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My employer is withholding my sick pay due to"self inflicted sickness"

(82 Posts)
Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:24:54

I have been working for my company for over 3 years and within the last 5/6 months I've been stressed out due to university,work single mother of a two year old it's hard work! But I'm a quiet and strong person so I don't open up much. However 2 weeks ago I seemed advice from a friend at work who is of a higher position then me and asked how do I get sick leave from work as I'm stressed with my son and uni and work balancing it all, she advised to go to the doctor but doubted I'd get paid as our employers are strict so I took her advice saw my doctor and explained my feelings he then signed me off a sup form for 4 weeks due to stress. I gave this to a manager and she said it get paid and she'll see me when I'm back. Now today I received a call from my deputy manager explaining the my sick pay has been with eld bearing in mind today is Monday my payday is Friday and I have been off work 2weeks+. He then phoned back and said my pay has been withheld due to my employ me to hand book stating there aloud to do this ifor my sickness is "self inflicted" I asked how this was he said prior to your conversation with another member of staff mentioning about says you have during this time this is your fault I argued my point which was this is one of my stressed work and my son and my housing are the othersame of many. The phone call was rounded up by him repeating he is just telling me that my pay has been withheld and that I can have a follow up when I'm back may 13th. I need my pay this Friday I have bills,rent and childcare to pay for etc. Surely this can't be legal or right? Any help????

DoItTooJulia Mon 25-Apr-16 22:28:54

Are you in a union? Acas might be a good place to start if not (and as well as the Union if you are a member).

I'm no expert-I just couldn't read and run. Sounds like they just made life way more stressful for you so brew or wine or flowers for you.

gallicgirl Mon 25-Apr-16 22:30:48

What does your contract say about sick pay?

Is your manager doubting that you are genuinely sick? I should have thought that provided you have followed your company's procedure for calling in sick, you should be paid. If there are doubts whether you are genuinely sick, then a formal investigation should take place.

lorelei9here Mon 25-Apr-16 22:34:29

I'm no expert but I found it hard to understand your post, I think others might have the same problem (think you must be typing on a phone). So it will probably help to clarify some things.

Your senior colleague thought you were unlikely to get sick pay. Is it listed as discretionary in your contract? That's the first thing I'd check. If it says this then I don't see how you can complain to anyone officially.

Is the boss saying it's self inflicted because she thinks you've taken on too much with the uni courses? And what did the doc note say specifically? Does it mention uni work?

lorelei9here Mon 25-Apr-16 22:36:41

Actually I think your boss is quoting the other colleague you spoke to, so knows that you are partly stressed due to uni, is that right?

Do you work full time and do a uni course on top?

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:36:42

@Galliacgirl I have followed the correct procedure in my handbook there is a statement for whether they believe my reason is genuine however my manager didn't say that applies to me although following up from the phone conversation he seemed as if he wanted to push me to say I'm stressed only because on university and failed to hear my other reasons

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:41:13

@lorelei9here sorry I am on a phone yes it is listed as discretionary, and my boss is saying it's self Inoticed because I go to university off of my own back full time and part time work, the doctorsame notemail the ssp for doesn't state what type of stress just states I am off due to stress. And yes my boss is quoting my colleague I spoke to and making his own decisions on basing my stresson on only university because that way the handbook states it's self inflicted

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:43:06

@DoltTooJulia I am not with a union no, quite unsure of them also. What can acas do and who are they?

MuttonCadet Mon 25-Apr-16 22:45:53

I think the term discretionary is the key, speak to ACAS they act as a mediator between employees and employers, but I doubt it will be a quick fix.

lorelei9here Mon 25-Apr-16 22:46:59

I am not a lawyer but I've been employed by a"discretionary sick pay" company. Never again, I think it means if you are ill due to something that happened at work they might pay you but otherwise they won't. Or the senior staff might get it.

Discretionary means exactly that though doesn't it?

Btw I don't know if you thought your chat with other colleague was confidential but generally it's best not to tell people you want to go off sick. She did advise you you were unlikely to get paid though.

lougle Mon 25-Apr-16 22:51:52

This is very difficult. If you are trying to combine full time university, part-time work and full time parenting, then stress is going to go hand in hand with that. Your work are, it seems, saying that you have self-inflicted the stress.

From their point of view, why is it work that gets the chop when it's all too much? Are you taking 4 weeks off from uni? Would you be able to cope with work if you weren't at uni? You can see their logic.

I think your biggest mistake was asking a senior colleague how to get sick leave. You basically said 'how do I get time off work?' then went to the GP to tell them you can't cope with work, then got a fit note to say the same....they're bound to feel that it's slightly off.

