I was wondering if anyone has any advice or experience. Im a nurse in the NHS. I'm due to return to work from maternity leave after 9 months on the 1st Feb 2018. . I have been diagnosed with postnatal depression and at the moment I'm finding it very difficult to deal with the thoughts of going back to work and leaving my baby to the point where I'm feeling serious bouts of anxiety (we've spent a lot of time in hospital since he's been born) I've never suffered with any depression in the last, never been off sick or on maternity leave before so pretty clueless. If I do feel I need some time off because of depression Does my Gp sign me off as sick now on maternity leave or when I'm due to return? I know I'll get concrete answers from our HR department but I have not discussed any of this it's my line manager yet. I hope someone can help. Thanks x
February is still a while away. Poor thing - are you finding yourself worrying about it already?
I don’t know when the best time for the sick note is but I do think occupational health could be really helpful to you. Call your line manager and get them to refer you. They can tell your employer if your fit to work or not and can help you come up with a very gentle and supported return to work plan. Maybe something like a phased return in Feb/March could be helpful to you?
You don't need your line manager to refer you to OH, you can self refer and in my experience they are really kind and helpful. I can't see why you would need to have a fit to work note while you are on mat leave but I may be wrong. Would you be able to take any accrued annual leave, the NHS are pretty generous when it comes to sick leave so I would speak to OH first. You poor thing, try not to worry about going back to work at the moment, look after yourself and your gorgeous new baby.
I wouldn't give yourself any more worry about it just now.
I imagine that if you are unfit to return on the date you are due to that this is when your GP signs you off as sick. But might be an idea for you to speak to your GP in the meantime about how you are feeling just so that he/she is aware and has a heads up that you may not be able to return to work right away.
One thing to note is that if you self-refer to OH they cannot make any recommendations to your manager (as you are seeking advice from them in a confidential manner) - they can only make recommendations to your manager based on a management referral.
I would go down this route if you still feel unable to return when the time comes. Go off sick with a GP cert and ask your manager for a referral to OH for support. They are really very good and they are there for YOU. They can offer counselling as well as recommend the putting in place of any adjustments which would help you to return to work such as change of hours, change of shift pattern, change of duties, additional support whilst in the workplace and so on.
I self referred tyo NHS oh dept, went twice and they wrote to mgr, with my permission, to request mychanging shift patterns, not to work nights. Maybe different where you work but check, I didn't ask for manager referrals.
You can’t be off sick and on maternity. You can’t claim pay for both. Sick leave is when you should be at work but not fit to work. If you are on mat leave you aren’t at work so therefore cannot claim sick pay. In order to claim sick pay you need to end your maternity leave. If you choose to end your mat leave early to claim sick, you cannot return to mat leave after the period of maternity.
You could, if you wanted (for financial reasons) finish your mat leave early and go in to sick pay. You might want to do this because your sick pay would be full pay and you will be earning less on mat pay. This assumes that you have not exhausted your sick pay already.
If you go on sick pay, it may curtail the amount of leave you I need as only a certain amount of time will be full pay before dropping to half pay or similar (check your local policy/T&Cs) as agenda for change only sets out some of the basic stuff.
If you go on sick leave for 8 consecutive days or more, you will need a GP to sign you unfit. Your work will probably want to refer you to occupational health and you will be supported and managed under their absence policy rather than maternity. This should be supportive.
Thank you all so much for your advice and input. I've spoken with occupational health and HR and have made appointments with them. I've also spoken with my GP again and feels that the PND has worsened so considering medication. Not what I wanted at all but I want to be well for my baby so if it helps then I'll try. Thanks all again. X