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Who is being unreasonable - repeated sickness absences

(54 Posts)
Marphe Wed 14-Jan-15 12:53:19

I have a colleague who has a lot of time off sick, lots of odd days for "flu" or sickness bugs. She also has a lot of leave when her DC are ill. We work term time only, so she can't take holiday for this and policy is that the first absence each term is paid (very generous)

On top of this 18 months ago she had some lower limb problems and was signed off work for 6m+. She wasn't ill, as in feeling ill, but she was advised not to work. This was a biggie, I know she was very worried about everything from cancer to losing her leg. The problem is resolved now though and things back to normal. The odd day absences have been a pattern for the last 10 years!

Anyway, we work for a woman who TBH is very fair (see policy re child sickness) and caring. Whenever I (rarely) have been sick or off with a sick child she's shown nothing but concern. The problem is that she seems to have really taken against this colleague. She feels that her good nature has been taken advantage of. She feels the doctor was asked for the long term certificates rather than being asked to suggest what colleague was fit to do, that there are too many minor illness requiring odd days off and the final straw was that while she was off with the bad leg, attended a colleague's wedding where she danced the night away! She's also not very discreet about what goes on Facebook when she's off sick.

It's been badly managed because boss let it go for so long and also because no-one was going to take firm action while she was potentially seriously ill, but I feel that boss is now being unfairly hard on her, showing disapproval every time she calls in, when she would wish the rest of us well. Boss has. I don't think there's anything that could be described a bullying, but boss has decided (belatedly) to get things under control and the rules are applied very hard, whereas leeway is given to the rest of us IYSWIM. Boss is aware that she should have taken action sooner and over compensating IMO.

Some of my colleague's think you reap what you sow and she's getting what she deserves for the way she's treated us/the boss in the past - it is a pain for all of us when she calls in sick, again.

So, who is being unreasonable?

fecklesswonder Wed 14-Jan-15 12:54:53

My company only pay 3 sick days a year, pretty standard in the private sector .

Leviticus Wed 14-Jan-15 12:57:15

I don't think your boss is. Your colleague had stretched her patience and goodwill far more than the rest of you and is treated according. It isn't unfair.

QuietTinselTardis Wed 14-Jan-15 12:57:49

I don't think your boss is being unreasonable. I assume none of the rest of you take the piss and that's why she's more lenient with you? There's a difference between the odd day here or there for illness/kids illness and numerous days.

Islander79 Wed 14-Jan-15 12:59:03

What does your union say? What do the policies say?

Fingeronthebutton Wed 14-Jan-15 12:59:30

Would you like to pay her wages?
She's taking the piss and is very lucky that she's had this job for so long when someone more deserving could have had it.
If it were me, she would have been out the door after the 6 month 'holiday'
Why do you feel sorry for her?

Tyzer85 Wed 14-Jan-15 13:01:36

I think that your boss should have grown a backbone a lot earlier, she's probably trying to compensate now but she needs to tread carefully before your colleague twigs that she's being treated differently and complains.

I know how you might feel, one of my colleagues is off a lot with sickness and the last time she was off she still managed to attend a job interview.

evenherfartsarefragrant1 Wed 14-Jan-15 13:01:51

Your boss has limits, this colleague is taking the piss. I'm surprised she's not been disciplined for the fbook/ sickness lie really.

hellsbellsmelons Wed 14-Jan-15 13:02:30

I think I'd be pleased that the boss in now taking this stance with her.
Maybe she'll stop taking the piss now??

Feckless 3 sick days off in the private sector!??
That's awful. Most companies give a lot more than that.
Anywhere I have worked give 10-20 days and are lenient with this as well!
If we take more than 3 days in a row you need a doctors note but that's it!

Swingball Wed 14-Jan-15 13:02:46

Why is the boss telling you what she feels about it? That is unreasonable.

IDontDoIroning Wed 14-Jan-15 13:03:16

She is taking the piss and has imo abused the good nature of the manager.

