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Returning from mat leave and being signed off sick.

(34 Posts)
PiercedPixie Wed 07-Sep-16 23:33:24

After my maternity leave I applied for part time hours and it was rejected without any attempt at negotiation. I've appealed it but am still waiting to hear and HR have said there's no timescale, it takes as long as it takes. My boss agreed a phased return so part time for 12 weeks and on my first day back I was moved to a different department (but the same directorate). I'm supposed to be starting full time in my original role in October unless my appeal is successful and although I keep emailing HR and my boss (who is a director) I'm no closer to knowing what I'm doing long term than I was on my first day back. If I can stay part time in this "temporary" role I will be happy and it's really close to home so I don't want to look for another job incase I could stay there (I've been there 7 years), but I don't want to be suddenly doing full time because I will have to look for something else. DH says I should stick it out for now and if I'm made to do full time go and see my gp 😔 I've never been off ill with a sick note but the not knowing and stress of what we will do if I suddenly have to work full time for someone who has made me feel so rubbish is making me so ill. I cry every day, we argue, I have headaches and stomach pains. I don't know what to do and every time I approach HR they just tell me it's all allowed. I feel like screaming how is this an ok way to treat someone?! Any advice would be appreciated. It's the NHS so I do have occupational health xx

5OBalesofHay Wed 07-Sep-16 23:39:25

So are you genuinely ill or not happy not getting what you want?

Brokenbiscuit Wed 07-Sep-16 23:57:47

DH says I should stick it out for now and if I'm made to do full time go and see my gp

Surely you're either ill or you're not? confused

If you're that stressed at the moment, why haven't you already gone to see your GP? Why only if you're "made" to go full time? You can't plan that going full time is going to make you ill, can you?

Or is your DH suggesting instead that you could get out of full time work by faking sickness? You would be very unreasonable to do that, and your DH is an idiot if he thinks that would be OK.

How long have you been waiting for a decision on your appeal? And what were the grounds for your appeal? They don't have to let you go part time if it doesn't suit their operational requirements. Surely if they say no, and you can't cope with full time, you need to find another job? If I were you, I'd be looking for a new job right now tbh, as you probably can't bank on your appeal being successful.

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 08-Sep-16 00:01:38

You always knew your application for part time might not be granted. The job isn't there for your convenience, you get paid for providing a service. If you're not willing to provide that service you can't decide to just take the money anyway and chill out at home. Christ.

MakeMyWineADouble Thu 08-Sep-16 00:05:05

Are you ill or stressed at the moment or do you think you will be if you go back full time?? If you feel stressed at the moment you should go and see your gp about solutions (this may not be being signed off). But be prepared if the stress is the Unknown the solution will only be till a decision is made. If the decision goes against you I can't see how going off sick before full time hours will help. If you can't do full time hours then you need to be liking for a job that does suit as either way long term sickness is not a solution either a because stress is not healthy or b eventually the sick note or the duck pay will end and your in the same boat.

PiercedPixie Thu 08-Sep-16 10:40:11

I was reading through people’s old threads last night with similar problems to me and thought I’d start my own to try and get some advice specific to my situation. My DH is not an idiot. I know that a job is not there for my convenience and if something doesn’t go my way I can’t just chill at home with sick pay. Some of these comments have made me feel quite upset, and it’s so deflating because in previous posts I’ve seen people be told they are perfectly entitled to go out with their children or go on holiday because that will help cure stress. I can’t believe how stern some people are being when all the comments were so supportive on previous threads, I specifically joined and wrote this because of how nice people had been, and no one seemed to say you can’t just go to the doctor and get signed off because you don’t want to go to work. That’s not what I think I’m doing but I think people are scared to say how they feel because that’s the reaction they think they will get.

I don’t usually show my emotions, I haven’t cried in public for about 15 years, and I’m 27, it’s just not who I am. I have had jobs where I’ve gone and cried in the loo, and that was due to my boss being rude and patronising and spending 40 minutes telling me the problems with young people today. It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough for the job because it was stuff like he’d ask me what I’d been doing all day because there weren’t that many letters to sign but I did his audio typing so I felt like saying well I’ve been doing exactly what you told me to do, you know how many letters you’ve dictated and it wasn’t as if I’d got tapes I hadn’t done. Anyway.

