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Reduced Hours with a Sick Certificate

(8 Posts)
FifiForgot Wed 19-Aug-09 14:36:11

I'm after some advice please.

I am 16 weeks pregnant with DC2. I have been really suffering from extreme exhaustion and pregnancy related migraines since the word go and have just returned from 5 weeks away, 2 weeks annual leave followed by 3 weeks certified absence by GP. I have been back at work for the grand total of 3 days and I am really feeling awful. I can manage the mornings, its the afternoons that are bad. Yesterday I had to draft in my mother to deal with DD when I got home - I couldn't see.

Where do I stand if my GP was to tell me to reduce my hours on a sick certificate (e.g. from 7.5 to 4)? Do my employers have to continue to pay me as a full time employee or would they be able to reduce my pay accordingly? I'm heading towards the maternity pay calculation period at the moment, so obviously I don't want to jeopardise that.

It is relatively quiet at the moment and I'm on leave again next week for 1 week which should give me some breathing space. But I'm really worried what is going to happen when things kick into high gear in September.

RibenaBerry Wed 19-Aug-09 18:53:35

Has your employer offered to sign you off on this basis? As far as I know, doctors have no power to do this. They can either certify you too sick to work, or well enough. They can't actually dictate the hours you do work.

What's the nature of your job? There are health and safety assessment type rules during pregnancy which might assist if it's a physical job.

RibenaBerry Wed 19-Aug-09 20:11:11

Sorry, I meant doctor. Has your doctor offered to sign you off on this basis?

FifiForgot Mon 24-Aug-09 17:39:35

Sorry to take so long to answer, I've been ill - AGAIN!

I'm seeing my GP on Friday, but the suggestion regarding part time working has come from my line manager, but our boss is a bit of a tyrant and wouldn't agree to reduced hours unless the request was backed up by a doctors certificate. I am really struggling at work, my job isn't physical, I work as a PA, but I am finding it very hard to manage a whole day and am finding that migraines are triggered by looking at a computer screen.

There are lots of other issues, not related to pregnancy, that my boss, rather than my line manager, is being difficult about, this pregnancy is sort of the last straw. I just can't wait until the middle of November when I can go on leave.

flowerybeanbag Mon 24-Aug-09 19:40:55

What Ribena said. Your doctor can't sign you off partly sick, either you are fit for work or you are not. If your boss wants to write to your doctor and ask his/her medical opinion about whether you would be fit for work if your hours were reduced, they can do that, but your doctor can't issue a certificate dictating your hours.

When was the last time you had a H&S risk assessment during your pregnancy? Does it need reviewing? Does your doctor say that the screen is triggering migraines?

If your hours have to be reduced or your duties changed for health and safety reasons, then your employer would need to keep paying you the same.

If you are either off sick or reduce your hours for a non-health and safety reason, just not being up to working full time anymore, or whatever the situation is, your employer is under no obligation to pay you full time. Obviously if you are off sick, you would get whatever your normal sick pay arrangements are, and if you reduce your hours, your employer can pro rata your pay accordingly if they want to.

Might be better to get an up to date RA, see if there is a H&S angle, and see if adjusting your duties, or adjusting not reducing your working hours might do the trick first, do a bit of working from home or something if that's possible.

FifiForgot Mon 24-Aug-09 21:54:08

Thank you Ribena and Flowerybeanbag.

I haven't had a H&S Risk Assessment done, mainly because the H&S bod is off on maternity leave herself! To be honest, I can't see my employer asking my GP for her opinion, as I said, this pregnancy is more of an irritation for my boss, although my line manager (in name only!) is more supportive. Its not a pleasant environment to be in and my boss seems more concerned about getting her own way about when work is done, to her rather unrealistic deadlines, rather than allowing me some limited leeway to make my life easier or making any allowance for the fact that I am pregnant and feeling constantly unwell (not that I expect much, but the odd "how are you feeling" might be nice). I've worked for my employer in the same role for the past 9 years, without complaint until I came back to work following the birth of my DD 2 years ago. My boss has already expressed her "concern" that this pregnancy shouldn't have an impact on the functioning of the office - which of course it has and, unless by some miracle I begin to feel better, will continue to do so as I get nearer to going on leave.

I'm going to my GP on Thursday and I think I'll take it from there. There is no doubt that the migraines are triggered by the computer screen coupled with the total exhaustion that seems to be my constant companion this time round. I suffer from them when I'm not pregnant, but they are worse now especially as I can't take my usual medication.

I'm sorry, this has turned into a bit of a moan and I sound awful like I expect the world to revolve around me just because I'm pregnant, but this pregnancy has been difficult and getting here hasn't been easy and I had forgotten how difficult my boss can be when things don't go exactly as she wants them!

Thank you for your advice. smile

flowerybeanbag Tue 25-Aug-09 09:59:20

The usual H&S person being on mat leave is irrelevant. You need a risk assessment regardless of that, especially where you have identified a risk yourself that is causing you problems.

Sounds to me as though your line manager needs to step up to the mark here. You describe him/her as 'supportive' but being supportive means fighting your corner with the boss, and ensuring you get the support you need, including a risk assessment.

FifiForgot Fri 28-Aug-09 15:19:10

Thanks Flowerybeanbag.

I saw my GP yesterday and Midwife the day before. Both have said that I should reduce my working hours. My GP has said that she would support me with a letter if asked and if I am not allowed to reduce my hours (from 9 - 5.15 to 9 - 2) for the next 2 weeks with a review at the end to see if I am able to go back to full time, she will sign me off sick.

I am going back to work on Tuesday so will see what happens, including a risk assessment.

Thanks for your advice - what would Mumsnet do with out you?!

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