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Working at home when off sick

(40 Posts)
SiliconHeaven Mon 11-Feb-19 10:56:30

Hello, I have pneumonia and I was in hospital last weekend. I’ve been off work all last week, I haven’t been out of the house, very unwell. I’m waiting for a doctor to call to discuss a sick note for further time off work.
How reasonable is my employer being if the expect me to work from home? In theory I could log in and do some stuff, but I could have also logged in from my hospital bed too so I can’t work out what might be reasonable.

Heronymous Mon 11-Feb-19 11:04:07

If you’re unwell you shouldn’t be working at all - you need to rest and recover. Your employer is being VU if they are suggesting otherwise.

TheMobileSiteMadeMeSignup Mon 11-Feb-19 11:07:57

Being off sick is not working from home time. It's time to recover. Asking if you would mind giving them a quick handover so someone can cover you is one thing but expecting you to do work is VVVU.

ememem84 Mon 11-Feb-19 11:12:20

I’m currently signed off sick. And have checked email today. I have a sinus and throat infection am on antibiotics and if I wasn’t pregnant could probably have coped with being at work. Or would have taken a work from home day.

However. I’m am and can’t. The most I’ve done is check email and flick anything that is sent to just me onto my assistant.

They (work) know they can call or message if needed. But hopefully won’t.

ememem84 Mon 11-Feb-19 11:13:22

What I meant to say was: in my opinion it depends on the severity of the signing off reason.

A cold or something yes.

Being straight out of hospital? No.

Work related stress? No

3boysandabump Mon 11-Feb-19 11:16:29

If I was off work sick on full pay I don't think I'd mind doing a little if they absolutely needed me to. Off work unpaid or on SSP I'd do nothing

SiliconHeaven Mon 11-Feb-19 11:18:45

That’s why I can’t get my head round it eminem does it depend on the reason?
A colleague broke his ankle a while ago. I think he was signed off for 6 weeks. He absolutely refused to consider doing any work from home. I don’t think there was anything work could do about it. I don’t know what is reasonable

JagerPlease Mon 11-Feb-19 11:22:49

If the illness actually impacts your ability to work, which I should imagine in your case it does, then I don't think wfh is a reasonable adjustment. Maybe checking a few emails but only if you feel up to it if you think it'll help you ease back in when you do go back. A broken ankle I wouldve said is exactly the kind of thing that working from home instead of being off sick would be suitable for!

Whatafustercluck Mon 11-Feb-19 11:23:14

Very unreasonable to expect you to. What you had take some getting over and plenty of rest. If I began to feel better I'd start dipping into emails and slowly raising the expectation that I was getting back into work. But it has to be instigated by you.

Whatafustercluck Mon 11-Feb-19 11:27:13

Incidentally I had a severe chest infection a few years back, touch and go as to whether I'd be admitted into hospital for IV antibiotics. I was back at work in 3 days, but in hindsight I shouldn't have been - it ended up taking several weeks for me to properly recover and I definitely wasn't firing on all cylinders when I went back (tiredness, lethargy, short of breath). My employer would have got more out of me had I not rushed back.

SingaporeSlinky Mon 11-Feb-19 11:28:43

I think technically if you’re off, you should be off.
In the case of someone breaking their ankle, surely a doctor could have worked out what was reasonable, as maybe they can get around on crutches, especially if it’s just for the commute, and then sitting at a desk all day. Maybe specify they should commute in off-peak times. Or, find out if they have the ability to do work from home. It should be personalised, so clearly if they’re a labourer, they can’t go to work. Or if they can only get to work by car, and obviously can’t drive with a broken ankle.

In your case Op, if you’re still very unwell, then use the time to rest and recover.
Occasionally I have done some work from home if I’ve been unwell, but it depends on the illness. For example if someone just has mild diarrhoea but otherwise feeling well, they are capable of working on a laptop from home, and if it’s busy at work, I would help out by doing that. Otherwise I’m just sitting around watching tv all day.

I think once you’re feeling better, but not quite up to returning fully to work, maybe suggest to your boss as a favour you’ll do some work at home before full time return.

blackteasplease Mon 11-Feb-19 11:32:46

We do it at my work. But for things like colds or toothache or whatever, not recovering from hospital treatment. So I think you shouldn't work.

Sindragosan Mon 11-Feb-19 11:34:04

If you're off work sick, they shouldn't expect you to work.

I personally don't mind the odd email or text (can reply if and when able) enquiry about where things are or what needs doing when, but I'd not expect to work from home.

I've seen a few people work from home with snuffles etc, but they're officially working not off sick, and a full days work would be expected.

SiliconHeaven Mon 11-Feb-19 12:14:26

Thanks all. I’ll report back what the doctor suggests

PutyourtoponTrevor Mon 11-Feb-19 12:17:42

We are not allowed to work from home if we are sick and I think that is the way it should be

Bluelady Mon 11-Feb-19 12:22:17

A few years ago this was suggested to me when I had blood poisoning by - wait for it - the director of HR! I told her in no uncertain terms that I was signed off as unfit for work and wouldn't be doing any.

thecatsthecats Mon 11-Feb-19 12:28:00

I worked from home with a cold last Monday. I only had my laptop at home by chance. I was able to lie in an extra hour, and take a longer lunch and a break in the afternoon to alleviate some of the nastier symptoms.

I made a couple of mistakes, because my concentration wasn't perfect, but on balance it was the right choice, and I was purposefully doing work that wouldn't be critical with errors. I was at about 80% capacity, but if I hadn't done some work, I'd have been worse off on subsequent days where I was still feeling very ropey.

However... it is clearly nuts to work in your scenario. The offer should always come from the sick person, not from the employer!

Damntheman Mon 11-Feb-19 12:29:43

In Norway if you're signed off sick then it is actually illegal to work and you can lose your sick pay if you even check your work email.

Don't do it, your boss is being unreasonable! Being signed off sick means you should be resting and recovering, not working.

SerenDippitty Mon 11-Feb-19 12:52:49

Your boss is being unreasonable. You need physical and mental rest with an illness like that.

MinesaPinot Mon 11-Feb-19 13:40:31

As a rule we are told not to work if we are off sick and to rest and get well.

ghostyslovesheets Mon 11-Feb-19 13:46:27

if you are off sick you are SICK - as in too sick to be in work - so no you do not answer emails etc your boss is being unreasonable

I do work from home if I have a bad cold etc - I've sat in bed and done admin - BUT if I am too ill to be in work I don't work

adaline Mon 11-Feb-19 13:52:16

It depends why you're off sick and what you do for a job, doesn't it?

I mean, I work in retail (on my feet all day) and need to drive to get to work. So if I broke my ankle I'd need to be off until I was a) safe to drive and b) able to spend eight hours on my feet. But if I worked in an office and could work from home that would probably be different.

ForalltheSaints Mon 11-Feb-19 14:28:23

Unreasonable unless you have agreed to this as part of a plan to get back to work. An injured ankle or leg where travel is difficult might be a good example. Pneumonia not.

Sparklesocks Mon 11-Feb-19 14:31:20

I think if you are too unwell to be in the office then you are too unwell to work. And it might affect your recovery if you’re stressing about a work email rather than resting.

Isleepinahedgefund Mon 11-Feb-19 14:38:41

You haven't just had a bit of a cold though have you, you've had a serious illness and you need to rest and recover.

I have worked from home if I'm a bit ill and can't face the train journey, but never if I've been actually signed off. Not reasonable for your employer to suggest you do (or for you to suggest to them actually!)

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