his mental state after something so devsatating. You need to give him time to come to terms with it, otherwise he will be a negative at work with others having to carry his load etc and he will be suffering. None of us can imagine how awful it would be to be in his shoes until it does happen to us so just bear that in mind in anything you do. Face to face chat to guage as others have said wouldn't hurt.

mummytotwoboys Mon 17-Oct-11 07:27:20

I think YABU, in this situation, I think up to 6 months may be needed. As others have suggested a letter explaining that he needs to be signed off would be ok. Definately think about temp cover as he may never come back. How very sad sad

SlightlyBemused Mon 17-Oct-11 07:29:41

Thanks Troisgarcons
I know it isn't right and I have spoken to him on a personal level, no way is he ready to return and i wouldnt be either. I would visit and talk 'face to face' however the body was re-patriated. We work in the Middle East if that makes a difference to things!

His son killed himself 4 weeks ago? 28 days (approx) ago his son took his own life?

No. You can't try to make him come back to work. 28 days. He's probably still in deep shock.

You have to try to make your bosses understand this. Is there really nobody else in the organisation who can cover his work?

troisgarcons Mon 17-Oct-11 07:32:26

Is your collegue in the UK?

Do you have a UK office, supportive staff who could visit him and check he's ok?

pregnantpause Mon 17-Oct-11 07:42:36

Yabu! Four weeks?! He's lost his son in a most devasting painful way. A friend of mine took his life and his mum spent more than four weeks just crying. sleeping and crying. And blaming herself. You can surely understand that four weeks is just the start. He might need months off to begin to come to terms with this. I think that you shpuld visit him and show that his employer is supportive and (hopefully) flexible so that when he's ready to come back he can without worry and work to his best potential as a result.
Demand he come back? after 4weeks! Have a heart.

SlightlyBemused Mon 17-Oct-11 07:42:37

troisgarcons He is not in the UK, he is Indian and has returned home there.

Hecate I know I can't make him and I don't particularly want to raise the subject with him, I have been holding of my management for 5 days already. We are a small company and have no cover, only myself picking up his responsibilities, which I have no problem with, only i'm not as competent in his field.

Would your bosses not accept an agency cover for your colleague?

Rikalaily Mon 17-Oct-11 07:59:28

4 weeks? He'll probably be off for close to a year. One of my sisters commited suicide last Christmas and my dad is returning to work this week after 10 months. 4 weeks, are you insane?

SlightlyBemused Mon 17-Oct-11 08:18:51

Rikalaily I guess I must be!
Sorry for your loss.

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