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Signed off due to stress - HR help neefed

(21 Posts)
Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 05:16:32

Ive been signed off work due to stress. Dr discussed with me whether to write 'work related stress' and due to issues at work i preferred just 'stress'

I have been informed that when i go back i will be expected to do 5 days a week of the most stressful aspect of my job, for my remaining time (3 weeks) I normally do this for one day a week.

I cant honestly see how i will manage this and am so disappointed as i was actually starting to look forward to going back. I dont want to compromise my health/MH at this stage of pregnancy. Also, dont feel i should be pushed into taking ML early.

I will go back and see how it goes but wondering what happens if i am signed off for non pregnancy related illness? I will be in the trigger period for starting ML if signed off due to pregnancy.

Rudawakening Tue 23-Jun-15 06:20:31

I'm not sure but I can imagine work would blame your pregnancy anyway, i.e by saying that if you weren't pregnant you would have been able to cope?

Would you have been signed off if you weren't pregnant?

ARV1981 Tue 23-Jun-15 06:57:54

Work can say what they like, but if drs note doesn't say is pregnancy related then I don't think it can trigger mat leave.

I am concerned though that they've decided to give you the most stressful aspects of your job on return... have you told them that they're giving you the bits you find most stressful? If not, I would do so (in writing), so if you have to have time off again for stress, then they've been warned.

I don't know if this is good advice. I hope it is. And I hope someone with more knowledge and experience comes along with something helpful to say! Good luck. flowers

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 08:41:27

Thanks. Its difficult as maybe I would have tried to cope more not pregnant. Why should i put myself AND my baby through this stress? I certainly shouldn't be being 'punished' for having been off. Its not just me that finds this particular aspect stressful, my 4 colleagues also do, but its part of the job.

Unthoughtknown Tue 23-Jun-15 09:18:12

How far along are you op? The trigger period for starting may leave is 4 weeks before edd, and even then only if preg related.

Mynameisnotthis Tue 23-Jun-15 09:24:20

Hi Not

Have your work discussed with you the triggers/perceived cause of stress during your absence? As the fit note didn't specify work related, they won't necessarily have done so or have been as obliged as they may have been if it did. Employers generally are in a risky place if employees are off with work related stress and don't take steps to address the causes. Particularly risky for pregnant employees.

When are you due to return? Do you feel you could now discuss with them that you believe your absence to be (at least in part) work related and discuss with them why that is and how you can work together as you're keen to return?

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 09:25:03

I'm not in the trigger period yet but I will be soon, which is why I am asking. It really annoys me as I was actually looking forward to going back, although i thought i would find it hard. Now I am dreading it.

OhNoNotMyBaby Tue 23-Jun-15 09:27:23

I know very little about this but I'm curious why you didn't want to put 'work related stress' on the sick note. Surely this would have been the better option? Then work would have worked with you to make the job easier and less stressful - that is their obligation under law.

Because they now view this as a 'pregnancy stress' they are under no obligation to change anything at work for you, which seems to be what you want...

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 09:48:25

Thanks myname nothing has been discussed with work. Sadly, my direct manager is not at all supportive and has form for turning against pregnant staff members (ridiculous as that sounds) and it is him that has suggested i take this work on. I am due back Monday. I think i will have to wait and see what happens but at least i am prepared.

Mynameisnotthis Tue 23-Jun-15 10:09:08

Oh dear! (Re the not supportive manager).
Try to judge whether or not you return based on how you feel as the week progresses. If you start to feel more and more anxious, it's probably best you don't return. Or that if you do you suggest you can only return to do specific duties -
If possible - that are not the ones already suggested!

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 12:39:13

ohno the reason I didn't want 'work related stress' written down is because it would certainly have made things harder for me with my manager. I don't want anything changed for me, i am more than happy (and was quite looking forward) to return to work and carry out my normal role.

I don't expect to have to do 5 days a week of the most stressful aspect of my job. Instead of the usual one day a week. I have four colleagues, we take a day each per week. It has been said that I should do all 5 days for my remaining time.

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 12:41:43

Also, its not 'pregnancy stress'. There is no mention of it being pregnancy related.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Tue 23-Jun-15 13:41:14

What rationale has your manager given for changing your duties around?

It sounds like, from what you have said, this might be pregnancy related discrimination. If you are in a company big enough to have a decent HR department, a quiet word with them is likely to get it fixed at superhuman speed because discrimination cases are £££ (unless he has an actual business rationale, but I'd have thought you'd have mentioned it in the post).

AbbeyRoadCrossing Tue 23-Jun-15 13:45:45

Have they done a risk assessment for you and is it up to date? You should ask for a new one taking into account your change in duties in late pregnancy.
As others have said they can only enforce maternity leave if you are off sick at the time, with a pregnancy related condition, from 36 weeks.
If they continue to be gits maybe give maternity action a call for advice?

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 14:00:19

There is no rationale to giving me this work. I am prepared for my return to work interview and hopefully what i say will have the effect of making him realised what a ridiculous and unfair suggestion it us.

Its local authority so will certainly speak to HR if need be.

LibrariesGaveUsPower Tue 23-Jun-15 14:02:30

I wouldn't worry too much about them being able to trigger maternity leave. If HR don't sort it (and I'm expect them to be right on it) you get the doctor to right "work related stress as a result of unilateral change of duties". And your manager gets the bollocking of his life. smile

Nottalotta Tue 23-Jun-15 16:52:05

Thanks liberal I will remember that phrase. We have been waiting for the manager to get the bollocking of his life for a good few years. He seems to live a charmed existence in this respect.

DimpleHands Tue 23-Jun-15 19:35:16


Employers are obliged to carry out a risk assessment for pregnant women (risks would include stress) and make reasonable adjustments accordingly. So you simply need to tell your manager/HR that they are in breach of their duties as an employer in this regard (you are not even asking for an adjustment - you are just asking for the same as you had before!).

As a lawyer, I can tell you that from what you have said, you would be well within your rights to refuse to do the extra four "stressful" days. They wouldn't really have a leg to stand on.

FeelTheNoise Tue 23-Jun-15 19:41:57

Get joining a union TODAY! I really can't stress how much of a difference they can make. Also keep an email log of all your discussions with your manager on this, including asking the questions suggested above.

daluze Tue 23-Jun-15 19:52:29

I agree with asking to perform/update risk assessment. Employer are obliged to do this for pregnant employees. I think you can refuse the change in your role/duties until this is performed.

Nottalotta Wed 24-Jun-15 06:23:40

Thanks all. I am a Unison member. I will see how things go on Monday but feel better equipped to deal with this situation now.

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