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Working self employed while off sick from employed job.

(55 Posts)
Kikiw123 Mon 01-Dec-14 21:30:34

Ok, so as the title says...

I work for a large UK company and over the last 14 weeks I've been off with depression. It's not just my job making me feel this way, it's everything and I can't put my finger on it or know when I will feel better, and back to my old self. I feel like I've lost my confidence and didnt want to get into to trouble at work for making errors.
In August I felt I needed a day to "sort myself out" and called in saying one of the kids was ill. My manager went crazy and demanded I get to work asap. I didnt get to sort myself out and have been off sick since.
The issues I've had have been, parent related (my mum), relationship issues, work stress, children stress and had the worlds worries on my shoulders.
Alongside this job I also do a bit of beauty therapy self employed in my spare time. I enjoy this and find the chat with my clients relaxing.

This is a busy time of year and I really need the extra cash for Christmas. I know that as I'm signed off by the doc I maybe shouldn't be doing the beauty therapy but I've cut back a bit on my clients.

I'm due to take a career break in jan for 18 months as I'm going to make a go of working for myself.

Since I've been off sick I've created a Facebook page and added photos of past work etc and have shared this on my personal Facebook page to get things started for jan.

Today I received a call from my manager demanding a meeting with me this week. Apparently she has had to call HR and wants me in ASAP to discuss.
I think I she's found out about the beauty page and isn't happy.

I'm worried that when i go in for the meeting on Thursday I get the sack. Can they do this with no proof other than a few Facebook shares that I've been working? I'm really scared and feel sick, the way she has spoke to me has out me back to square one.

Ps I've got a union rep helping me on Thursday.

FATEdestiny Mon 01-Dec-14 21:35:25

It is not OK to work when you are off sick.

If HR know you were doing this, it will be grounds to sack you.

Not the end of the world if you were planning to leave in January anyway. Have you handed in your notice?

Not ideal when it comes to future references though.

bberry Mon 01-Dec-14 21:37:01

Erm... Are they paying you sick pay? If so they have every right to be rather peeved that you are using this time to work fir yourself and build your own business

I can understand how it's less stressful but that's not really the point.... I would think you advertising your services and proactively setting up a business page would be proof enough of your current intentions

Sorry.... Just imagine if you owned your own company and an employee of yours acted this way... How would you feel/view it?

CocktailQueen Mon 01-Dec-14 21:37:33

No, it's not ok to work when you're off sick! Your company is paying you sick leave! You need to either hand your notice in or get back to work.

InfinitySeven Mon 01-Dec-14 21:40:30

You posted about this last week, didn't you? Asking how you could still promote yourself while off sick?

The Facebook page is proof, as is the other marketing you did.

When is your HR meeting? I'd strongly advise not lying, because this won't be difficult for them to prove and if you're caught lying it'll almost certainly be gross misconduct for lack of trust.

halestone Mon 01-Dec-14 21:48:28

Honestly I think that you will probably lose your job and I completely see why this would be the case. If you're off work sick then you are too sick too work either for an employer or for yourself.

Shakey1500 Mon 01-Dec-14 21:48:35

My personal opinion is that it's not morally right to work in another job whilst off sick from another. However, my feelings aside, it is not conclusively a "reasonable response" to dismiss someone for doing so. There is a case study in point, a bit of which I've C+P below-

It is important for employers to remember to take into account any mitigating circumstances before making a decision to dismiss an employee even if they have been found guilty of gross misconduct. It is worth noting that an employee who has more than one job may legitimately sign off sick in respect of one of the jobs but keep working in the other. In giving judgment in this case the Employment Appeal Tribunal considered an earlier case of Perry v Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust - In this case Ms Perry had two jobs: one, that she was unable to pursue because it involved riding a bike as she had a knee injury. The second included work which was sedentary, which she could do despite her injury. It was quite legitimate for Ms Perry to sign off sick in respect of the job that involved riding a bike while continuing to work in the other job. - See more at:

LegoAdventCalendar Mon 01-Dec-14 21:51:32

You need to come clean. The FB page is proof you were working on the sick. I'd read your contract, but it might well be they sack you. It isn't just past work, you've been working whilst out on the sick. If I were your employer or a colleague who had to pick up the slack whilst you were out finding yourself and structuring your business and working self-employed whilst you were 'sick'/finding yourself I'd be furious.

TheBabyFacedAssassin Mon 01-Dec-14 21:53:37

What does your union rep say?

If you were employed by my company and were claiming CSP whilst working another job you would be dismissed for abuse of CSP scheme.

Nydj Mon 01-Dec-14 21:54:35

If your GP has said you can do the work you do as self employed but not the job you are employed to do (assuming the two are different) it should be ok provided the work you are doing as self employed is not in the time you are normally employed to work.

