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Civil service pre employment health check - I had 120 days off in my last job...

(17 Posts)
Impossible28 Fri 02-Feb-18 16:08:54

I'm so worried about this. Can anyone chip in on how this will affect me? I have a provisional offer based on successful references and health checks. The health report has asked for a lot of details including days off in my last job, which I suppose I expected.

Totals 120 days. All in one go. I had nothing apart from this. I've put an explanation that it was due to long term mental health issues that were not work related. I made sure to let them know I've never needed time off for my mental health in all my precious education and employment history and that since being off (this was a year ago) I've had intensive treatment that I hadn't had access to previously.

I've been off a year since this. I spent the first few months totally unwell and needing to spend time focusing on recovery. Since then I've been looking for work but it's not been easy which is why I'd be devastated to lose my offer! I still see my psychiatrist and will be having DBT at some point in the future but I am definitely in a position to return to work.

I know I'll have to speak to occupational health about this. Hopefully they will be nice.

Any advice?

Polarbearflavour Fri 02-Feb-18 17:28:16

Be honest and let them know you are being treated.

They will ask if you know where to get support and they’ll discuss reasonable adjustments.

I was off work for nearly 2 months with a fracture and they were fine - no different to mental illness smile

I think it’s far worse if you have loads of odd days off sick with no doctors note.

daisychain01 Fri 02-Feb-18 19:51:54

If, as part of your security vetting, you get called to an OH interview, it will give you the opportunity to explain and provide context. Also try to impress on them that you believe the health problems are behind you and you are taking care of yourself and have never felt better etc. Give them confidence that you want to move forward and that your career is important to you

You must have the skills that they want otherwise you wouldn't have made it through CV sifting plus interview, which is a big achievement.

Ylvamoon Fri 02-Feb-18 19:57:48

I agree with others... treat it as a thing in the past. So you had this time off to get better, now you are better, you are ready for a vital (job) change!

StealthPolarBear Fri 02-Feb-18 20:00:01

It's a lot but actually that it was all in one block is a good thing.

Cavelady67 Sat 03-Feb-18 08:16:46

Am I understanding this right - you had 120 days off whilst employed, and have then spent a year not working, a large part of which you were not fit for work?

I work in the Civil Service aims to be an inclusive employer so the fact you've been off work shouldn't preclude you from working. The fact you've given a frank explanation is great - I would hope they would send you to occ health and discuss how they can make adjustments for you and support you. As a PP said, it would look a lot worse if your sick record showed you have lots of small absences self certified.

Did you say you had a disability when applying? Regardless of whether you did, you'll almost certainly fall under the protection of the Equalities Act based on what you said, and the info you've given is enough to prompt them to make this assumption.

From what you said, it's very much not a thing of the past, and you need your employer to be supportive from the off.

I remember I applied for a new job having had a lot of certified sick time once, I included an explanation with my application and it wasn't even mentioned.

daisychain01 Sat 03-Feb-18 09:02:51

From what you said, it's very much not a thing of the past, and you need your employer to be supportive from the off..

That's as may be, but the reality is that if the OP gives the impression that there are unresolved health issues which involve long periods of absence, it won't encourage them to consider the application favourably. It's one thing asking for reasonable adjustments, a whole other matter leaving the prospective employer with the sense that they will have to foot a significant sick pay bill from the word go. That the commercial reality the recruiter is always faced with.

It is in the OPs best interests to give them reassurances, but it doesn't stop them from being open about specific disabilities. Just not leaving it too open ended. Tricky I know.

Impossible28 Sat 03-Feb-18 09:48:30

Thanks for all replies. Im not sure how to quote on mobile so I'll just reply generally.

Yeah I ticked the disability box as I've been diagnosed for seven years so it's a long standing problem that has affected everyday life. Like I said though - this period of absence is the only time I've required time off because of it.

I don't think it will ever be a thing of the past, as such. Mental health issues stick with you. But I've been perfectly fit for work and sat around twiddling my thumbs since around April 2017. I know that I can work now.

I had worried how to word it seeing as I still am under the mental health team so I see the psychiatrist and my nurse now and again, and I'm on the waiting list for intensive therapy. The nurse told me that I will be under them for a long time though, even if I feel 100%, they like to check in until they properly discharge. I only see them something like once every two months. It is a far cry from the situation I was in a year ago. I hope I get chance to explain all this. I don't want to be penalised for it, I don't know how I'd ever get back into work sad . I love being in work.

Polarbearflavour Sat 03-Feb-18 11:03:51

Please don’t worry, the main reason they are there is to help you and make adjustments for you. I really do think it’s unlikely this will stop you starting work.

The public sector has faults but occupational health wise they have always tried to help me.

daisychain01 Sat 03-Feb-18 13:07:47

That's great news - they need to support diversity, I'm so used to the hard-as-granite private sector where it's the bean counters who set the pace.

Impossible28 Sun 04-Feb-18 13:39:05

Thanks all. It's reassuring. I will update this thread as I googled a lot and most thread starters didn't update which was annoying!

LadyLapsang Tue 06-Feb-18 20:45:03

My top tip is to be totally open and honest. Why did your previous job end? Did you resign or were you terminated due to capability issues? Do you think you will need any adjustments in the new role? And what about the trigger to your illness, is it something that is over or might it reoccur (don't expect you to share here - just something they will be likely to ask)?

Daisymay2 Tue 06-Feb-18 20:58:42

I had an accident after I had given notice (3 months) to my previous job. Then had 8 weeks incapacitated. Discussed it openly at my OH check, no problem. Needed sone adjustments as found driving difficult due to residual problem for the first 6 months. Again happy to accommodate.
Just be open with your needs.

Impossible28 Tue 06-Feb-18 21:41:00

LadyLapsang - they asked pretty much all those questions on the health form. I've been totally honest about everything on it. I wasn't dismissed from my last job , I decided to leave as I didn't know when I'd be better. I've never needed adjustments and won't need any. I don't really know what triggered this particularly bad episode...so I can't reassure them on that. But I have had such better treatment and support this time compared to the past so that helps me feel comforted in terms of management. Hopefully they will feel the same smile

I'm so excited to start work again. Just want to get all the checks cleared!

friskybivalves Tue 06-Feb-18 21:45:57

When I disclosed on a civil service form an existing health issue, it simply opened up a different part of the form asking what support they could usefully put in place, if any. So it wasn’t a ‘ruling you out’ process, it was a ‘how can we help you if we have ruled you in’ IYSWIM.

LadyLapsang Tue 06-Feb-18 22:31:33

I hope things go well for you. If you do take up post, lots of departments are now proactive about supporting good mental health, so hopefully you will find yourself in a supportive environment where you can perform at your best.

Impossible28 Wed 14-Feb-18 13:56:49

I said I'd update - I had my OH appointment today. I was totally honest about everything and she was so helpful. She totally understood that getting back to work is going to help me more than anything else. She had no concerns about my fitness to work, she put in a recommendation that I get some one to one support from a manager whilst I'm training to check I'm not getting overwhelmed as I haven't been in work for so long. I don't think that's necessary but it's nice of her. Absences weren't mentioned at all by her. So all good on the health front.

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