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DP just been given a warning for time off sick - can they do that??

(13 Posts)
Pesha Tue 14-Jun-11 16:45:47

Dp had 3 days off work in April in the week with all the bank hols, which I can see looks quite suspicious but he was genuinely ill with an abscess under his wisdom tooth and in huge amounts of pain. His work asked for some sort of proof and he was able to get something from his dentist showing they had treated him, he also showed them the ABs he was on and has been referred to hospital to have wisdom tooth removed so has told them this as well.

He then badly sprained his ankle and had 3 weeks off work for this, signed off by a doctor. His work involves walking around the site all day including up and down stairs constantly and is about a 40 min drive away.

He's been back at work 2 weeks and has just been given a verbal warning by his boss for the time off sick and told that the management 'may want to take it further'. He is in a union and spoke to the union rep who said they can give him a warning for time off sick but I can't see how if it's certified by a dr?

He very rarely has time off sick, he gets full sick pay but not for the first 3 days so often if hes got a bug or something he will either take the time as holiday or struggle in and carry on anyway. I have never known him take a sickie just for the hell of it. He also worked both days at the weekend and is down to work all this weekend as well and always does do lots of overtime when its available so this isn't an ongoing problem.

flowery Tue 14-Jun-11 17:02:08

It's perfectly legal to discipline someone for sickness absence, as long as there is no discrimination (ie sickness absence isn't disability-related) and a fair process is used.

Did he have a proper disciplinary hearing with his rep there?

Pesha Tue 14-Jun-11 17:16:57

Gosh, is it? That seems so unfair if you're signed off sick by a Dr.

And no as far as I can gather his immediate boss just approached him and told him he was giving him a verbal warning for time off sick and that senior management may take it further and that was that. DP does shifts so still at work till 10 tonight so won't get the full story till later.

I am 38 weeks pg at the moment with my 4th and having lots of stop start contractions so now worrying about calling him back and it being a false alarm and him getting in trouble vs not calling him back in time and him missing it all! And I doubt him taking his paternity leave is going to help things either really.

flowery Tue 14-Jun-11 17:26:31

It doesn't sound particularly fair in your DP's case I agree, as each case was signed off by a doctor and for separate incidences of sickness on an otherwise good record.

If he's been given a disciplinary warning without any kind of process he needs to appeal it, both on the grounds of it being harsh to give a formal warning in those circumstances and also on their failure to follow reasonable disciplinary procedure. If he knows anecdotally that usually they don't give warnings for sickness absence, particularly where it's signed off by a doctor, then that helps his case as well. Some companies automatically trigger warnings at certain levels of absence, for example, so context is important as to how fair this decision is.

Where is his union rep in all this - if a member of staff has been given a disciplinary warning without a process he/she ought to be up in arms!

scurryfunge Tue 14-Jun-11 17:36:29

You can still fail to meet the terms and conditions of your contract by not being at work, even if you are signed off. A three day period and a three week period for unrelated reasons sounds a bit harsh though. What efforts did he make to get a lift, be office based or work from home when he had a sprain?

Grumpystiltskin Tue 14-Jun-11 20:48:34

Our attendance system kicks in after 15 days. Seems harsh but your employers have to do something to keep their wheels turning! For us, one off accidents can be discounted though (ie ankle sprain).

Pesha Tue 14-Jun-11 22:02:28

Have spoken to him briefly again, seems its not just on these last 2 incidents, he thinks its based on the last 12 months but isn't sure. I don't think he has had much time off sick in the last year. He did have some time off in November as I was admitted to hospital due to hyperemesis, I think it was 4 days off, possibly 5, to look after our other children. This was unpaid compassionate leave but still counts as absenteeism apparently.

He works shifts - 6am till 2pm one week then 2pm till 10pm the next so no public transport and no longer anyone else from same town who works there. Also no chance apparently of light duties or work from home.

The company was also taken over by another company this year although all staff and on site management have stayed the same (I think) and contracts have not been changed but policy may have and I suppose saying 'well they don't normally do this' doesn't really count anymore. I'm a bit clueless about all this TBH, I am self employed which is so much simpler!!

OpusProSerenus Tue 14-Jun-11 22:07:51

I worked for a large high street store until recently and they had a policy that more than one absence earned you a warning whether Dr certified it or not.

Gone are the days when companies cared about their staff

InMyPrime Wed 15-Jun-11 15:10:44

A lot depends on the company's internal policies. Some companies stipulate that any absence of more than x days or consecutive absences of x times will be a disciplinary matter, as Opus mentions above.

He should check his contract to see what it says about sickness and absence or staff handbook if there is nothing specific in his contract. The union should be able to help him with that. Either way though, it sounds a bit off the way that this manager handled the conversation. The manager should have explained clearly what he was being disciplined for and how this relates to the company's internal policies e.g. 'you've had an absence record of more than x days in the past 12 months, which is a disciplinary matter according to our policies as referred to in our handbook/your contract' etc.

Putthatbookdown Wed 15-Jun-11 20:42:44

We have a limit on the number of days in any 12 months.I think the co has not handled this at all well. They need to have a meeting and explain the situation more clearly E.g if absence anything to do with work, anything going on. Tell him it is unacceptable etc and give him a chance to explain. They do not HAVE to give a warning but they should investigate

cuckooclock Fri 17-Jun-11 22:41:21

He needs to check on company policy. Many employers are really clamping down on sick leave at the moment. In my organisation it used to kick in at 10 days in a rolling 1 year period, but now it is more complicated and depends on number of days & number of occasions.

xiaojree Sat 18-Jun-11 13:24:53

Message deleted

xiaojdd Sun 19-Jun-11 01:33:05

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