If you have been there for over two years, they are unlikely to sack you and the meeting is probably an investigation meeting to find out what you have been up to and decide whether the matter merits going to a disciplinary hearing.

If you have been doing the self employed work in your own time, would it be possible to get a note from your GP to the effect that he or she supports this as it is good for your well being etc?

Good luck.

CocktailQueen Mon 01-Dec-14 23:14:45

Yes, Shakey, but the OP said she had been signed off for stress/depression, not a physical reason. And surely beauty therapy is more physically arduous than many other jobs?

blueshoes Mon 01-Dec-14 23:50:56

Apart from posting photos on facebook, did you take on beauty therapy engagements during the time you were signed off sick? You said you cut back "a bit" on your clients. Does that mean you actually still continued to see some of them when you were ill with depression?

Kikiw123 Tue 02-Dec-14 00:40:49

Infinityseven - I've just joined mumsnet tonight and haven't posted anything here at all before now. I will have a look at the other thread also for some guidance if it's similar to my situation.

I had 3 longstanding appointments that were booked months ago and have honoured these 3 ladies as didn't want to let them down at short notice. I've also got some bookings in the next 3 Saturdays for Christmas that were also arranged some time ago. I also have done work for family in exchange for babysitting etc - this is unpaid.

I have kept my Facebook page active and have posted on it up to twice a week showing pictures of past work and that I will be able to take more bookings soon. My husband is also an administrator on the beauty page and has updated a few things for me also.
I'm really worried about the meeting as I'm not strong enough for a confrontation.

Kikiw123 Tue 02-Dec-14 00:42:43

Also I forgot to add the self employed work is done on different days to my paid job.

Shakey1500 Tue 02-Dec-14 06:25:46

I agree cocktail The link wasn't the one I thought it was going to be either! There was one pertaining to a psychiatrist employed by the NHS who also had a private practise. She was signed off by NHS sick but continued to practise privately. The tribunal still ruled she had been unfairly dismissed. It's documented in public domain somewhere but I haven't had time to search properly.

Stealthpolarbear Tue 02-Dec-14 06:44:08

Um we've had this thread before from a different perspective

HonestLie Tue 02-Dec-14 08:15:45

Stealth I was just thinking that, it was quite recent wasn't it?

Stealthpolarbear Tue 02-Dec-14 08:19:10

There was the nanny and babysittibg one
But I'm sure there was another abt a beauticisn

HonestLie Tue 02-Dec-14 08:20:10

That's right I was the nanny one I was thinking of.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 02-Dec-14 08:24:56

I think you could actually be ok.

If your main job is making you stressed out then you can be signed off from that but not the beauty therapy. You could argue the beauty therapy is actually beneficial for your stress levels and helping you recover.

I know someone so successfully argued this but don't know all the details. But they didnt get sacked and it was very similar.

However I'm no expert and you need proper advice. Cab, acas, union?

I don't know if you might be on a sticky wicket from the claiming of sick pay while still having another income?

InfinitySeven Tue 02-Dec-14 12:36:52

Yes, let's be clear - I don't believe working one job while signed off from another is an issue, if the doctors authorise it.

Claiming SSP while working another job is very dodgy ground though, I think.

Nydj Tue 02-Dec-14 16:32:22

Please don't stress OP. You should be fine if you did the self employed work at times and days when you would not be working for the company. A lot of posters are giving comments on the basis of they would feel if they were your employers or colleagues. Employment law does not always work like that. Go to your GP explain what has happened and ask if he or she would be prepared to support you to say that the beauty work is good for your health etc.

Kikiw123 Tue 02-Dec-14 23:05:48


Thank you for the reassurance.
I have an appointment at the docs on thurs before I go to the Meeting at work.
I am really stressed about this and have been feeling more and more ill waiting on Thursday, I'm an awful worrier.
I know I said I'm leaving in jan as that was my long term plan but to be honest I asked for the leave as it's so stressful being of sick. I'd actually rather take unpaid time off than have to deal with this horrible woman. I was never actually stressed about one thing, work in particular, it was a lot of things getting to me but now work is actually the main factor.
I will update after the meeting but kne things for sure I won't get sacked directly on thurs - there's a process for that, one which I am not strong enough to see through so I see myself resigning. :-/

SamiBE Fri 05-Dec-14 10:35:00

I done this, then handed notice in once sick pay stopped. If it's work related stress then it's the job making you ill, id argue that the feeling of being bullied contributed to goi g off sick. Can your rep find out why you're being called in? I'm pretty sure You don't have to go in if your signed off x good luck x

InfinitySeven Fri 05-Dec-14 10:53:30

How did it go, Kiki?

I hope you're feeling okay, and it went as well as possible.

I know that worrying feeling, I do it too, and I hope that you've got some answers and a clear plan forward.

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