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Sick leave entitlement after extended period off work last year

(17 Posts)
Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 18:26:05


I spent much of last year (beginning of February until around September and then another period of a few weeks in Oct-Nov) signed off work with stress - due to both work and non-work related issues.

I find again that I'm not coping with work and life in general, and would appreciate some advice on how I accrue sick pay again. Unfortunately I cannot afford to be off work without any kind of sick pay, but I am being thoroughly unproductive at work at the moment and feel useless whilst I'm there. I work alone, so the fact that I am not coping can be quite well hidden - it doesn't make me feel good, however, and I know that the situation is unsustainable.

I wonder if anyone has any advice, and I would be extremely grateful for it. I'm desperately looking for a new job, but there is just nothing coming up in my area (information management) and/or location, and we do need a certain level of money to continue to pay our current outgoings (mortgage, childcare etc).

I'm sorry this is such a ramble - thank you if you've made it to the end.

flowery Mon 07-Apr-14 18:44:52

If you get more than statutory sick pay it will entirely depend on your employers sick pay policy. Have you checked it?

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 19:22:41

Hi Flowery. I got 6 months full and 6 months half pay last year, but I wasn't sure if I had to work for a certain period of time without sick leave before having that entitlement again or whether it auto renews on the start of a new leave year. The policy doesn't make that clear.

flowery Mon 07-Apr-14 20:10:35

Goodness that's generous.

Can you post the wording of the policy or is it very long? If there is a condition that you have to be back at work a certain time it should specify.

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 20:24:42

Thanks Flowery. The policy is a few pages long, and I certainly haven't seen any mention of a period of time. I may need to send an email to HR and find out. Finding the energy to do this is a different matter, strange as that probably sounds!

Jinsei Mon 07-Apr-14 20:34:28

My workplace has a similar sickness entitlement - 6 months full pay, then 6 months half pay. It works on a rolling 12 month basis, so your entitlement now would depend on how much time you've had off since April 2013 - which sounds like quite a lot, I'm afraid, but presumably you will have sone time left on half pay.

If you do take more time off, though, you might have a problem with keeping your job - I know we'd be looking at the sustainability of your employment in my organisation, as it's a lot of time off. Have you had to attend any meetings about your absence?

Sorry that you're having such a rough time. sad

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 20:52:28

Thanks Jinsei, that is one of my worries - that I've had so much time off already. I'm really not coping at all though, not that anyone would realise as I generally just smile and say I'm fine. Then disappear to my office and get not much done sad

In the long term, perhaps the answer is just to resign as it's not doing anyone any favours my being there sad

I might email one of the HR bods in my place of work, in confidence if possible, and see what they say.

Jinsei Mon 07-Apr-14 21:11:28

Presumably they know why you were off previously? Have they taken any steps to alleviate the stress that you're under?

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 21:14:25

Yes, they know why I was off previously. We've had the formal, required meetings to discuss my absence, and I've set out my concerns, but ultimately things are just the same as they were when I was signed off before. It's all a bit of a bugger, really!

yummumto3girls Mon 07-Apr-14 21:25:44

Sounds like you are having a tough time but unfortunately you cannot expect your employee to pay you sick pay forever. Are the issues work related? What has your employer done to support you? What do you think needs to be done to help you? If these issues have gone on for over 12 months could you fall under the definition of disabled, which would require your employer to consider reasonable adjustments?? I know when you are feeling down this all seems a lot to deal with it, however if financially you will not be able to survive you now need to be proactive in helping yourself?

Jinsei Mon 07-Apr-14 21:27:34

Have they given you any indication at those meetings about what might happen if you go off again?

It seems rubbish that they haven't addressed the causes of your stress. Are there specific adjustments that you've asked for? Is there actually stuff that they can do about your concerns? Is the stress related to workload? The nature of the work itself? Personalities?

What do you see as a way forward? What would need to change in the office to enable you to cope?

NewJobNewLife Mon 07-Apr-14 21:28:31

We also get 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay. Our policy stipulates that this is within a rolling 4 year period.

I am amazed that the policy doesn't state the time period that the 6/6 months pay applies too, as without a time period surely an employee could argue any single absence could be 12 months long and they'd be paid for all of them?! Alternatively I guess the employer could argue that the 6/6 limits apply to the while period of employment? Just seems like an unworkable policy without the timeframe, and a company big enough to be that generous would generally have a better HR policy writer.

I hope you feel better soon and are able to make changes to improve work/life so that you can get back on an even keel. Good luck smile

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 21:34:54

I'm watching this thread whilst reading websites giving advice on changing career... smile.

Much of my work related stress is due to workload, and is something that I have raised for the 8 years I have worked there - with increasing desperation, as the workload increases. I have no assistance, and am responsible for a large remit which shows no sign of shrinking. The fact that they will not commit resources to helping does say a lot I suppose.

There hasn't been any indication of what would happen if I went off again - it seems everyone feels things are back to normal, and that that is a discussion which hasn't been necessary.

I just feel so awful. I'm exhausted, drained, devoid of energy when I'm at home with my family and I never used to be like this. I used to love my job, and described it as my ideal. I don't know how I've gone from one extreme to the other in a relatively short space of time. I feel guilty about how little time I devote to it whilst I'm there, and yet can't see a way out.

I know - moan, moan, moan!!

Jinsei Mon 07-Apr-14 21:48:03

Have you tried the tack of asking them what they'd like you to prioritise, given that your overall workload is unmanageable? Or do they think it should be manageable and it's just that you're inefficient?

Out of interest, what happened to your workload while you were off sick?

A career change might do you the world of good. Do you have any idea what you'd like to do instead? Gave you got transeferable skills?

Fretful Mon 07-Apr-14 21:56:36

Yes, we discussed the priorities, however the list is still fairly large and all could take up a fair whack of time (investigating files/archives for a police investigation; enquiries, including FOI requests which have a set deadline; cataloguing backlog; blah, blah). Perhaps they do think I'm inefficient, though no-one has come out and said that to me.

One of the big bonuses of information management type work is that it does involve a lot of transferable skills, so that is something that I need to focus on when trying to think of my next moves. I'd like to do something that is more 'worthwhile', but would need to completely start from scratch. Some of the stuff I'm reading on these other websites are actually making me feel slightly more positive, so I'll need to look at them in more detail.

While I was off last year, my line manager (who isn't experienced in the nitty gritty of my job) managed as best she could to keep on top of urgent things, but much remained unattended to. This backlog still exists, and needs to be dealt with at some point.

I have actually written my letter of resignation - perhaps I just need to hand it in and get it over with!

flowery Mon 07-Apr-14 22:43:07

It really should be clear in the policy whether it's 6 months full/6 months half in a year x date to x date or 6months/6 months in a rolling year.

Jinsei Mon 07-Apr-14 22:55:54

The thing is, if you have more time off, the backlog will just get bigger and the problem will only get worse. I think you need to have a really honest conversation with your line manager about how the work is going to be dealt with, and the impact that the current failure to resource things properly is having on your mental health. Could you draft some sort of proposal for the support that would be needed to clear the decks and get up to speed with everything?

If they don't want to resource it properly, they obviously don't think it's that important - in which case, it's not worth making yourself ill over it!

Ultimately, walking away is probably your best option, but you need to find a way of getting through things until you've got something else to go to.

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