So I know I’m not sulking for not getting my own way, the reason DH said go to the doctor if I don’t get full time is because that really will be the last straw. I don’t want to go now because everyone where I’m working now has been nice to me and I don’t want the doctor to think it’s depression or stress unrelated to work because that could affect things in my future, but I am feeling incredibly stressed yes. And at the end of all this when I’ve cried my heart out some days, cried myself to sleep, spent evenings arguing with DH over why I’m not sorting it out and whether or not we can afford for me to not work and spent days really spaced out and not myself, when there are days I forget to eat or drink anything because I feel so tense and on edge and when I’ve had constant headaches and indigestion and weird pains in my ribs if I have to get moved back to the original department after all that and make cups of tea for the man who’s made me feel like this it will cripple me, I feel so panicked when I know he’s visiting where I’m working now (it’s the same directorate but a different department and a different site). I’m stressed now because of the not knowing, I’m trying desperately to find out what hours and where I’ll be working and no one seems to want to be bothered to try to sort it or even tell me what they’re trying to sort out with regards to my appeal. I’m not asking for anything for nothing, I don’t want to sit home and just take the money, I’ve asked for part time so I can spend time with my little girl, and I’ve been really flexible with what hours I can work and on what days. It breaks my heart to leave DD, some days its easier but sometimes I get in my car and there’s a lump in my throat and my eyes are prickling and I sit at work all day counting down the minutes until I can go and see her. I don’t know anyone in this new department, I don’t talk much and I really feel like I’ve been shoved out of the way until October when they’re hoping I will leave because the girl they got to cover my maternity is happy to work extra hours and take her work home with her for no extra pay, the job has changed since I went on maternity leave, and basically my face doesn’t fit.

If I’m being totally honest I don’t want to be off sick. I never ever thought that I would be asking these questions. But I just want it to stop, I just want to not spend every waking moment worrying over it. As someone has said I know it wouldn’t solve the problem because I’d have to go back eventually or leave but at the moment I just feel so desperate. So I’m sorry if I made it sound like I want an extended paid holiday.

MoreCoffeeNow Thu 08-Sep-16 10:44:25

Why not just resign if they say it's full time or nothing?

mouldycheesefan Thu 08-Sep-16 10:46:49

You are currently part time for 12 weeks so that is great as its what you want, this says to me that your employer is not totally unreasonable. You need to wait and see what happens after that. You seem to have worked yourself into a state about need to sit and see what happens with your appeal and consider any other options for part time working, including whether there are options for staying in the role that you are covering now.
Getting a sick note gives you time off sick. It doesn't force your emp,over to give you a part time job and you may become more anxious being off sick than being at work. Of course you have the option not to return at all or leave and get a job elsewhere.
Good luck

PiercedPixie Thu 08-Sep-16 12:48:41

Mouldycheesefan the only reason I'm being allowed to do part time temporarily is because I can't leave before I've been back 12 weeks, not to be reasonable.
And at the moment my maternity cover lady is still doing the job while I've been put elsewhere. When I get to the end of the 12 weeks if I am able to financially I will leave and look for another job but I will still have to work my notice.

gobbin Thu 08-Sep-16 17:30:50

If you're genuinely not ill you would be a fraud to try and get a GP to sign you off. Sorry if you didn't get the response you expected, but you're coming across as quite immature. You've been told no. Either you go back full time or you resign. Full time with a baby didn't kill anyone. You could hack it in the meantime and look for another part-time job.

flowery Thu 08-Sep-16 17:41:26

"the only reason I'm being allowed to do part time temporarily is because I can't leave before I've been back 12 weeks, not to be reasonable."

Why can't you leave before having been back 12 weeks? You are allowed to resign at any time you choose as long as you give your contractual notice.

And even if there was a reason you "can't" leave before 12 weeks, why would that mean your employer has to let you do those 12 weeks part time?

