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Work related stress - manager wants to complete welfare check

(10 Posts)
katie2812 Sun 21-Jun-20 11:32:52


My friend has gone off due to work related stress. They have been bullying her and she has various emails and texts from her line manager. She told her manager over email she has work related stress and has been given month off. Her manager ignored her initially and then replied with " hi sorry to hear that hope you're ok. I thought you felt better after our discussion on poor performance. I will need to contact you next week over the phone to complete a welfare call due it being work related and also to document the elements causing work related stress."

Is she allowed to contact her? I was under impression that work couldn't contact you whilst you were off sick?

OP’s posts: |
madcatladyforever Sun 21-Jun-20 11:38:01

"I thought you felt better after our discussion on poor performance".

That the problem right there although people can be oversensitive about work and don't like any poor feedback. More so now I think. In my day working back in the 1970s your boss could shout at you everyday and you had to put up with it.

No they can't contact her she is off sick, she should have a review when she gets back.

I recently had to kick off about our working environment which involved a full complaint/datix form being filled out for any and every mistake made by a staff member followed by an interview.

I said I can't work under those conditions and I was looking for another job so they put a stop to it.

madcatladyforever Sun 21-Jun-20 11:40:00

HR can interview her/have a welfare interview if she is off long term but I don't think her manager can. I could be wrong.
I had 6 months off sick from the NHS when I hit the menopause because I lost my shit totally and had to go in to see HR on a few occasions.

Pelleas Sun 21-Jun-20 11:47:22

Yes, her manager can contact her when she is off sick - this would be expected as part of the manager's duty of care. The contact has to be reasonable - so not constantly phoning at odd hours. What should happen is that contact is agreed when the person goes off sick - both frequency and time - so this might be a once-weekly check in, or an agreement to phone after the next doctor's appointment, for example.

A welfare check and exploration of the stress issues sounds eminently sensible - but the time of the call should be agreed with the colleague to take into account how she is feeling, so afternoons might be better than mornings, say, if she is struggling to get going for the day.

Asiama Sun 21-Jun-20 11:49:46

Agree with Pelleas. There is no rule that states the employer can't contact while the employee is off sick but it should be handled sensitively.

Quietheart Sun 21-Jun-20 11:54:23

At my work the manager is required to contact you and do a welfare check if you are off sick for month, especially if it’s work related stress. I know many managers do home visits and are expected to keep in touch regularly. If the manager is a cause of that stress could she ask HR or Occ Health for alternative arrangements or different manager?

RJnomore1 Sun 21-Jun-20 11:54:40

Yes they can, in fact it’s expected where I work that the manager stays in touch and if it was due to work related stress I’d have her in to complete a stress risk assessment as soon as humanly possible.

blackcat86 Sun 21-Jun-20 12:14:12

So is it her manager that is involved in the bullying? If so she could contact HR or next line and request to so the welfare call with someone else.

katie2812 Sun 21-Jun-20 12:40:38

Hi all,

Thank you for your responses. With regards to her poor performance it is due to the level of stress they've put her under. Her line manager for example has outted her in front of everyone with her performance scores yesterday which led to her going off sick. She said "this isn't good enough and for some of you it's the final warning."

pelleas thank you that was very insightful and madcatladyforever.

As it is her line manager, I will tell her to ask HR to complete the check. It's ashame really she was crying all day yesterday literally none stop. I had to go over and make her go on sick because she felt like she was letting them down and then I saw the emails and texts and couldn't believe what she was putting up with.

OP’s posts: |
Pelleas Sun 21-Jun-20 13:12:53

Publicly threatening people isn't an effective way to manage performance. It's fine to set expectations and talk at a team level about whether they are being met, but individual concerns need to be addressed individually. Her manager needs to find out why she is underperforming and put a plan in place to address that - with stepped targets for your friend and any support needed such as training or wellbeing adjustments built into the plan. As the manager is part of the problem either HR or another manager would be better placed to manage the absence. I hope your friend gets the support she needs.

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