Employer asking me to take 2 weeks off sick

(15 Posts)
HildegardeCrowe Wed 13-Jan-21 16:22:40

I suffer with an severe anxiety disorder which means I am extremely up and down. I have had to take quite a lot of time off recently but this has tended to be one day at a time. The nature of my condition means that I have extreme reactions to stressful triggers but can calm down with reassurance. My employer (NHS) has been very accommodating but are now requesting that I take a couple of weeks off to try and get better rather than having the odd day off here and there.

I'm not going to get better in two weeks obviously but am hoping to improve in the long term with psychological input (have been referred) and medication. Spending two weeks at home (I live alone) would be counter-productive as I find the distraction of work really helps me and I know (and have been told) that I do a really effective job. If an employee has a physical health problem such as intermittent orthopaedic pain, it seems acceptable for them to take single days off when the pain is bad (this applies to a colleague). AIBU to think this should apply to a mental health condition? I have asked them to reconsider but would welcome some advice in the meantime.

OP’s posts: |
GlobeUs Wed 13-Jan-21 16:24:08

Have you had occupational health input?

Respectabitch Wed 13-Jan-21 16:29:45

Multiple, single ad hoc days off are very difficult for an organisation to manage, though. Much more difficult than a single longer more planned absence.

They are trying to help you, but they are also telling you that your attendance lately has been an issue and that this pattern can't really be sustained.

I think you may need some medical input on what is the best way for you to get on a more even keel, because it doesn't seem like the current situation is working for your employer.

HildegardeCrowe Wed 13-Jan-21 16:36:00

I’ve been referred to psychology but not had OH input as we don’t have that facility. Perhaps I should get some advice from my GP? I’m terrified at the thought of not being able to come in to work for 2 weeks and it would also achieve nothing in the long term. I do appreciate their situation though.

OP’s posts: |
HerNameIsIncontinentiaButtocks Wed 13-Jan-21 16:36:39

They are doubtless trying to be helpful, but if you're sure that it would be counterproductive then don't do it.

On the other hand, it may be interesting to give it a try?

HerNameIsIncontinentiaButtocks Wed 13-Jan-21 16:37:43

And yes, you definitely should try and get advice from your GP. If your anxiety is bad enough to cause days off, it needs to be worked on by professionals.

Respectabitch Wed 13-Jan-21 16:41:05

Are you already being managed by your GP for the anxiety?

Are you on medication?

HildegardeCrowe Wed 13-Jan-21 16:42:03

Thanks. I’ve been trying to get help for years but have finally been referred so fingers crossed.

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HildegardeCrowe Wed 13-Jan-21 16:42:31

And yes am on medication which doesn’t appear to be helping!

OP’s posts: |
TheSilly Wed 13-Jan-21 16:44:23

Can you afford private therapy op? I've found NHS therapy to be useless.

LIZS Wed 13-Jan-21 16:45:34

Medication can take a while to work and have short term side effects. Maybe they think it would help you deal with this and start to access any talking therapies, mindfulness etc. At the moment it maybe difficult for others at work to support you as you need.

Respectabitch Wed 13-Jan-21 16:46:45


And yes am on medication which doesn’t appear to be helping!

Time to go back and review then? You may need a dosage change/ another medication/ a priority referral.

Orf1abc Wed 13-Jan-21 16:56:57

a priority referral.

There's no such thing in MH services, unless the patient is in need of crisis care.

Do you know if your employer uses the Bradford Scale for sickness absence? If so, many short absences can lead to a much higher score than one longer term absence, so the suggestion may be to minimise the potential for capability management.

Your employer will have access to an occupational health service. Please ask for a referral, they can consider what other adjustments may help you.

Spandang Wed 13-Jan-21 20:05:08

I agree it may be due to the Bradford Scale of sickness. You could, potentially be triggering the company’s wellness/occupational health policy and your manager may just be doing what they’re told in that sense.

If you need reduced hours, or a set day each week you are better to ask for this, and have it agreed so that everyone knows where they stand, rather than ringing in sick once a week or twice a fortnight.

I do appreciate your illness isn’t rota-able and you can’t just pick a day that you’re going to be unable to work. Equally that’s not an easy way to run a business or a department either. Genuinely, be open and have the conversation with them. Because if they’re offering you a fortnight off to ‘get over it’ it’s likely they don’t understand how long term this may be for you or how it affects you.

GlobeUs Wed 13-Jan-21 20:10:45

NHS definitely has the capabilities to refer employers to Occupational Health. Please ask for a referral and so you have impartial(ish) advice.

There's no such thing in MH services, unless the patient is in need of crisis care.

There are priority referrals in some trusts without being in Crisis. However, it doesn't sound like the OP is in need of one.

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