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To be annoyed at colleague who is constantly off sick?

(69 Posts)
sunshinefun Mon 25-Feb-19 18:15:02

I've name changed Incase I'm recognised.
I work with a lady who forever seems to be off sick.
I'm talking for weeks at a time.
We work in a large office for a multi national but our department is stretched and we all feel the pinch when it comes to sickness absence.

This woman is now off sick again and has been for about 6 weeks. As far as I'm aware no plans to come back in the near future.

The thing that is really getting to me and other colleagues is that she is running her own business via Instagram and is merry and cheery every day saying how busy she is, and is clearly working hard from home while she is off sick and we are all picking up he slack.
I've no idea why she is off. Her manager doesn't seem to be that bothered but every time I see another insta story it makes me and some of my other colleagues so mad.
We are literally breaking our backs to get things done and she's living it up, out for drinks and earning money on the side while she's getting sick pay!

randomchap Mon 25-Feb-19 18:22:05

There's a policy at my work that if you're off sick you are not allowed to do any paid or voluntary work. If she's running a side business while off sick does this not breach the policies at your work. And if so, would you feel comfortable telling HR/management?

PumpkinPie2016 Mon 25-Feb-19 18:30:51

YANBU - it's hard enough to cover when someone is off sick but if needs must then you rally round.

Your colleague however, sounds like she's taking the Mickey. If she wants to run her business she needs to resign and go and do that. Doing it while off sick isn't on.

I'd be screen shotting instagram and going to HR!

Boobiliboobiliboo Mon 25-Feb-19 18:32:20

I'd be screen shotting instagram and going to HR!

Who would probably send you to the individual’s manager.

BejamNostalgia Mon 25-Feb-19 18:32:49

It depends on what’s wrong with her. If she’s having multiple long periods surely it must be something pretty serious? She might not even be paid. I think my MIL was still selling her crafts online through Facebook until a few weeks before she died. It depends on a lot of things.

I think if you feel that your workload is unsustainable, you have to take that up with your line manager.

If you take it up with HR and it turns out that it’s something serious, you’re going to look a bit of a cunt. Or if she has assistance with her online business from a partner or even an employee.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 25-Feb-19 18:33:25

Someone will be along soon enough to point out that her social media posts may be bollocks and/or you don’t know what her illness is so perhaps it means she’s not fit for her real job but can work on the side.

Fuck it though, I’d print them all out and give to HR anonymously.

PlainSpeakingStraightTalking Mon 25-Feb-19 18:35:09

Tread carefully - it could be her daughter, sister, mother running the account in her behalf …. you could come out of this with an accusation of harassment and bullying

CantWaitForSpring1 Mon 25-Feb-19 18:35:46

I worked with someone like this once - only she was in the process of opening her own shop and was spending all of her ‘sickness’ decorating, planning and sourcing stock for it! She finally announced she was quitting the week her shop opened! She had convinced our manager that she had vertigo and couldn’t drive to work!

MiGi777 Mon 25-Feb-19 18:38:40

Your issue shouldn't be with her, it's none of your business why she's off sick and what she's doing, you should be more concerned about letting management that YOU can't cope with the extra work load and ask for some help. She's sick, leave her alone!

nocoolnamesleft Mon 25-Feb-19 18:42:26

I was online merry, and cheery, and writing rotas, and reviewing reports last December. I happened to be doing it from isolation where I was receiving radiotherapy.

You don't necessarily know what's going on...

Thesinisterdiagram Mon 25-Feb-19 18:44:45

I can see why you’d be annoyed, but the problem is you don’t know what’s actually wrong with her. I remember a while back I used to have a part time job in a supermarket and there was a young guy in his early/mid-20’s who was constantly off sick for weeks at a time. I didn’t think much of it as I was hired after he started being off, so was used to the pace of work. But a few were very unhappy about it and were very vocal about it. One day we were each called individually into the office and told that he’d died. Ever since then I’ve been extra careful never to comment on people’s illnesses and time off work, because you just don’t know the full story.

I’m sure HR and management are aware of the situation. It’s them you should be annoyed with if you’re finding yourself with an unmanageable workload.

macblank Mon 25-Feb-19 18:47:02

Are you friends with anyone in management or HR? If so, gently ask.

It could be something like Crohn's disease, which could stop her working, but ok to put a couple hrs at home on her Instagram.

I doubt ms/fibromyalgia/me, as these leave you so fatigued that you couldn't do work at home while off sick.

