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Employers have requested a Welfare Meeting via email ... Why am I anxious?

(19 Posts)
FerrisBueller1972 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:22:32


I'm a single mum and I work more or less full time for a very small company (6 people) its recently gone through some tough times and we all had reduced hours for a couple of months to try to avoid redundancy, I was always told I was a main cog and very valued etc so I felt pretty secure.

Roll on a couple of months and I have found myself having to have surgery which has had further complications. I am on pretty strong medication and antibiotics which have awful side effects and this will continue for another 5 weeks. After that I may be facing further major surgery which could potentially see me off for 18 months. I am receiving SSP which doesn't even touch any of my bills which is seriously stressing me out! I don't want to be stuck off work not earning anything.

They emailed me last night to say they were coming to my house on Friday morning for a Welfare Meeting' after taking advice from their Employment Advisors.

Now, my gut screams that they are going down the dismissal route as well as they know how to and I appreciate that it would be near on impossible for them to operate without me fulfilling the job on a daily basis and I have already been absent for 5 weeks. However, I don't want to be without a job!

I have been advised that I can have a representative wih me but it will be next week probably before I can get that sorted which they have just said no problem to.

This illness issue has such a knock on effect that its a whole other thread but right now I would really, very much appreciate any advice or experience from anyone that has been in this kind of situation.

I feel sick sad

SPBInDisguise Thu 28-Feb-13 15:25:42

Don't panic and definitwly don't make yourself stressed! Regular meetings while people are sick are fairly standard, and is as much about covering themselves - they need to ensure they are reasonable and caring. That's how I took the 'legal advice ' comment anyway.

I may be totally wrong, but that was my first thought when I read what you'd written

HecateWhoopass Thu 28-Feb-13 15:31:59

Do you have to agree to them coming? Can they tell you that they ARE coming?

I think you should speak to ACAS right now.

FerrisBueller1972 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:34:57

Thanks SPB, it's just knowing the way they are and how the company has been suffering I could see them thinking well, we've managed without Ferris for 5 weeks and she's going to be off for 5 more at least do we get rid now in case hse is going to be off for a potential 18 month stint.

If I was my employer that's how I would be thinking - however, I am not quite being rational today smile

Just a little bit unnerved as this is not like them, it would normally be a text or a call to see how I was doing etc. This is very formal (although the correct procedure agreed) for them and the way the MD is copied in makes me think there is an alterior motive IYSWIM?

FerrisBueller1972 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:40:16

Hecate - yes I have trawled and absorbed tonnes of info from the ACAS site, until the meeting is held I guess I cannot tell ACAS what is or is not happening.

As I say its a gut feeling and I am fairly sure thats what they are going to try to do. It would make sense.

Numberlock Thu 28-Feb-13 15:44:23

Make an appointment for a free half-hour consultation with a solicitor specialising in employment law and postpone the meeting to a date when you can have a representative present.

You will feel better knowing your rights in advance.

Numberlock Thu 28-Feb-13 15:45:03

PS. Sorry to hear about your illness and hope you feel better soon. And hope the work thing gets sorted in a positive way.

worldgonecrazy Thu 28-Feb-13 15:48:46

It sounds like they're doing things by the book. You've mentioned that you may be off for 18 months. That is a long time to be off sick and it would be unrealistic to expect an employer to function without you in your role, or without a temp in the role. The work contract is a two-way contract, if you cannot keep your end of the bargain then the employer can terminate the employment - harsh but unfortunately that is the world we live in.

It may be that they do value you and will do everything they can to rehabilitate you back into work, but I would ensure that your expectations are realistic, and possibly start looking into back up plans and alternatives. Maybe you can offer some suggestions on how both you and your employer can get through the problems.

FerrisBueller1972 Thu 28-Feb-13 16:01:17

Thanks Numberlock and World, I totally agree with your comments about it being unrealistic for them to keep a job open for someone for such a long time when its such a small company that is not doing quite so well just now.