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:52:43

@lorelei9here I'm not 100 percent whether it's discretionary but I do know from the hand book if my boss is saying only because it's self inflicted your not getting payed surely I have some sort of say because the reason I'm off isn't soley because of university. But I know I had a Conversation with her because she was my friend I was just seeking advice on the procedure and her thoughts but I agree that was a bad move because it has backfired. But he advise was based on if I got signed off work to do my essays next being stressed becase of essays.

lorelei9here Mon 25-Apr-16 22:55:09

OP you seem to have name changed
And now you are saying you told your colleague you wanted time off to do your essays? That can't be right.

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:56:01

@lougle this was my fault and I get that but I don't seem the harm in advice also no one was involved in mine and her coneversation so why now can my boss make a decision from that without Con finding in me about my problem and my reasons for being stress? So am I not in the right here at all? And shouldn't be entitled to pay?

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 22:59:14

@Lorelei9here yes didn't realise no one uses there name. And yes because she is my friend who is just one above me as a team leader I had an informal friendly conversation with her as per usual and said I have essays and a lot of stress on but I emphasised to her on having time off and she said yes you can but probably won't be payed because they are getting stricter and will probably put it down as authorised absence

bumpingalong9386 Mon 25-Apr-16 23:00:49

If your sick pay is discretionary then unfortunately it's up to your employer whether they actually pay you or not, it's solely at their disgression. Unless you have a contract which states that you are entitled to sick pay then you're not guaranteed anything.

lougle Mon 25-Apr-16 23:04:32

You can't honestly think it's right to get signed off work with stress to give you time to do essays?? It's irrelevant whether you specifically intended to get signed off to do essays or whether you decided to get signed off work and it was suggested you use the time for essays. The point is that you're not unfit for work.

I'll buy that you're possibly finding it hard to combine the three (uni,work, parenting). Who wouldn't? I can accept that you may feel unfit to cope with both work and uni right now. But why does that mean that your work should pay you to take some leave?

It's taking advantage of the sickness system at your workplace. It's taking advantage of your GP.

lorelei9here Mon 25-Apr-16 23:04:35

If you used your real name here you must report to MN immediately and ask them to change it

it doesn't seem that you have read your employment contract properly
You must always do this

I would say you are not entitled to any sick pay and you knew this in any case because your colleague said that so I don't see how you can complain

If the money is essential I would offer to go back to work

What did you think "stressed" meant btw? Are you actually ill? If you were planning to do your essays then you are not ill.

Stillunexpected Mon 25-Apr-16 23:05:40

OP, this is quite hard to follow, particularly as you have name changed half-way through, but if your company sick pay is discretionary then the company can refuse to pay it if they wish. You have somewhat played into their hands with the conversation you had with your colleague/friend. If the conversation is as you recounted it, it does seem more as if you just wanted some time off work and wondered how to achieve that, rather than being ill and enquiring about sick pay. I agree with the poster who asked why work should suffer, rather than university? Have you also taken time off from there? Is there any possibility of deferring your essays or assignments there and trying to work instead?

notapizzaeater Mon 25-Apr-16 23:06:27

Don't think you can do anything - they should still pay you SSP ? They can't withhold that.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 25-Apr-16 23:08:49

Is your user name your real name? This thread comes up quite high if you search it now... I know you've name changed now but your first posts don't change. If that's your real name, and your employer found this, it wouldn't help you...

In short though, you had a conversation with someone who was a senior colleague, even if she was your friend too. She's reported that. If she's senior she's probably considered quite trustworthy?

Unfortunately if your sick pay is discretionary, it doesn't matter what they've made the decision on. They've used their discretion and decided not to pay it.

Could you go back earlier? Is it possible to finish your essays earlier?

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 23:09:04


Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 23:14:49

@Lougle I did expect to be payed to be fair because I'm stressed I'm in the process of deferring uni work because I'm unfit to work not physically but emotionally so I felt I should be payed for this I don't see the wrong

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 23:17:59

@lorelei9here I did use my name oops I have changed this now (Message from MNHQ - we've retrospectively changed the username on your early posts now)

And I am differing my essays due to stress so yes I am unfit. My doctor gave me a ssp form so why aren't I entitle to this
When I got the job I was 17 so no I hadn't read my contact properly which is a fault again

Newtothis95 Mon 25-Apr-16 23:19:32

@notapizzaeater the form from my doctors is a ssp form so they are withholding that is that aloud if the doctor has stated I'm stressed

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