Once when off for 9 wks due to a nasty back spasm (I was already registered as disabled at work with HR and took more sick time because of it) when I got back I complained to.mynline manager I didn't get a card, but within 2 days of being back a collection n card was doing g the rounds for someone who'd been off (to my knowledge less than a week).... He said, well mate, she has cancer..... So be careful

sunshinefun Mon 25-Feb-19 18:48:15

I'm very aware that I don't know the full story. Which is why we have tried hard not to get annoyed by the whole thing.
I have a feeling she is off with stress. She's been off with stress before and she has actually coached other people on what they need to say to the doctor if they want the same thing.
I think she will leave, she makes no secret that she hates the job. The cynic in me thinks that she is using sick pay to put time into her business before she hands her notice in.
Where we work the sick pay is 6 months full pay which is amazing, and it really annoys me to think that people abuse it in this way.

sunshinefun Mon 25-Feb-19 18:50:00

@nocoolnamesleft I'm so sorry to hear that. Are you better now?

sparklefarts Mon 25-Feb-19 19:03:00

Mac you genuinely complained you didn't get sent a get well card ?!?!???? shockconfused

Jaxhog Mon 25-Feb-19 19:05:15

I would work on the assumption that everyone knows about her side business i.e. discuss it openly in your office. Not with snidey remarks, but with admiration that she can still do this while off sick. That way, if your manager doesn't know, than he'll find out. If it's above board, you don't look nasty.

I would also let your manager know that the extra work is too much, and suggest they get a temp or contractor in to take the slack while your colleague is sick. Remind him, in detail, of how much extra work there is. In the meantime, focus on your own work first.

UtterlyDesperate Mon 25-Feb-19 19:08:29

I think Mac`s point is that it's very noticeable, if you are in a team where the norm is a signed card and a fiver each for flowers etc when you are excluded. Happened to me recently for mh related illness - makes you feel doubly shit about things to be honest, though I felt I couldn't raise it with my line manager as it seemed petty. I even sent a fiver in for a colleague's collection with my first sicknote confused

It's not the flowers or the card, it's what it represents, especially after umpteen years cheerfully contributing for people with "real" illnesses.

Bamchic Mon 25-Feb-19 19:12:44

I’ve been on medication that means I can’t drive for the last 5 weeks, I work in a Camhs community team in Devon one of the biggest geographic areas with the shortest transport
I cannot physically do my job, but I’m doing as much as I can and getting out and doing things I enjoy including volunteering a short walk from my house.

Wheretheresawill1 Mon 25-Feb-19 19:24:25

It’s a real issue in the nhs. I would love to know the secret medical cure that means people are miraculously back in work after 6 months I.e when half pay begins. It’s always the same people

OnlyTheWelshCanCwtch Mon 25-Feb-19 19:39:05

Her sickness is none of your business. There are a lot of invisible illnesses which mean that people may not necessarily "look" ill

I have Fibromyalgia and its hell trying to get through each day while trying to remain composure when every part of you body is battling against you
I have had one days sickness due to it, but as time goes on Im sure that will increase.
I hope my colleagues wont get pissed off about something I have no control over.
I'm currently having a flare up, am in week 8 of it now, and coupled with severe anxiety and depression its basically pants.
I cry most days leaving work as the pain is horrendous

Please don't judge your colleague- you never know when it may be you that needs that time off

Vulpine Mon 25-Feb-19 19:41:31

That would really annoy me too. I'm pretty much never sick because I won't get paid and I'm just really healthy

HollowTalk Mon 25-Feb-19 19:46:14

She must have convinced a doctor, though. I would be very careful before accusing her of doing anything. I'd focus on getting help to do her job.

Decormad38 Mon 25-Feb-19 19:57:43

Your very judgmental aren’t you? I hope no illness befalls you because what’s good for the goose is good for the gander as they say!

StrongerThanIThought76 Mon 25-Feb-19 20:02:50

A colleague of mine was told categorically by occupational health that doing her 2nd job (completely different from her main role) would be beneficial to her recovery so by all means get on with it whilst dealing with the issues keeping her off sick from her main job.

I do understand how people who aren't aware of the seriousness of her situation might view this. Tough shit. None of their business.

sunshinefun Mon 25-Feb-19 20:29:15

@Decormad38 I'm definitely not usually a judgy person and I'll always give people the benefit of the doubt.
But she is making it so hard not to be on this occasion.
Her business isn't too far removed from our job. It requires creative thinking, hard work, stamina, resilience and engagement with people.
She's too sick to do it in work but not sick enough to do it at home.
She has posted herself engaging at public events and talking about the massive success she has had.
It's just very deflating to see.
Especially when she has been so vocal about going off sick in the past when she isn't actually sick. I've heard her first had boasting about what she said to her doctor and to the company doctor. It just feels very wrong

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