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Interview whilst on sick leave?

(11 Posts)
zeezeek Mon 24-Nov-14 15:28:14

I admit I know nothing at all about HR processes and, as I work in academia, our HR department are, to put it kindly, a bit shite!

One of my research assistants is currently signed off by his GP for a few weeks due to a flare up of a long standing health issue. I know that he has been looking for another position because his contract is up at the end of January and we can't afford to extend it and there's nothing else suitable for him. He's in quite a specialist role, so jobs in his field are few and far between - so when one comes up then he really has to go for it. He rung me this morning to say that he has been offered an interview - which is great, but as he's currently off sick he's not sure whether he was allowed to go or not. I've checked our policies but can't find anything useful and there's no-one in HR who can actually answer the question. So, was wondering if there's anyone on here who has HR experience and who could advise me whether there is anything general in employment law about this.

He's a great guy and we all want to help him get another job - but also don't want him in a difficult position.

Vinomcstephens Mon 24-Nov-14 15:33:32

I don't know the legalities but I don't see that this would be a problem - an ex colleague of mine was off work sick with stress over the summer and whilst off, had a number of interviews for jobs with other companies, accepted an offer and left for the new role. Wasn't a problem for him at all, I'd assume the same for your colleague?

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 24-Nov-14 15:40:02

Help him get another job and reward his honesty by just saying it's fine.

AMumInScotland Mon 24-Nov-14 15:44:33

I don't have HR experience, but I don't see any reason for it to be a problem.

In general, people can do things while on sick leave, so long as that doesn't in itself make it look like their reasons for getting signed off were false.

If someone was off with flu and was somehow able to go to an interview, I'd have doubts about their illness. But what you're describing sounds like coping with an interview is perfectly compatible with his reasons for being off work, so he should be free to do it.

Fingeronthebutton Mon 24-Nov-14 15:46:38

Get someone in your HR department who understands such things.

maninawomansworld Mon 24-Nov-14 15:56:56

There is nothing about it in law, but technically if your HR department wanted to be arsey about it they could give him a disciplinary over it in the same way that they could if he rung in sick and went to the races for the day, or did some work for another employer.

However, seeing as the relationship between him and your firm appears to be very good I would be stunned and appalled if HR decided to take any action, especially given his honesty. Most people these days would have just kept quiet and just gone for the interview!
Why don't you just ring your HR people, tell them what is going on and that you as his line manager (if that is what you are) have authorised it?

museumum Mon 24-Nov-14 16:00:50

If I were in your position I would authorise it and if it later transpired that I shouldn't have done so I'd have claimed ignorance / accepted the hit.

I think if you're willing to do that then your employee can't get into trouble.

Seriouslyffs Mon 24-Nov-14 16:04:05

^^ museumum talks sense

bette06 Mon 24-Nov-14 16:28:51

I agree with the posters above that, if you authorise it, he shouldn't get into any trouble over it - Then, at worst, you will have failed to follow a policy that even HR don't seem to know about.

Depending on the nature of the illness, being off sick doesn't mean you have to be at home all day. Essentially, you shouldn't be doing anything that would indicate that the illness isn't genuine. You should be taking appropriate steps to support your recovery/avoiding doing anything that would be detrimental to your recovery and you should follow the company's sickness procedures, including attending any meetings with your manager, attending Occupational Health appointments etc.

Obviously, if he gets offered the job, he needs to follow the usual procedures on giving notice and not start working for them while claiming sick pay from his current employer.

CommanderShepard Mon 24-Nov-14 16:47:35

It's fine. I had an internal interview while on sick leave and no-one batted an eyelid.

zeezeek Mon 24-Nov-14 17:08:48

Thanks for this. I'll tell him that I support him and if there is any backlash will take the blame!

If he gets it, it is unlikely that he will be starting until his contract is up anyway so it's not likely that our HR department will even work out what's happened.

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