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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.

jewel1968 Sun 21-Apr-19 11:54:47

Thanks pointy. I think I do a lot that your manager does but always keen to learn. My one simple philosophy (borrowed from R. Branson I think) is look after the people and they will deliver.

Kingoftheroad Sun 21-Apr-19 11:50:14

brilliant idiot I’d be interested to hear your advice on devising a strategy like this, that doesn’t involve having to pay to have extra staff on standby and how on earth can we guard against loss of clients and business when we don’t have the staff to cover the shift due to last minute sickness.

Businesses these days are really struggling. I certainly pay very well (as my employees continually tell me) have great working conditions. Flexibility in hours, all meals and drinks provided and regular shares of profits.

I really resent the statement that I am part of the problem !

Someone else mentioned ‘I make the profits’ no not really. Most small businesses simply coast, stay afloat and get by. There is no margin in our profits for standby staff. Also, when someone is off sick, we have to pay for extra staff to cover (double wages) then make up for any potential losses.

Of course people take unwell and have to be off, I completely agree with this. It happens way to often and it can’t be sustained

Inliverpool1 Sun 21-Apr-19 11:27:00

ElektraLOL - you should have had the conversation about hours without the need to resign ... tbh I didn’t realise the job you were doing at the time so things are probably different in your sector

pointythings Sun 21-Apr-19 11:25:40

jewel it's really very simple. Ours is a research team, so non-clinical. Because we are NHS, we have to use the Bradford scale; however, our team manager is supportive rather than disciplinarian in her approach. When it comes to stress-related illness, we all feel able to approach her before things become so bad that we need time off and we reallocate workloads. When it comes to physical illness, we are encouraged to stay home until we are fully recovered rather than being chased to come back as soon as possible - this means we have far fewer episodes of recurring illness close together because people don't come in when they are still ill, they don't spread their viruses to the rest of the team and so illness happens less often.

Carer leave is used sensibly for those of us who have families, and there is no pressure to use the minimum amount of compassionate leave permitted when someone suffers a bereavement - when my H died last year, our manager couldn't have been more supportive.

Home working is encouraged where possible and phased returns are used sensibly - we are trusted not to take the piss.

It isn't like that everywhere and I know that - in fact, those of our team members who previously worked on wards report very different situations.

However, it's a simple fact that it isn't necessary to treat your staff like dirt and push them for everything they've got. It's perfectly possible to di things differently and reap results.

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 11:25:20

Another therapist has been signed off massage completely due to injury and she was told if her massages can't be covered she'll still have to do them!

I like the way @Kingoftheroad blames me for working over my limit. They are difficult to deal with. Victim blaming much?

ElektraLOL Sun 21-Apr-19 11:22:51

The doctor says my back is in spasms and has prescribed stronger painkillers. I have written an email to management (who are not even at work today themselves)

To the poster who says I shouldn't have accepted a counter offer and will end up with a worse job what do you mean? The reason I was leaving was to do with not being able to visit my daughter who lives in residential school. So they offered different hours.

Prequelle Sun 21-Apr-19 11:17:01

banana that may be policy where you work but legally employers have to accept 7 days self certify. It's appalling that people are expected to waste doctor's very limited and highly demanded time to get notes for things like colds and other simple things that don't usually require a doctors visit. A lot of our doctors refuse to give notes unless it's for after the week of self cert

justarandomtricycle Sun 21-Apr-19 11:13:24

What does "called in at the last minute sick" even imply as a concept?

Is there some expectation you would be given notice when someone is off sick or something?

YANBU OP. People are sometimes unwell. Not accepting it is akin to not accepting the weather.

bananasandwicheseveryday Sun 21-Apr-19 11:07:17

I think it's quite common for certain jobs to have periods when sick leave is expected to be covered by medical evidence. Ds works in retail and any sickness during December has to be covered by a certificate, also, no annual leave can be booked for December and January. I work in a school and any sickness on the last day of term has to be covered by a medical certificate.
Hope your appointment went well and you got a certificate OP.

Brilliantidiot Sun 21-Apr-19 11:06:25


Exactly, increasingly employers are demanding their employees give the same level of input as they give - yet They're not willing to share the benefits of that input with a bonus or payrise or a staff benefit of some description. They are demanding total loyalty, yet showing none in return, rather the opposite. Staff in situations like this are often dropped like faulty equipment.
Unfortunately everyone is obsessed with making as much profit as possible and staff are just a piece of equipment these days.
I think it may have been Richard Branson that said
"You don't need to look after your clients, if you look after your staff, your staff will look after your clients"
If staff feel valued they'll go above and beyond without even realising it. I'm lucky, I'm valued where I am, and I bend over backwards to help my employer, but then they do the same for me.

jewel1968 Sun 21-Apr-19 10:58:12


Can you expand on - I work in the NHS - our team manager has a progressive attitude towards staff sickness. Guess what? Our sickness absence rates are minuscule.

