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Manager ringing whilst off sick

(36 Posts)
user1472640125 Wed 05-Oct-16 16:44:52

Hi all,

I'm currently off work (have been for three weeks) due to anxiety and depression. Never been off work previously.

My manager is aware of the reason why I am off and have sent in my sick notes and attending counselling arranged through my works healthcare programme.

My manner is texting or ringing me twice a week where she is asking how I am. This leads to do any idea when you will be back?

AIBU to think she shouldn't be doing this? I'm happy to keep her updated as I have been now and again but the calls or texts twice a week are stressing me out even more. I know they are worrying because two members of staff have recently left so they are understaffed, I feel guilty but also I feel pressurised to get back to work when I'm not ready. What starts as a friendly call to see how I am ends up in "any idea when you are returning".

AIBU to think I need my space to get myself in a better place without worrying about work! Work is part of the reason I'm feeling the way I do x

Allibear Wed 05-Oct-16 16:59:07

I had this when I was signed off too! It's totally unfair (my manager was a complete bitch and kept accusing me of going on nights out, lying etc when I wasn't even able to move in hospital)
I would message her back and calmly explain the way she's talking to you is causing you extra stress as you feel guilty and that you will ring once a week to update, or whatever your company policy is smile
Whether or not she's being nice it's causing you extra stress and probably means you'll be off longer! She shouldn't do this.

Caper86 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:02:02

I had this too when I was signed off - just made me more stressed. Can you reply 'I will be in touch when I know when I can return.' so she gets the hint she doesn't need to keep asking?

Oysterbabe Wed 05-Oct-16 17:02:17

I wouldn't answer the calls tbh.

JulietteL Wed 05-Oct-16 17:12:24

Hmm, this is a tricky one, as your manager could see it as part of their duty of care to check in regularly.

I would explain to the manager that while you appreciare her concern, the phone calls are increasing your anxiety. If she says she needs to check how you are, you could perhaps suggest reducing the frequency to once a fortnight or once a week at a set time so you know when to expect it?

BackforGood Wed 05-Oct-16 17:15:59

I think she's probably 'damned if she does and damned if she doesn't' position. We had someone in our team off for a long time with anxiety / MH issues. The family complained like heck about how 'no-one from the team cared / no-one stayed in touch', after people stopped contacting her due to anger at being contacted when she first went off. A few years back, another member of staff had same difficulties, and drew great strength from all the messages / texts / calls / contacts she got from the team. Manager in this position won't know which way you will feel unless you choose to be really clear.

redskytonight Wed 05-Oct-16 17:16:04

I'm sure there was a thread not long ago from someone who'd been signed off sick and was complaining that her manager hadn't bothered to ring to see how she was and when she'd be back...

JaceLancs Wed 05-Oct-16 17:29:20

Our works policy states that even when signed off for longer periods of time we have to update weekly on progress - if we don't they call us

Lorelei76 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:30:05

This isn't on
I was off for a fair bit with a major injury, my boss just said to keep her updated and I gave her my personal email for the odd bit of chat, which I think happened once a week or so.
That said, there wasn't a dilemma in terms of getting a temp in but your boss should make that decision without bugging you.
Are you still within the dates of your sick note? I wonder if she's just hanging on to hope that she won't need a temp or other cover?

Imnotaslimjim Wed 05-Oct-16 17:34:10

There is a difference between phoning to ask how you are/being friendly and concerned and ringing every few days to find out when you think you'll be well enough to go back. I'm sure the latter is illegal.

Imnotaslimjim Wed 05-Oct-16 17:34:11

There is a difference between phoning to ask how you are/being friendly and concerned and ringing every few days to find out when you think you'll be well enough to go back. I'm sure the latter is illegal.

BerylStreep Wed 05-Oct-16 17:39:04

In my workplace our policy is that we contact people after three days, then after 7 and then quite frequently thereafter (I can't remember). Our work specifies that it is part of the contract of employment that you maintain regular contact with managers if off sick. That contact must be by phone. Text isn't sufficient.

I think twice a week over three weeks does seem to be a bit excessive, especially if it is stress you are off with.

Would it help if you were to initiate the contact so that you feel more in control? Say to your boss - 'I'll phone you next Monday to let you know how I'm doing.' Makes clear that you will do the phoning, and specifies when. You would need to make sure you stick to it though.

