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I work for a company who says they won't accept sick calls

(111 Posts)
ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 08:53:09

I have an ongoing problem with a slipped disc in my back. It flairs up every now and then and I have a very physical job. So yesterday my back was hurting all day at work and today I'm in so much pain I'm going to the out of hours GP. I can't even drive. So I call in sick to work to be told they will not accept sick calls today because they are too busy. This is the first time I've ever called in sick in any job I've had. I physically will not be able to do the movements involved. I told them I'm self certifying and i will not be in.

IABU to think this is not usual workplace behaviour? I have heard from others that they will always try to bully ill people into work.

gamerwidow Sun 21-Apr-19 09:21:40

To be honest it sounds like the person you spoke to is coming down hard because they are scared about what management will do if someone is off sick.
Once your case gets referred to actual management I think they’ll realise that you’re not just trying it on.

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 09:22:23

Also, when I accepted the job I did inform them that I've historically had problems with my back.

And it's actually their fault it's got worse again because of a weekend where I was given more hours than my massage limit.

Whatelsecouldibecalled Sun 21-Apr-19 09:23:14

That’s ridiculous! I’m sorry you’re in this situation OP. Sounds like time to look somewhere else if possible.

The only difficulty you have is most often doctors will note write I note for first week as you can (or should be able to!) self certify. Perhaps if you explain your situation they might see it differently but unlikely. Keep your appointment from your doctors I’d work decide to take it further. I would be using my time whilst resting my back googling employment law to be fully armed when I go back to work with a response like that. Hope you feel better soon.

Anothertempusername Sun 21-Apr-19 09:23:25

Is it retail, OP?

OffToBedhampton Sun 21-Apr-19 09:23:58

To be honest if your back is that bad, you'll need quite a few days or weeks off. Better take that in one lot than try in and out on odd days during this flare up, as ironically that makes a worse sick leave record.

If they are a company in UK they don't get choice whether to accept sick calls or not. Just record that you made phonecall (follow up email "as per my phonecall at 8.02am this morning, I am off sick .."
They are leaving them self open to big fines if they breach employee rights in shoddy employment practices, and a constructive dismissal claim from you individually if they discipline you for taking such little and much needed sick leave as long as you followed sick process.

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 09:24:14

No, not retail. It's a spa

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 09:26:58

I hope I don't need weeks off, as I will not get paid

WingBingo Sun 21-Apr-19 09:29:08

Wow, that’s a terrible attitude!

I experienced similar last week. MIL works for Asda - she had a heart attack, so very serious. I called her work for her and the response was dreadful.

Before they even asked what was wrong, they said “wasn’t sheboff last week?” (She wasn’t), then had a moan about it being busy.

Once I told the shit manager why she wasn’t coming in, he just said, get her to give me a call to let me know if she will be in next week...

She won’t be going back at all anyway, but it was such a shitty response for a worrying time.

mondaylisasmile Sun 21-Apr-19 09:29:38

Op you need to cover yourself - notify them in writing, and mention the verbal response with a polite summary (I understand from X that the company will not accept sickness as a standard policy but I literally cannot move and so am self certifying..)

Then go look at ACAS guidance, check if you have employment law on hand on your home insurance policy, and/or look up you union rep contact details if you are part of one... Be prepared basically.

Purplecatshopaholic Sun 21-Apr-19 09:30:28

Dear God, what kind of company do you work for?? If you are sick, you are sick!! (And I work in HR).

Prequelle Sun 21-Apr-19 09:32:00

The audacity of management in some places. It's not up to them to accept it. You're off sick and it's that simple. Idiots

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 09:32:22

Yes my appointment is in 30 minutes so after that I will write an email. Ironically I don't go out anyway on bank holidays because I'm autistic and don't like socialising.

Kingoftheroad Sun 21-Apr-19 09:38:23

Sounds as though you’re in agony. There’s no way you can work in that state. You’d be risking further damage, therefore longer sickness etc.

I honestly think that this is a classic case of everyone being made to suffer for the previous actions of the few.

I run my own business and and early morning sickness calls can determine whether the business opens or closes that day. It’s a nightmare to manage. It has really put me off employing women with children as calling in when children are ill mums having the day off
is the biggest cause of absence.

Absence levels in the UK are really high, so in your employers case I really can understand both points of view, albeit they have worded it very badly

NoSquirrels Sun 21-Apr-19 09:39:06

I think that if they say that, then you would be perfectly fine to say "I'm afraid it's against employment law not to accept that your employee is unfit for work today".

Follow up with email documenting phone call etc., as other have said, and try to not worry.

