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if someone is off sick, how often do you ring them - if you are manager or HR/personnel

(36 Posts)
romanrainsalot Tue 12-Jan-16 18:29:15

Just that really. If someone is off sick, they ring daily to see if you will be in the following day. Even when someone has provided a sick note for two weeks they ring every day.

I understand employers don't want people to be off and have to plan, but in the case of a medium term absence, with sick note provided, is it a bit OTT? I can see it is starting to stress the individual concerned.

Appreciate thoughts.

DoreenLethal Tue 12-Jan-16 18:31:58

If someone has a sick note for two weeks, then nobody calls them every day - they are off sick.

SoYouBetterRun Tue 12-Jan-16 18:34:21

No. You leave them alone until the end of the time they have been signed off.

sleepyhead Tue 12-Jan-16 18:35:37

Dh's work do this. He's off work with anxiety and obviously it's not helping hmm

In his employer's case it's because they want him to crack and hand in his notice so they're saved the bother of firing him when he gets back to work.

If its causing your friend stress then they should ask them to stop. It's not reasonable to require a daily update in the circumstances.

StopShoutingAtYourBrother Tue 12-Jan-16 18:35:39

Once you have a sick note then I'd suggest you call towards the end of the period to check in. If someone has been signed off with stress then their employer calls every day there is a strong chance this will contribute towards stress and make the whole thing much worse. Even if it's a broken leg, you know their off and for how long so the call again doesn't help. Every day is only appropriate when you're off for a day or two.
That's my advice!

emwithme Tue 12-Jan-16 18:36:30

If someone has a sick note for two weeks, why are they being called every day? You know they're not going to be in for two weeks.

It is ABSOLUTELY over the top. I was off sick from my last job long term (before being medically retired) and my contact with work/HR in the end was at first fortnightly (first two sick notes), then monthly for six months (next few sick notes) then every other month, where they'd arrange for me to see Occupational Health.

Loraline Tue 12-Jan-16 18:39:10

I would call towards the end if the 2 week period to check in, see if they're ready to come back or likely to be signed off for a further period and if they need anything coming back. Otherwise leave them alone unless there's a genuine reason I have to call them.

romanrainsalot Tue 12-Jan-16 18:40:16

Thanks. But this is exactly what my friend's employer is doing, calling her every day (usually around the same time) on mobile and if no answer the house phone. Its bothering her, she feels guilty, when she is genuinely not well. She isn't a person who has had a lot of time off and never enough time to require a docs note. I know in the past she has told the person calling to please stop calling, as she is off sick. The person just says "I'm told to call every day" so they do. I'm worried its not helping her to get better, she's having trouble sleeping etc.

Where can she go for advice or reference to a document/guidance that says this is not appropriate?

Gliblet Tue 12-Jan-16 18:43:55

She could have a chat with ACAS - depending on her industry/area of work there might be some general guidance. Otherwise it may be down to gritting her teeth this time round, then asking to speak to an HR manager on her return with a view to getting the policy reviewed.

Absolutely not normal to just ignore the fact that someone's signed off and keep bothering them during their illness/recovery time.

maggiethemagpie Tue 12-Jan-16 18:47:26

I work in HR, often dealing with sickness absence. It depends on the length/reason for the absence. If someone put in a two week sick note, I'd advise management to give them a call towards the end of that period to see if they are coming back or getting it extended. If it was extended then weekly or fortnightly contact, with a visit after four weeks. Certainly not daily!

romanrainsalot Tue 12-Jan-16 18:53:24

Thanks for the feedback all.

What type of phones does she have, and are they able to block certain calls, or turn the ring tone off?

And, could it make her feel more in control and therefore suffer less anxiety, if she were to call in herself?

uhoh2016 Wed 13-Jan-16 07:36:18

Every day is very excessive I'm currently off sick been off 8 weeks now and have just sent in another note for 4 weeks and my employer says I need to ring them weekly which I thought was bad enough!
It's ridiculous if you've been signed off there shouldn't be any contact at all, all it's done for me is increase my anxiety and make me not want to go back at all.

uhoh2016 Wed 13-Jan-16 07:38:08

My boss kept ringing me off his personal mobile I blocked his number. If I was your friend and just reject the daily calls

Borninthe60s Wed 13-Jan-16 07:45:58

There is a law about this and certainly a few years ago the poorly person should make contact once a week (or someone on their behalf if they are too poorly). As for employer contacting the poorly person depends on their policy but daily is ridiculous IMO.

mydutifullaunderette Wed 13-Jan-16 10:07:52

I work in HR and also think daily is ridiculous when there is a sick note in place - has the sick note been submitted to the employer, so have they actually seen it, or just been told about it? If they haven't seen it, then get your friend to take a photo of it with her phone and email that. In either case, I would email the manager and cc HR (so there's a history) and very politely say "thank you for continuing to check in with me while I am on authorised sick leave. I just wanted to confirm that my sick note covers until X date. I would appreciate it if you could stop ringing me every day, as I am doing my best to rest and recover. I will be in touch on X date, to give you an update."

flowery Wed 13-Jan-16 10:14:24

"There is a law about this"

No there isn't. However I agree this sounds excessive. Is it her line manager?

EdithWeston Wed 13-Jan-16 10:27:07

Yes, that sounds excessive.

When I was a line manager, if someone called in sick I'd ask them what was up (in general terms, not wanting expecting huge medical detail) and how long they thought it would take. I'd find out again just before that time estimate expired (to see how they were getting along, and if return was now expected) probably by ringing them (sometimes I'd hear anyhow via team members who are friends). If long term sick, then the HR department would deal with it, not sure what they did.

I can see why your friend feels harassed, but depending on the seniority of the manager calling her and the policies of the company (which sound unreasonable but might have the manager cornered) I can see how this comes about. Perhaps you could help her to see it as only a couple of minutes out of her day, suggest she answers by stone walling 'yes, I am unwell and return is not expected until expiry of the period for which I am signed off', concentrate on getting well again. And then when recovered and back in work, see if anything can be done about the (unintended, one hopes) effects of daily calls and get the policy changed (in concert with union, staff association or whatever).

DoreenLethal Wed 13-Jan-16 10:41:19

When you say 'employer' do you mean supervisor, manager, HR or the person who owns the business?

MotherofFlagons Wed 13-Jan-16 10:45:22

I would see it as extremely harassing and intrusive if my manager called me every day I was signed off sick and I'd stop answering the calls.

If I am off for more than one day, I email my manager to let her know I won't be in the next day.

PebbleTTC Wed 13-Jan-16 11:14:12

I would also see this as harassment and leading to constructive dismissal

EmmaWldn Wed 13-Jan-16 12:11:14

She should email her line manager or HR and ask them, nicely, to stop on the basis that it is causing her stress. She will have to stay in touch with them to an extent but it should be in a way that suits her. Perhaps she could suggest that she calls them at a certain time twice a week (or similar). If she doesn't just complain but explains and suggests an alternative then it might help.

HermioneWeasley Wed 13-Jan-16 20:08:10

pebble saying this amounts to constructive dismissal is jumping the gun at this stage.

OP, agree with the other posters - this is excessive and she should tell him in no uncertain terms to stop and tell this to the person who is telling him to call.

PebbleTTC Wed 13-Jan-16 20:30:51

I said leading to didn't say it is constructive dismissal

I could be wrong but I was told that you can't return to work before the sick note expires - something to do with work place insurance not covering you if you're in work when a GP has said you shouldn't be there. If that's the case, what's the point in harassing someone? Does your friend belong to a union, maybe they can intervene?

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