She should not be claiming sick leave when her children are sick - she is entitled to parental leave although this is unpaid.

Wrt her bad leg - if she was well enough to dance the night away she would almost certainly have been well enough to go to work possibly with some adjustments if necessary.

Swingball Wed 14-Jan-15 13:04:20

There needs to be a coherent policy applied equally to everyone

TedAndLola Wed 14-Jan-15 13:04:28

I was sympathetic to your colleague until you mentioned the dancing / Facebook thing. It sounded like she had genuine illnesses that meant she missed work days, which I don't think anyone should be penalised for. But if she's making it up to get off work that is not on and your boss is being entirely reasonable in cracking down on it. Even if the sick leave is mostly unpaid, it disrupts work and puts more onto her colleague's shoulders.

FWIW we have 10 paid sick days in my company but I doubt many people use them all up.

Marphe Wed 14-Jan-15 13:06:14

I don't feel sorry for her, apart from the fact that the six month "holiday" was actually a very serious illness involving repeated stays in hospital Finger. It's just that she was reasonably well in between times (well enough to party) but she managed to get signed off for the whole spell. If it were that alone, I would feel very sorry for her, but if that were the case, boss wouldn't be treating her this way.

As I said, I don't feel sorry for her, I think she's taking the mickey and should be dealt with but I also think boss needs to tread carefully and that it's become quite personal.

angelos02 Wed 14-Jan-15 13:06:59

I think your boss has been more than reasonable. As for going to a wedding while on the sick..fucking hell...I get paranoid about being spotted when out getting something from the chemist when I'm off sick.

CrystalHaze Wed 14-Jan-15 13:07:09

If your colleague is allegedly too I'll to work but is simultaneously posting evidence of high-kicking fun times on FB then not only is she BU, she is taking the piss (and is also a bit thick).

Genuine illness obviously can't be helped, but staff absences increase the burden on colleagues and costs businesses money.

Your boss sounds lovely smile

CrystalHaze Wed 14-Jan-15 13:08:03

* too ill, not too I'll FFS, silly phone

Marphe Wed 14-Jan-15 13:08:29

I don't think she invents illnesses particularly, just that she keeps her DC off school for sniffles that others would send them in for and likewise for herself. And, we've all seen heated discussions here about how (ir)responsible it is to go to work when you're not 100%!

SeasonsEatings Wed 14-Jan-15 13:09:42

I can't understand why you are not angry at the colleague taking the piss. The sick leave policy will likely change for the worse and it will affect you.

OnlyLovers Wed 14-Jan-15 13:12:16

Well, I think your boss has acted very unprofessionally by talking to you (and other colleagues, or have I got that wrong?) about how she's now behaving to this other colleague.

I think your boss needs to be very careful that she's not caught treating the colleague much more harshly than the rest of you.

All other points (how much time she has off, what for etc) are moot really, IMO.

juneau Wed 14-Jan-15 13:12:20

She sounds like she's taking the piss, TBH, and if I was your generous boss I think I would feel taken advantage of too. She was off work for six months with leg problems, yet was able to 'dance the night away' hmm and she keeps her kids off school just for sniffles? I'm with your boss on this one - your colleague is being VU.

angelos02 Wed 14-Jan-15 13:14:44

I don't know about where you work but in many places workload often falls to colleagues when staff are off so there is often resentment if people are seen to be taking the mick.

brokenhearted55a Wed 14-Jan-15 13:17:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RiverTam Wed 14-Jan-15 13:18:30

I think that the boss needs to put the past behind her and make it clear to everyone what the policy will be going forward, and ensure it is applied to everyone fairly. If your colleague took the piss in the past, that's partly (if not mainly) because she was allowed to do so.

What she can't do is be strict with one and lenient with others - she's done that in the past and that's why she's where she is now.

Viviennemary Wed 14-Jan-15 13:20:46

Somebody who is always absent is a drain on a company. Some larger companies can absorb this. She just simply isn't able to fulfil her employment obligations and the appropriate steps should now be taken. She's been given plenty of leeway.

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