I really like the job and the company and I hate being off sick like this, its such a crap situation. The other side of the coin (quite literally) is that if I were unemployed just now I would have my council tax paid, my mortage interest payments would be paid (after a period of time) etc. However I'm not unemployed as yet (!) and I just cannot make the ends meet.

Fuming that I am in this position after 4 surgeries over the years to correct this problem, which I believe I was negligently treated initially (another thread) and I am still bloody suffering 8 years later.

I have in the past suffered from anxiety and depression but I have been absolutely fine for many years!!

flowery Thu 28-Feb-13 16:06:54

It's unrealistic to hope your job will be kept open for 18 months, particularly in a small business, so if/when it becomes clear that is likely, I would expect them to start the process for dismissing on capability grounds.

However at 5 weeks without any solid evidence that you won't be back for a significant period dismissal would be premature, and as they seem to be taking proper advice, they are unlikely to attempt to dismiss now.

This will be the first in a series of meetings as greater clarity is sought about your condition and about the realistic prospect of you returning to work. I would expect them to seek your permission to request a report from your GP or for an occupational health report, and it may be that this meeting is to explore that.

FerrisBueller1972 Fri 15-Mar-13 10:32:11

Update: I'm being made redundant due to capability. I knew it, gut feeling.

Now I need to work out how I'm going to survive short term (till this arm is fixed) any advice as to what I do to see if I can get any help from benefits to keep a roof over our heads!

Madlizzy Fri 15-Mar-13 11:13:36 will help. If you've been there for 2 years you'll be entitled to some redundancy pay too.

FerrisBueller1972 Fri 15-Mar-13 11:24:42

Thank you. Yes been there 2.5 yrs. just looked through the letter and it says voluntary redundancy? I agreed to it yes after they discussed it with me but is that right? Will the fact it's voluntary affect any benefits I may be able to apply for? Or delay them in any way?

Madlizzy Fri 15-Mar-13 18:47:34

The CAB would be the best to ask about that.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 15-Mar-13 21:01:31

Sorry to hear of your health issues and job woes.

I am no expect (so helpful) but I don't think they can make you redundant due to capability.

They can dismiss you once they have done all they can to accomodate your illness but they should follow a procedure - wonder if they have?

Redundancy might be a way to give you a bit extra money I guess?

I do wonder if it will affect benefits if appears you chose this.

CAB or the ACAS helpline (cannot insert link as on my phone) should be able to help understand the implications of what they are saying.

Hopefully an emploument expert will be along soon.

Take care.

badguider Fri 15-Mar-13 21:11:40

DON'T take voluntary redundancy without a decent payout. It WILL affect your benefit situation. You'll need to research more but basically any "voluntary" agreement needs to be generous enough to cover any impact on your ability to claim benefits.

tigerdriverII Fri 15-Mar-13 21:20:23

You can't technically be redundant due to capability. You should get some advice, you have over a years and you might also be disabled as defined in the legislation. They don't sound as if they have gone through enough of a process to be able to dismiss fairly for lack of capability if they've Only had one meeting with y and haven't got a medical report at least.

FerrisBueller1972 Mon 18-Mar-13 16:44:01

Had 2nd meeting with them today, it isn't Volantury any longer (they had issued incorrect paperwork) they really don't have a clue what they are doing it seems. The company is doing badly, more so in the last 10 weeks I have been ill, and they are going down this route. As my job responsibilities have been redistributed between other employees, I am no longer required!

Just spent 48 minutes onto the Benfits Line, man they ask the same questions over and over! I 'may' qualify for Mortgage Insterest assistance, however it can take around 13 weeks. Apparently I could have applied for Income Support whilst on SSP. Why is this information not sent to you when you claim SSP, it could mean the difference between us eating or us paying the bloody mortgage to keep a roof over our heads.

I'm seriously worried about my future now sad

Numberlock Tue 19-Mar-13 06:11:11

Have you taken legal advice?

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