I have been off work for 8 weeks and have just been signed off for another 6 weeks. I was sectioned until today so it was not my choice to be off.
I work for the local council but I am on my probationary period which ends on the 14th December. I am hoping to go back to work before then on phased return but obviously my GP disagrees. I will try to go back but at the moment I really am not well enough to work.
Am I right in thinking I have no rights and they can dismiss me if I continue to be off sick? I do plan to return and they knew about my MH issues before I started work there. I have a supportive MH team.
With less than two years' service, under normal circumstances your employer could dismiss you just by giving the correct notice, without even giving a reason if they don't want to, as you can't claim unfair dismissal.
However, if they dismiss you because of a disability, that would be automatically unfair and you'd be able to claim unfair dismissal from day one if that were the case.
That doesn't mean of course that they are expected to employ you indefinitely if you are absent so long or so frequently you can't realistically do the job, but it's a lot more difficult and they'd have to be careful to make every reasonable effort to assist you back to work, consider reasonable adjustments etc.
So you have a lot more breathing space than if your condition was not a disability.
I would expect your probationary period to be extended, since your illness has prevented you carrying out the job. This may not happen automatically though. Suggest you speak to HR, and start by assuring them that you are keen to get back to work and would welcome a phased return to help you do that.