Explaining sickness absence when applying for a job

(14 Posts)
StellaBrillante Tue 12-Oct-10 11:32:36


I am completing an application form at the moment and I am required to disclose how many days off sick I have had in the past two years. The count is quite high, especially since I had a complete meltdown last year and was off work for 2 months!

How would you put that down and from experience, what sort of reaction can I realistically expect?

Thank you!

linconlass Tue 12-Oct-10 12:32:51

Id try amd explin in positive term s ie yes you had a meltdown but what you learnt from it was.....insert a positive .such as time managemant to avoid stress etc..good luck

Vinegartits Tue 12-Oct-10 12:37:04

i had 2 months off sick with PND(my gp put it as anxiety though) in my last job, when i got my current job and had to fill in OH form and just put the truth, which was 2 months off with anxiety

i never heard back from it, so i assume its just for their records

Vinegartits Tue 12-Oct-10 12:39:20

i dont think you need to explain much more than that (unless the form specifically asks for details of your treatment/aftercare etc)

certainly dont put that you had a 'meltdown', just put what was on your sick note, and be honest about it, they cannot sack you or refuse to give you the job based on it

StellaBrillante Tue 12-Oct-10 13:17:09

Thank you all for your responses. I think I've failed to explain the situation properly: it's the application form that has a section about sickness absence so I'm wondering whether they use it as part of the screening process. What I mean is that everything else may come across as being absolutely wonderful until they get to that particular section and dismiss your application based on your high sickness absence record. Does this make sense?

deathjeff Tue 12-Oct-10 15:12:24

If you specify the time off and also write that it was PND... that is more likely to be seen as a 'one off'.

If you had just written 'depression' then they are likely to concede that this could be something that has an effect on your future sick records.

BlackandGold Tue 12-Oct-10 17:29:38

I didn't think they were allowed to take sickness into consideration in job applications?

I know our company has a health form which is dealt with by a separate dept.

And there was something in the paper about this recently.

Maybe someone else one here has more infomation about this?

KnackeredCow Tue 12-Oct-10 17:59:02

Is it an old application form? I believe the law changed on 1/10/10 and they are no longer allowed to ask you this, in which case they are breaking the law.

I believe they can ask you in a confidential occupational health questionnaire after a job has been offered, but the aim here is to put in place any reasonable adaptations into place necessary to help you do your job.

Maybe one of the HR gurus will come along in a bit and can advise.

ajandjjmum Tue 12-Oct-10 18:00:41

Was your previous record good? Maybe you could tell the truth but emphasise that it was the first time something like this had happened.

KnackeredCow Tue 12-Oct-10 18:16:28

OK found it. They are falling foul of The Equality Act 2010. Have a look at this ACAS booklet p. 10

It states

Pre-employment health-related checks
The Equality Act limits the circumstances when you can ask health-related
questions before you have offered the individual a job. Up to this point, you
can only ask health-related questions to help you to:
0ecide whether you need to make any reasonable adjustments for the
person to attend the selection process
Decide whether an applicant can carry out a function that is essential
(‘intrinsic’) to the job
Monitor diversity among people making applications for jobs
Take positive action to assist disabled people
Assure yourself that a candidate has the disability where the job genuinely
requires the jobholder to have a disability

A jobseeker cannot take you to an Employment Tribunal if they think you are
acting unlawfully by asking questions that are prohibited, though they can
complain to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. However, if you do
ask these prohibited questions, and not employ the applicant, they may bring
a claim of discrimination against you and the burden of proof would be on
you to demonstrate that you had not discriminated.
Once a person has passed the interview and you have offered them a job
(whether this is an unconditional or conditional job offer) you are permitted to
ask appropriate health-related questions.

As the question is prohibited why not simply write "Not applicable"?

StellaBrillante Wed 13-Oct-10 08:48:27

Brilliant - thank you ever so much, KC!!! And yes, I am inclined to think that they haven't updated their application form in a while.

Hulababy Wed 13-Oct-10 08:52:57

I had several weees over work in the year or two before I applied for my current job. It was due to a couple of operations plus hormone treatment I had. In my job app I did put a comment to explain my high sickness record. I did get the job.

Hulababy Wed 13-Oct-10 08:53:10

weeks now weees!

StellaBrillante Wed 13-Oct-10 09:37:49

Hi Hulababy,

The wee / week confusion made me laugh! smile and congrats for getting the job smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now