Sarahanne1988x Thu 08-Sep-16 17:44:06

Wow I'm with you on the harsh comments bloody hell ANYWAYS
you have asked for ADVICE NOT A BATTERING lol so il try ..
Millions of women each year find them selves in your situation me included im only two days in of my new job I had to get a new job because my old job that I took maternity leave from was too far away the hours did not suit my family life ect sometimes I'm afraid you just have to go with the flow and find what suits you best.
You should be very proud that you are working for a start as it's easy to give up after having a baby and just thinking its best to stay at home, it may work for some mums but not all I do school hours so my children are at school and my 1 year old goes to childminder 4 days a week but we all walk through the door at the same time and it's lovely smile and it works for us
I would highly recommend speaking with the manager and be totally honest about what you need / want be firm and truthful. If you find your self being unhappy in a few weeks or nothing is resolved then leave take a few weeks off work and find yourself a part time job
How do you know that quitting and going part time in another job could end up being the best thing you have ever done so go for it what do you have to loose ?? Good luck

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 08-Sep-16 17:54:12

People who come on and say they want to work part time will of course get lots of support. People who say they want to be out and about when they're genuinely off sick will of course get lots of support.

It was not at all clear from your OP whether you were genuinely sick or whether you would be using a sick note as a means to get out of working full time - certainly sounded like the latter to me but obviously only you know that - if you're ill you're ill.

Not sure what the huge difference is in full and part time though if the issue is actually that working with a certain individual is stressing you out, you'd still have to see him either way. Why don't you tell HR about him and see about being moved elsewhere, in the mean time you have your part time hours and you're not with the guy you don't like so I would make the most of that.

Sarahanne1988x Thu 08-Sep-16 17:57:38

Part time is massive difference to full timeconfused

MyKingdomForBrie Thu 08-Sep-16 18:13:53

Well not if its about avoiding her boss as I clearly said hmm

CotswoldStrife Thu 08-Sep-16 18:35:33

Is the 12 weeks so you don't have to pay back enhanced maternity leave? If so, I think your employers have been more than helpful to make those 12 weeks part-time for you - usually workers returning to work from mat leave don't get that kind of concession.

Do you usually suffer from anxiety? Because your response to this issue seems rather disproportionate - you've asked for part-time and it was refused. But rather than assume you'll be returning to your full-time role as you have been advised to, you are telling yourself that you are being treated unfairly.

Employers are entitled to refuse requests for part-time working. Often with a large employer such as the NHS it is possible to juggle things, but in this instance apparently not. The only reason that you have given for this feeling of unfairness is that they won't agree to the part-time working.

PiercedPixie Fri 09-Sep-16 13:06:32

Sarahanne1988x you're a doll, thank you ☺️

I can't leave before I've done 12 weeks because of enhanced mat pay. I've been allowed to work part time for these 12 weeks because it's cheaper to employ me while they're paying 2 wages. There's seperate budgets for maternity and salaries and there isn't the budget to leave me in this new role I've been put in. My boss is a director, so to go above him would mean the chief exec, so I don't fancy my chances much. Anyone who lives in the real world knows I would not be taken seriously.

This is the last time I will comment on this because I'm finding myself getting into more and more personal detail to justify my feelings and my actions. Maybe I have taken the situation too personally and it has snowballed a bit because without telling you EVERYTHING I've been made to feel completely unwanted and unvalued by my employer since I've been on maternity leave. It's not as simple as I'm stamping my foot because I want to work part time and I've been told no. I've spoken to friends, family, colleagues and a nurse at an unrelated appointment and they have all been stunned at how I've been treated, they can't all just being polite to please me.

I'm bemused, do some of you have six figure salaries and stay at home nannies so you don't mind going to work all day every day?!?

This has affected my day to day life. I'm going to make an appointment to speak to someone because I'm not myself and this is the reason. If you think me being considered ill when I feel the way I do is fraud then that's up to you.

NerrSnerr Fri 09-Sep-16 13:17:14

If they don't agree to part time work after the appeal I don't think going off sick again will help, I just think you need to look for a new job. I had to do that, I requested part time after my maternity leave and my employers said no. It felt unfair but they gave a good argument and I accepted it. I got another job which is very flexible and I now work 4 days.

