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NHS sickness monitoring policy- can they do this?

(6 Posts)
littleshamrock Sun 27-Sep-09 21:33:29

I was signed off sick for one week by my doctor after having a miscarriage at 6 weeks. As I understood, the law says that you can't be disciplined for being off sick while pregnant. However I was already on absence monitoring because of my attendance last year. On my return to work interview my manager said she would be extending my monitoring period because of this sickness. HR are backing her up and I don't know what to do. Are they allowed to do this?

queenofdenial2009 Sun 27-Sep-09 22:11:37

Monitoring is not the same as being disciplined. They just watch how much sick you're on. Have you been to Occ Health? If not, I would ask for a referral. I'm not convinced a week off is long enough after a miscarriage, especially if you work on a ward.

Two years ago I fell foul of the sickness policy as I was coming back to work too quickly and then going back off sick with bronchitis a week later. I've recently been off for nearly five months, but that only counts as one occasion, the same as if I'd had a day off with the cold.

The policy is partly there to stop people pulling sickies for hangovers etc.

BellaNoirisanAunty Sun 27-Sep-09 22:42:20

Have you had a look at the hospital's sickness policy? Ours is on the intranet site for everyone to read and this should state whether they can extend the monitoring period.

I think they are likely to able to do this, as queen says it actually might help you to request to see Occ Health. What they concerned about is identifying if there is something in the workplace which is making you ill. In my workplace we often have members of staff ill with musculoskeletal problems and Occ Health work with the Ergonomics team in getting desks sorted out and making sure people are sitting properly etc.

flowerybeanbag Mon 28-Sep-09 08:34:35

You are right they can't discipline you for pg-related sickness, or take it into account when disciplining you for sickness absence.

But they are not disciplining you at the moment. You are being monitored and the monitoring period has been extended.

Make sure you check the sickness policy at work so that you know what might happen. If they do discipline you at a later date, they will not be able to take this one week into account when doing so.

Sorry to hear about your miscarriage.

littleshamrock Mon 28-Sep-09 20:48:50

Thanks for your advice everyone.
I can see in a way what you mean about it not being disciplinary action, but in my mind if I hadn't been off sick (pregnancy related) then my probationary period would not have been extended. Also, a number of other people on the ward have had miscarriages in the last few years and have not been put on to absence monitoring. I think I'm going to contact my union about, it's making me feel stressed even just thinking about it and not putting me in a good frame of mind for trying to conceive again!

Surfermum Mon 28-Sep-09 20:55:28

So sorry about the miscarriabe sad.

It's meant to be a supportive thing. To see if there is anything they can be doing to make sure you are fit and well. And equally to explore with you whether there is anything you might need to do different to improve your sickness levels.

This is more for the people who are always off sick on a Monday because they've partied too hard over the weekend, or for those repeatedly off with some form of stress-related illness (who are those that need support and directing to services that may help them). In the case of miscarriage there was nothing you could have done, nothing they could have done. And it mightbe that when your colleagues had miscarriages that was the only episode of sickness they'd had in the previous 12 months, so they didn't need to be seen.

I really wouldn't worry about it.

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