If she asks when you'll be back, just state 'well my sick line is until XXX. I'll be seeing my doctor before it runs out and I'll let you know.'

DrLockhart Wed 05-Oct-16 17:39:38

Calling someone to see if they're OK is not illegal.
Pestering someone one borders on harassment at work.

You have to look at it this way, would you be pissed off if you heard absolutely nothing from the company or your manager?

Drop her a call, tell her factually:
- what you have been advised by a medical professional (assuming rest, recuperation, switch off from wrk),
- that you will not return until your GP signs you fit for work which could be at the end of the medical certificate or potentially longer;
- that you would like to keep in touch every Friday at 3pm, and
- could she not text or contact in the meantime as you feel the questions about your RTW date isn't necessary whilst your are off.

DrLockhart Wed 05-Oct-16 17:40:14

Also hope you are feeling better soon user

Violetcharlotte Wed 05-Oct-16 17:40:52

No YANBU. It's one thing to text to see how you are, another to ask when you're going to be back! Do you have a HR person you could talk to and explain how you're feeling? Maybe they could have a word with your manager and help you come to an agreement with how you an keep
your manager posted without it stressing you out?

Unfortunately some people don't see mental health as a real illness - sounds like your manager could fall into this category.

Take good care of yourself, hope you feel better soon xxxx

UnsuccessfullyAdulting Wed 05-Oct-16 17:43:11

Some employee contracts / handbooks state that you & your line manager have a responsibility to maintain contact whilst you're off work. Do you know if yours has this OP?

user1472640125 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:45:36

Hi all,

Yes I can understand her predicament with wanting to know when I will be back etc but I have been quite clear that I'm not in a position mentally to be back. My doctors notes have detailed this. I know they are short staffed (the company I work for is a massive global brand and they rely on the few staff they employ to keep the department afloat). Its basically a shit hits in fan scenario if anyone is off. I don't feel that I should have to feel hurried to go back because of this. Part of the reason I'm ill is because of the stress of work.

I don't mind updating her regularly but when I get calls or messages twice a week when I've already updated her its getting me down even more. I feel guilty for being poorly and letting everyone down. I also don't like the fact the call starts with, I'm just checking to see if you are okay and quickly switches to when will you be back.

All I want at this very minute is to be left alone, not think about work or panic about work ringing me. I may as well be back there!!

I can see the flip side where someone mentioned about their boss not contacting them at all. But there is a balance. Its not like I've fallen off the face of the earth (as much as I would like to right now). I've been giving weekly updates.

Lorelei76 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:48:46

Yes there's a balance and she's not keeping it
Let me guess - company has enough money for more staff but won't employ more, therefore everyone's stressed to hell?

user1472640125 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:49:13

Thankyou for your kind comments. This means a lot. X

user1472640125 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:51:57

Lorelei76 you have it in one!! X

Lorelei76 Wed 05-Oct-16 17:54:37

Hate that mentality
I guess also you are looking got a new job?

BerylStreep Wed 05-Oct-16 18:05:14

Well if you are already providing a weekly update, then either just don't answer her calls or ignore the texts.

If she keeps texting, then reply, 'i'll phone you on Friday at 3pm as we agreed.'

MycatsaPirate Wed 05-Oct-16 18:14:12

I think phoning for updates when you are sending in a sick note from your GP is incredibly invasive.

Can you talk to HR and ask if they can discuss a better way for things to work? If you GP has signed you off for say, the next three weeks, then phoning you every Tuesday and Friday is not going to make that three weeks magically disappear is it?

I'd be mightily pissed off if I can struggling mentally and being hounded about going back to work before I was ready.

Honeyandfizz Wed 05-Oct-16 18:14:50

I am actually off with the exact same thing. I work for the NHS and have had a couple of my lovely colleagues texting asking how i am but no manager. I have kept them updated each time i have seen my GP and that should be enough. It makes it particularly hard if you are off with work related stress or if it contributing to your mental health. Its really not on.

GertrudeBelle Wed 05-Oct-16 18:19:28

Can you not text her each couple of days with an update - "still feeling rotten, can we see how things are in a week, sorry not up to a call" etc.

Must be bloody difficult for her to manage a team when she's no idea when you are going to be there.

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