I am genuinely interested in what a progressive attitude is and if it is part of NHS policy in managing absence.

kalinkafoxtrot45 Sun 21-Apr-19 10:57:58

This country has an appalling attitude to sickness absence. People end up working when they shouldn’t and make their conditions worse, or spread germs to others and make the whole office sick. And kingoftheroad you’re clearly part of the problem. Have a biscuit

Hearhere Sun 21-Apr-19 10:53:49

It sounds like they're just using the staff as scapegoats for their own incompetence

Jessikka Sun 21-Apr-19 10:53:32

I am recovering from a slipped disc and I can absolutely sympathise with you. It's horrendous.

If i jar it or twist too suddenly I can barely walk for days - it's always with a limp as my right leg won't straighten!

I work in an office so I can raise my desk up and down if needs be but a physical job in that pain? no way! I'd be useless.

Hope you get better soon 🌷

thecatinthetwat Sun 21-Apr-19 10:51:47

You should find work elsewhere op, if you possibly can. Don't support such a company, it's outright bullying. I've experienced this type of thing before, it's awful.

I hope you feel better soon flowers

Butterymuffin Sun 21-Apr-19 10:51:15

OP did you post before about problems with a colleague and you getting all the harder appointments? Definitely time to move jobs if so.

ArabellaDoreenFig Sun 21-Apr-19 10:49:19


Couldn’t agree more with your last post. Its great that people do run their own businesses- but as a small/medium business owner you need to appreciate that it is your business, you make the profits, you run the risks etc, any staff you hire shouldn’t be expected to shoulder any responsibilities beyond their job, if they are then you are not managing well !

ilovebrie8 Sun 21-Apr-19 10:47:19

It is not up to the OP to arrange sickness cover that is the job of management and/or the owner of the business.

Kingoftheroad your attitude is shocking in this day and age...

Prequelle Sun 21-Apr-19 10:45:55

you must manage on a shit wage that means you have to claim benefits to survive, you must have very high standards and work when I want you to, oh you also can't have sick time because how dare you eat into my profits by becoming unwell! Think of my business!

Passthecherrycoke Sun 21-Apr-19 10:43:45

I don’t really understand why owners of businesses who pay minimum wage and charge luxury prices expect us to feel sorry for them for dealing with perfectly normal HR and personnel issues. Who cares? If they can’t run the business then they’re incompetent.

Brilliantidiot Sun 21-Apr-19 10:38:19

it would then be left to the owner to take time away from her clients to try to cover the shift. It really does help to see that someone’s at least trying to get cover.

Yes, it is down to the owner, and why shouldn't it be? It's their business! Businesses need to stop trying to palm off the risks of being in business to their staff!

However the business could die out as clients, when met with this will usually take their business elsewhere then no one would have a job to call I. Sick to.

Then it's up to the owner/manager to devise a strategy that minimises this or that covers loss of income, guards against loss of clients. It's not up to the staff to do that.

MadeleineMaxwell Sun 21-Apr-19 10:38:17

Absence levels in the UK are really high

Sickness absence falls to the lowest rate on record

Although all that apparently shows is that presenteeism and not paying for sickness leave is on the rise.

DGRossetti Sun 21-Apr-19 10:31:04

Can you paint it on the side of a bus ?

PregnantSea Sun 21-Apr-19 10:30:41

What a bunch of arseholes. This is laughable.

You're sick today and that's fine. The worst that they can do is fire you for it, which would be illegal and then you can take them to an employment tribunal.

Take no notice of their ridiculous attitude. Perhaps it's time to look for a new job.

pointythings Sun 21-Apr-19 10:27:52

Kingoftheroad has it ever occurred to you that sickness levels in the UK are appalling because business owners don't employ enough staff, don't pay them decent wages and overwork them, then treat them badly if they go off sick? There's a reason why productivity in the UK is worse than in comparable EU countries, and it's to do with the culture of presenteeism. Treat your staff well and they will be well and do well.

I work in the NHS - our team manager has a progressive attitude towards staff sickness. Guess what? Our sickness absence rates are minuscule.

If you want to see the root cause of the problems with sickness absence in the UK, look in the mirror.

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