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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!

C8H10N4O2 Tue 26-Feb-19 09:34:23

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.

Oh this old chestnut - faking mental health illness to skive. It seems to be one of our most recurrent threads at the moment. Most people working through chronic illnesses are accused of skiving at some point, its a great help to maintaining work and recovery hmm

Her situation is none of your business.

Your issue with workload is one to take up with management. If they don't address a shortfall your issue is still with management not the absent colleague.

Considering the Victorian attitudes most companies have to any kind of recurrent chronic or repeated illness I'm fascinated to know there are companies who allow unlimited absence without question on the basis that someone "knows what to say".

PoshPenny Tue 26-Feb-19 09:28:59

OP the way you describe her social media posts, it sounds like it could just be classic MLM bullshit about "living the dream" and they're usually anything but...
It's hard with people who are always off sick, some are just less well than others, whilst others are clearly pisstakers. I'm not sure there's really anything you can do. You could always ask her outright what's wrong with her and why she needs all this time off sick when she eventually comes back. I know it's rude and none of your business but I'm guessing that doesn't bother you any more. I'd keep complaining to your line manager about your workload in the meantime.

madcatladyforever Tue 26-Feb-19 09:18:27

I'm surprised that's allowed, in the NHS you are fired without much fanfare if you overdo the sickness and it is all very unpleasant.

DSHathawayGivesMeFannyGallops Tue 26-Feb-19 09:18:22

I had a colleague like this as part of a retail management team of three. She took the piss with sick AND holiday and by the time she left there was little good will left towards her. She would go off for a week with the merest hint of a sniffle but would roll her eyes and be exceptionally rude and imply disbelief in anyone else called in sick for a day, even if they were obviously ill. She didn't give a tinkers toss about how she impacted us but complained that other people being sick was inconvenient. I once messaged her the night before to say I'd be off ill having cleared it with our boss and messaged her again at 7am to confirm, saying I'd call in as per procedure but take this as confirmation I wasn't coming in. I called her at 9:15 once I knew she'd be in and set up ready for opening and the cheeky bitch said it was "very short notice".
When she demanded I drop what I was doing on a day off to cover her having knowingly gone into work with noro a few weeks later, I just ignored her messages. Similarly, after time off for something awful we left her alone but checked in a day or so before she was due back to check she was ok. She literally replied right at the last second to confirm she'd be in but would have been the first person to complain about being messed about if it had been one of us.

Since being fleeced by her though I've wised up considerably and whilst I don't copy her I definitely take a more proactive approach to time off and standing up for myself.

0rangeB0ttle Tue 26-Feb-19 09:16:31

I've worked with people who have had long term sickness for various reasons, so I know how frustrating it can be. However, I was given promotion over one of these people, so it worked out ok for me in the end. One of the people I worked with had a serious health condition which worsened to the point that they would never be able to work again. Therefore I am always grateful for good health. None of us knows what is going to happen in the future for our health or for our family and friends health.

Rezie Tue 26-Feb-19 09:06:02

"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!"

^Yes. This. It's a management problem. She might be taking the piss or there could be something serious going on. If she is off this much then she has the necessary paperwork. The manager should react to this and make sure you have more resources.

justmyview Tue 26-Feb-19 09:00:25

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 think this is quite good advice from @Jaxhog. There could be more to the story than you know, but if your colleague is taking the mickey, then it does no harm if employers find out about it, and they can deal with it as they wish

adaline Tue 26-Feb-19 08:57:17

* Blatantly abused sick pay.*

Of course some people do do this but they get away with it through poor management and poor HR policies.

Genuine sickness should be managed so that it has little to no impact on other colleagues - in other words if someone is off sick long-term or has a chronic illness which means they're often sick, then management need to sort appropriate cover so it doesn't affect other people.

If that isn't happening it's the fault of management not the colleague off sick.

Moominfan Tue 26-Feb-19 08:54:52

You have my sympathy op. I worked alongside someone who was off long term sick setting up their own business. Once established and sick pay ran out they would come back for short periods of time then go off again. Blatantly abused sick pay.

Bluetrews25 Tue 26-Feb-19 08:50:33

Totally agree that the reasons why someone is off sick are between them and the manager, and that people are allowed to do things, even 'nice' things when off.
But did you say she was doing something very similar to her main job while she is off sick??
This could be seen as conflict of interests if she is setting something up that could be seen as in competition, and she could be risking disciplinary or sacking.
Please tread carefully OP, as you could be seen as bullying or at very least non-supportive here. Management should be ensuring that her time is being covered by someone. Whistleblowing often does not go down well, in spite of what they tell you and policies stating the opposite. I'd advise you to ask for support for you, and leave it there.

adaline Tue 26-Feb-19 08:42:41

* I hate her so much, I am doing two jobs becuase of her*

No you're not. You're doing two jobs because your manager hasn't covered her work/hours effectively. Not her fault.

ScurfnNerf Tue 26-Feb-19 08:18:48

I am doing two jobs becuase of her
No. you are doing two jobs because your organisation is not managing her/her absences effectively.

