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Occupational health - what to expect / ask for when you've actually not had to take time off work, but feel that your performance has been compromised

(4 Posts)
dodi1978 Fri 29-Apr-16 13:30:35


has anyone got any experience with occupational health? I am 17 weeks at the moment and feeling better, but still tired. Felt extremely tired in the first trimester, and a lot sicker than I had with DS1.

I am a lecturer in HE and my first trimester basically coincided with the most stressful part of the year. I didn't take a day off sick at all because I just didn't feel bad enough to do that. Nevertheless, I felt quite rotten for a few weeks. What it meant was that research, which is basically done in the evening, wasn't done at all in favour of sleeping.

I have asked for a meeting with Occupational Health now to ask what, if anything, they can do for me. The problem is that we have got really tough targets to fulfil. All my research-related targets will now have to have to wait until the summer, when teaching is finally over.

Can I ask
a) my general performance for this academic year to be looked in light of my pregnancy, even if I didn't really have a sickness record.
b) my targets (in particular the research-related ones) to be reduced?

On a related note, my next appraisal is due September-ish (appraisals are yearly and somewhat flexible, but have to be done and of September). I intend to do mine as late as possible to give me as much time as possible to actually achieve my targets. However, I may have to bring the start of my maternity leave forward a) on doctor's advice or b) because of childbirth... DS1 was four weeks early. Of course, this may not happen again, but if it does...

Any insights appreciated!

InternationalHouseofToast Fri 29-Apr-16 14:12:23

At the university I work at, sickness or performance issues solely due to pregnancy (so dashing off to be sick, more frequent doctors' appointments etc) cannot be grounds for action regarding an individual's performance.

Targets are surely supposed to be negotiable as other things may happen during the year which mean you get new priorities. If you'd had a new VC at Christmas your targets would surely have changed by now wink so I don't see it would be any different in your case. You have done the best you've been able to do in the circumstances but have had a difficult pregnancy and that should be taken into account.

dodi1978 Fri 29-Apr-16 14:29:32

Thanks, InternationalHouse!

We actually just had a new VC, but don't think our individual targets will change any time soon.

My problem is that I have nothing documented - I never felt ill enough to actually take a sick day. I just dragged myself in and did as best as I could, but certainly wasn't working at 100%. In the 3rd semester, I might well be back to that state!

I am not worried about action regarding performance. My main worry is that achieving your targets is condition for applying for promotion, which is what I finally want to do.

Conceptionzilla Fri 29-Apr-16 15:33:10

I work for a uni that also has a new VC at christmas. It's a tough place to be pregnant.

Can you not explain this to your manager directly? Come up with a workable new plan for your research and propose the changes you want?

You can talk to OC health about the side effects of pregnancy on your ability to work and ask them if they could reccomend extensions to deadlines etc even without any sickness absences. Management dont however have to take into account occ healths opinions. You can ask oc health not to say anything to managers that you haven't checked yourself - worth doing this to be sure that what they say is helpful.

Have you self refered to Oc health or why have you been refered?

Promotions panels shouldn't but do take pregnancy related issues into account in a negative way.

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