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Advice on very sick mothers behalf

(20 Posts)
Tiredtrout Tue 09-Jul-13 05:42:54

My dm has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the past 2 weeks. Unfortunately it has already spread and is inoperable, she's in a great deal of pain, has been put on strong pain killers, told to rest and get her things in order and been signed off work.

She has only had 3 days off sick in 17 years working for the same company and works from home. The company has a weird set up as well where you can have extra holiday but it's deducted out of your pay. She has always worked long hours for this firm and will frequently work till late at night.

Since she sent in her sick note she has been getting calls and emails from hr asking for her to fill in a form detailing what she is doing 24 hours a day for 7 days a week. If she refuses they say they will stop paying her after 17 weeks. She's worried sick about this as her employment is tied in with her life insurance and critical cover. They have also said that they are sure she could manage a bit of work. Can they actually do this, it just doesn't seem right

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Jul-13 06:19:54

The long and short of it is no she is signed off sick and they will have a jolly good reason on the sick note.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 09-Jul-13 06:20:48

Oh yes as far as pay goes she needs to consult her contract as to how long sick pay lasts and which she switched to SSP etc.

marriednotdead Tue 09-Jul-13 06:33:24

So sorry for your troubles.

If I'm reading it right, your mum is terminally ill and they are harassing her? angry

Her sick note says she is unfit for work. That's all they have the right to know, and they have no business demanding that she do anything other than send in that sick note.

In your shoes, I would probably be having sharp words with them on her behalf.

As an aside, she may be able to claim DLA under special rules.

Relaxedandhappyperson Tue 09-Jul-13 06:38:50

There may also be special rules in the critical illness cover about someone diagnosed with something terminal (esp something so nasty as pancreatic cancer which I think can be rather quick sad), so it is worth finding out about those too.

Poor you! Poor your mum!

BeckAndCall Tue 09-Jul-13 06:50:33

I'm sorry it's such bad news for you.

Her situation depends mainly on her contract of employment - she may have a zero hours contract where she only gets paid if she actually works ( hateful contracts), but if she's been there 17 years that sounds unlikely ( they are more recent than that, generally).

But whatever her contract says, she will have protected rights so you may need to take legal advice.

So first off look at her contact, then talk direct to HR ( if they have HR) to make sure they understand the situation, then get some professional help.

bbcessex Tue 09-Jul-13 06:59:42

I'm very sorry to hear about your mum. I don't know anything about work I'm afraid. But there are benefits and allowances in place for people in your mum's situation.

If she doesn't ready have advice and support from the right medical areas, speak to her GP practice asap. They should be able to put you in touch with support who can help with pain.relief AND form filling etc.
They will also have someone who can give advice in your mums work situation. Could be her work don't appreciate the seriousness of her illness.

Best wishes to you all..

Tiredtrout Tue 09-Jul-13 07:52:16

Thanks everyone, she seems to think she has to go along with what they are asking her. If love to tear into them for her but she doesn't want anyone to at the moment. I'd already told her they couldn't do this but she's not having it. I'll work on her again

CMOTDibbler Tue 09-Jul-13 08:05:16

Macmillan were incredibly supportive in dealing with my friends brothers employment issues when he was terminally ill. His bastard employers made him 'redundant' (no consultation, no one else affected) 8 weeks before he died, and his death in service etc was tied to work. But his family sued the company and got all of that money back, plus more.

I'd advise your mum talk to Macmillan as they will also make sure she gets any benefits she's entitled to as there are special exemptions for those with a very limited life expectancy.

trice Tue 09-Jul-13 08:06:43

I recommend that she asks her gp for a macmillan nurse if she doesn't already have one. They have a very good employment section and will deal with paperwork for her.

Tiredtrout Tue 09-Jul-13 08:43:34

She already has a Macmillan nurse through the hospital that is her liaison with the team that are looking after her. I've suggested ACAS to her but she doesn't want to rock the boat. Unfortunately she's a high earner so I doubt there's any benefits she would be entitled to

CMOTDibbler Tue 09-Jul-13 08:48:37

Its worth checking though - friends brother was eligible for them in spite of being a good earner (well above any normal threshold for benefits), as he was assessed as having such a limited life expectancy from the start

ParsingFancy Tue 09-Jul-13 08:51:12

DLA isn't means tested: David Cameron used to claim it for young Ivan.

ParsingFancy Tue 09-Jul-13 09:02:33

So very to hear about your DM's diagnosis, Tiredtrout. And how revolting of her employer.

She will almost certainly be able to claim the DLA under special rules.

Completely second everything that's been said about asking Macmillan for assistance. Your DM - and all of you - must still be absolutely reeling. You could really do with having someone in your corner who knows how everything works and can politely and then not so politely but firmly bat the employers off.

gussiegrips Tue 09-Jul-13 09:10:17

She's sent in a sick note stating that she has cancer and HR are harassing her for a form?

That has made my jaw drop. That's either an honest mistake by some moron one in HR, or, these people are utterly revolting.

These people need to have the full power of MN meted upon them. Could you accidentally post the email of the head of HR and we can explain it to them for you?

I'm sorry that your family is having this heaped on you at what is an impossibly difficult time.

hermioneweasley Tue 09-Jul-13 10:47:23

Tired, I am very sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis.

A company can require people to go through processes to access occupational sick pay, though I have never heard of having to complete a form that says what you've done every hour of every day.

Your mother's condition is covered by the Equality Act, and so I suggest that a sick note explaining the situation will be sufficient, and this would be a reasonable adjustment for her condition.

flowery Tue 09-Jul-13 11:47:20

Where's her manager in all this? Sounds like HR are behaving inappropriately but your manager could and should be supporting her and getting HR off her back.

When they talk about stopping her sick pay, has she checked her contract or handbook to see what sick pay she is entitled to and what conditions are placed upon it?

I would also suggest getting her doctor to write to the Head of HR explaining her condition and what's required rather than relying just on a sick note.

bbcessex Tue 09-Jul-13 16:22:54

Good luck, I can see why your mum doesn't want to go to the effort of going through ACAS.

If your mum has life assurance through her firm, which she may well do if she is a high earner, they will often pay out early for certain conditions (and this is likely to be one of them). Certainly, her McMillan team or her palliative care team will be able to advise her, and are likely to be able to draft a very appropriately worded letter to send to her employers. You will be able to get in touch with the team yourself if your mum can't manage / isn't up to the pressure.

As an aside; I hope your mum has some great pain relief; my mum had the same condition; there are some excellent options available but you sometimes have to stand your ground to get them.


Tiredtrout Tue 09-Jul-13 20:41:14

Well she's done the form just filling in each day with, wake, take pills, make tea, unable to focus due to pain relief and worry, go to bed. She's not getting on with the Macmillan nurse from the hospital and is not willing to accept help with anything yet. She's quite stubborn and strong willed, seems to run in the family!

Thanks for all your advice, I have suggested things but she won't take it till she's ready

MojitoMagnet Tue 09-Jul-13 20:48:54

As Relaxedandhappyperson and bbcessex said, any life-assurance and other health-related cover will normally pay out on the diagnosis of a terminal condition without requiring ongoing work.

She has far more important things to worry about than work now, and should tell them to b*gger off.

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