Jebuschristchocolatebar Tue 26-Feb-19 08:08:25

I’m with you op. I work with someone we call - the sickie- she is off for huge periods of time and has openly told us all before she is playing the system. Every time she gets approached by hr to go into an absence management program she claims they are stressing her out and goes out again. She is now on no pay after a year of messing but in Ireland, illness benefit is over 200e a week from the state so she is getting pocket money to be off sick while her oh pays the bills. She is Spanish and goes to Spain every summer with her kids for six weeks and told my manager if he didn’t give her the leave she would just call in sick. I hate her so much, I am doing two jobs becuase of her

Thecabbageassasin Tue 26-Feb-19 08:07:14

She sounds like she’s taking the mick, but stalking her on social media and bitching about her with your co workers is not exactly showering you with glory.
Address your work load with your mgr and stop winding yourself up by checking up on her. If she’s as blatant as she sounds then surely your manager will pick up on the side business, perhaps they might bump into her at a networking event, but it’s not really your problem to address.

adaline Tue 26-Feb-19 08:04:23

I have a member of staff who's regularly off sick at the moment.

To colleagues who don't know the whole story it would appear as though he's taking the piss - but as his manager I do know what's going on and I know he's trying his best and doing what he can to get into work and participate.

I can't tell any of them that though because his health issues are absolutely none of their business. His shifts are covered and nobody is doing any extra work because of his absences and that's what's important.

ScurfnNerf Tue 26-Feb-19 08:01:52


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!

Bang on. Concentrate on doing your own job. If absence in the team is negatively affecting that, your issue is with how management/the organisation support YOU. Leave this woman alone. She might be swinging the lead, she might be seriously ill, but it really is none of your business.

UniversalAunt Tue 26-Feb-19 07:53:51

The only issue for you is dealing with the need for extra resource as cover or reconfiguring priorities while your colleague is on sick leave. This is what you should flag up to your line manager.

Desist from browsing her social media accounts- 100% truthful as we all know - & stoking your sense of grievance. This is a pointless distraction from the fact that your dept is too tightly stretched & this needs to be dealt with.

Be a leader, quit the bitching & talk constructively with management about how to improve things.

Deal with what you know & with what is right in front of you.

zingally Tue 26-Feb-19 07:43:22

Tread carefully with this.
Without knowing the whole story, from her, I'd stay far away from doing anything.

A couple of years ago now, I had a colleague who did this. Constantly off with one thing or another. It didn't matter so much to me, because she wasn't on my immediate team, but her colleagues were getting so fed up of her not pulling her weight.

Anyway, eventually she did hand in her notice, and the story slowly came out... Her dad was very ill, then died. Her mother, who lived far away, struggled to cope and had a break-down, so colleague went to look after her. Then colleague got pneumonia. Then colleague's marriage started to break down, causing her bad anxiety and depression. All of this was in just under a year.
To be honest, when I heard her endless cycle of bad luck, I felt bad for her.
Sometimes the universe really throws some horrible stuff around.

I'd say, just give your colleague the benefit of the doubt, until you know the facts. And even if she's pulling a fast one, the universe will catch her up eventually.

havingtochangeusernameagain Tue 26-Feb-19 07:43:10

The lesson from this thread seems to be not to be "friends" with work colleagues on social media...

Yabbers Tue 26-Feb-19 07:34:09

I would love to know the secret medical cure that means people are miraculously back in work after 6 months
For many it means returning to work before they are actually well enough or not being able to afford to live. Until you are in that situation you have no idea.

but that's the thing, it is my business as I am picking up her slack!
That still doesn’t make it your business. Your company needs to ensure workloads are covered when people are off sick. Instead of indulging in petty envy at her perceived advantages, speak to your boss only about your concerns over workload. To approach it with the intent of getting the colleague in to trouble, telling tales, is spiteful and childish.

Siriismyonlyfriend Tue 26-Feb-19 07:14:59

I understand how frustrating it must be for you op. It’s hard on members of staff to have to pick up the extra work , usually with no extra pay or even a thanks from their boss/management.

Boobiliboobiliboo Tue 26-Feb-19 07:03:05

At least half of the fault in most of these stories is with weak managers who are afraid of tackling/discussing/managing problem staff absence.

Monty27 Tue 26-Feb-19 06:58:39

Your post got me welling up.
Some people are beyond looking outside of their own little world. sad

Babygrey7 Tue 26-Feb-19 06:58:34

I had a boss like this

She worked the system like a pro and was full of her "rights"

I had to cover for her

It was a real eye opener for me

Not sure what you can do though

MaybeitsMaybelline Tue 26-Feb-19 06:57:26

I had a colleague that took a four month block every year for ten years. Yes ten! It was only when she was brought in and asked whether this “condition” would ever improve and had to start providing medical evidence of all appointments that it stopped. She knew the company was tightening up on abuse and also knew it was likely she would be let go.

Not a single absence since. Not one in four years. Go figure.

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