DaniAlvez Fri 09-Sep-16 13:30:05

Whatever happens with your job, I think you're going to be just fine. You come across as someone smart and articulate with some fire in your belly. Try not to let this situation take over your life. I know what it's like to need the money but want to see your children a bit too. But you must do what is right for you and your family. One day you will be able to look back and think 'what a bunch of bastards they were!' But it won't break you. I wish you luck in your future and hope it all gets sorted out.

FfionFlorist Fri 09-Sep-16 15:40:00

I have found that the secret to making full time working work is compromise and the ability to keep an eye on the bigger picture. You sound like you aren't able to do either at the moment. Take care of yourself.

kp78 Mon 12-Sep-16 12:49:27

Even if you go off sick, do you know that work can argue you are fit to work and override the certificate if they believe it is related to the fact that you have not been given part time work as you requested? This could make everything a whole lot worse.

I would suggest you request a meeting with your boss and HR as soon as possible, even putting the time in their diaries advising them that this is becuase you need to have a decision to make childcare arrangements. Legally any flexible working request should be dealt with in 2 weeks (or a mutually agreed extended deadline) therefore you may wish to remind them of that.

Alwaysinahurrynow Tue 13-Sep-16 09:12:09

I have to say you need to do 2 things.

First, speak to HR about the appeal process and agree a timeline. The uncertainty is causing you stress unless you have told them this, they will not necessarily know. However, if you are not genuinely ill, trying to be signed off is not fair. I do understand how frustrating these situations can be. If you feel you are being unfairly treated (ref to your comment on belittling) then you should also raise this with HR.

Second, tbh you need to understand that no employer has to provide you with part-time work on return from maternity leave. You and every other employee can request part-time work, but as long as the employer has been reasonable and can demonstrate why they have complied with the law, they do not have to agree to your request. They sound like they have been generous in agreeing that you can work part-time for 12 weeks so that if you do not get what you want, you can leave without having to repay your enhanced maternity pay.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Tue 13-Sep-16 09:22:20

Mouldycheesefan the only reason I'm being allowed to do part time temporarily is because I can't leave before I've been back 12 weeks, not to be reasonable.

If that's true, and I'm presuming you need to stay 12 weeks because of enhanced maternity pay? Then combined with the initial rejection, I'd expect that it's not going to be a positive response and they'll expect you to be full time in October. I would start planning for that - look for other part-time jobs, for example, so you will have to do the minimal amount of full-time work before moving on.

You could approach your GP about being signed off. That is a reasonable course of action in some cases (and as you've seen from other threads, it would then be reasonable to live whilst signed off, as long as it's within reason!). There are issues with that, though. Doctors are under pressure to request adjustments rather than sign people off completely, so the doctor may say that you're able to work less hours or with some home working, or regular breaks, etc. That could just prolong your limbo. Being signed off would also affect your chances of getting a new job, rightly or wrongly, and part-time jobs are already like hens teeth, so you could find having been signed off so recently counts against you and makes it harder to move away from your current job.

I'm bemused, do some of you have six figure salaries and stay at home nannies so you don't mind going to work all day every day?!?

No, but for some people it's not an option not to work full-time. It sounds like you can afford to not need to. Could you afford to not work at all for a period?

It's up to you, at the end of the day, but I'd assess your decision carefully. If they've treated you awfully, you don't owe them any loyalty beyond these 12 weeks, but it seems that you'll be in a much better position all round if you just leave and find another job (or not, if you can afford not to and don't want to work).

AndNowItsSeven Tue 13-Sep-16 09:32:13

I don't think you understand that they are doing you a massive favour re the 12 weeks. Of course you can leave and then pay back the maternity pay.

Figgygal Tue 13-Sep-16 09:39:38

It really doesn't sound like you're going to get what you want I would start looking for another job or put ft childcare arrangements in place. I think they've been pretty good to gIve you the 12 weeks a lot of companies wouldn't have.

You won't have right to appeal after so much time legally it's within a few days of the decision being made and you can only make 1 request in every 12 months.

I don't see what going off sick will achieve other than more stress I'm afraid.

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