Hope your back feels better soon.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sun 21-Apr-19 09:41:44

I know that your situation is not funny in the slightest, but I did laugh in a shocked sort of way at the blank refusal to accept sick calls. As if they have godlike powers to make it not be so because they choose for it not to be so!

Kingoftheroad Sun 21-Apr-19 09:44:28

Sorry - I’ve just noticed that you work in a spa. If you’re a therapist you could well be leaving them with a nightmare today as they’ll have clients booked in which, no doubt they’ll need to cancel, unless they can call in someone at short notice.

Would probably been better if you’d tried to swap shifts with a colleague etc before calling in

ILoveMaxiBondi Sun 21-Apr-19 09:45:48

Well it’s complete bollocks isn’t it, employers don’t get to stipulate when staff can be sick. They can’t tell you it’s fine to be off sick on Wednesdays because we are quiet but Monday’s and Fridays are firm no for sickness. No-one can plan their illness. Ignore them OP.

HollaHolla Sun 21-Apr-19 09:48:26

I also have a history with my back, and have just had my fourth surgery on it. This particular issue started last summer, when I had to have a week off, and have had 4 days off In the run up to my surgery in January.
Despite work knowing my situation, that I was awaiting surgery, and going in using crutches, I was being disciplined for my absence. I’m about to go back to a full-on stand off with my boss, as she was calling me when I was in hospital to ask how to do part of my job (despite my leaving notes, an instruction manual, etc.) I too have received two awards at work in the last 4 years, and am regularly praised for my excellent work.
I think back problems are misunderstood by a lot of workplaces, and can be seen as something people ‘make up’ as something to get time off.
It’s madness to say that they ‘don’t accept’ sickness. I’d support what others suggest, and get this documented by the doctor - even if they won’t sign you a sick note, then to get evidence of the appointment.
Good luck - hope they can give you some stronger stuff, but as you know, sometimes it’s just rest/gentle exercise which can heal it a bit. Don’t not go for a small walk (if you’re able) in fear of someone seeing you. Take care.

ExplodingCarrots Sun 21-Apr-19 09:51:14

I used to work in a spa. I was also treated appallingly , especially when I was pregnant. If you called in sick you were made to feel awful and would have an almighty row when you had a back to work interview. I had tonsillitis once and was told 'don't have tonsillitis again' hmm.
I know it's a nightmare for them to cover treatments , especially on a bank holiday weekend, but bullying people won't work. I take it they have a high turnover of staff?

ArabellaDoreenFig Sun 21-Apr-19 09:58:56

Would probably been better if you’d tried to swap shifts with a colleague etc before calling in

No, that’s what managers are for!

For example (I’m mid management level) I work in exams and have to rota invigilators, if I had a sickness it’s not the sick member of staff who sorts out the cover it’s me.

OP I have suffered from slipped disc and I haven’t felt pain like it, it is agony, so have lots of flowers and cake from me.

Go see the doc, get written confirmation of the situation and rest and recover.

Burlea Sun 21-Apr-19 09:59:03

I worked for a catalogue retail store my father died and my husband phoned my manager who replied that I had botched up his rota so he's not very happy.
When I returned I was informed that in future I had to come into store to say if I was sick then he would decide if I needed time off sick. I walked out and won't
even shop there anymore.

Brilliantidiot Sun 21-Apr-19 09:59:31

Stories like this really annoy me, and the one about the Mil and heart attack. How can you 'not accept sick calls'? Management say no one shall be sick so therefore it shall be? What a load of bollocks!
A lot of the time these idiots are making it up as they go along and haven't a clue about the actual law, speak to acas and get some advice and tell them you've done it and what acas says, often it's enough to shut up these wallys.
A job I had once tried to discipline me for having emergency surgery. They rang while I was still in hospital, attached to a drip, and demanded I attended a meeting about my attendance as I'd been off for more than 3 days, I was high as a kite on medication at the time and do believe I told them to 'come see for themselves, ward 12, end bed' they didn't turn up but because I was so annoyed most of the nurses heard about it, one of them told me a little while later they'd rang to check I was there. When I got out I spoke to acas and then when I spoke to work and basically repeated what acas said they shut up pretty quickly.

Dotty1970 Sun 21-Apr-19 10:02:26

Kingofthrroad..... You are a complete biscuit

TSSDNCOP Sun 21-Apr-19 10:04:28

Is it retail OP?

Message to bosses: treat staff as human, resource up and if you have problems you’re covered. Face it, you’re looking at minimum wage x 4 hours it’s not going to break the bloody bank

RumCustard Sun 21-Apr-19 10:05:17

Poor you for being in pain and having to deal with this kind of attitude.

Keep every note and detail about your doctor's visit.

Do you have an HR manual?

Speak to CAB if they carry on being knobs.

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