Question about work stress and what you can do when off on sick

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  • Question about work stress and what you can do when off on sick
  • Pigface
    Member

    Weird situation has arrived at my office, member of staff off for 3 months on stress, during this time off they paid to do some training, I guess at looking at moving on.

    Now employer is after them and using words like fraud. Everyone is mighty confused and it is causing a lot of bad feeling.

    Person was signed off by doctor, and has returned to work.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    Where’s the question?

    Pigface
    Member

    😆 what can employer do?

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    😀 Not sure to be honest, but I’d imagine they’d have to be careful if they want to get rid given the employee has been signed off by a Dr. Was the training job related or just something they did to help with the stress perhaps? What’s the general feeling amongst colleagues?

    Pigface
    Member

    Colleagues are stunned at this turn of events, seems really weird. If the claims today are true they have had some kind of private detective following her.

    She did like 5 days of training not job related I don’t think.

    surely you can do anything that doesn’t cause you stress, or helps you deal with stress? I’ve had colleagues who’ve been off who’ve ridden their bikes all the time, which is entirely appropriate, but some people seem to think they should have been laid up in bed/on sofa all day as if they had a broken leg, and seem to think activity means it was fake 🙄

    cranberry
    Member

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    I guess for me it would come down to the smell test – does it smell iffy?

    That said, I would expect someone off sick to contact the company and ask if they could take a full time course whilst on sick leave. Perhaps the fact that they didn’t is indicative.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    I had two bouts of mental illness sick leave. For both of these I was encouraged to be active and get outside. Rode my bike while being paid SSP.

    Encouragement was from Dr and the line manager.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv
    Subscriber

    For a physical condition – like a broken limb – I’d see that as a bit iffy.

    For a mental condition; where the issue is created by or heavily influenced by the job, to be acting to do something about it I can’t see an issue.

    I assume from the OP it’s some sort of ‘workplace skill’ training; what if they went on a 3 day mindfulness course, would that also be verboten?

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    Wow. Never heard of that before. 😯 What times- and have they had to justify it to staff?

    Premier Icon Pik n Mix
    Subscriber

    I would say that’s fair game, as long as it’s totally unrelated to the type of work they did then what’s the issue?
    When I was off with sonething similar I did whatever I could to alleviate the symptoms.

    Premier Icon funkmasterp
    Subscriber

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    Where do you work, just so I can make sure to never be employed there? 😯

    On second thoughts the payout at the tribunal could be epic

    timber
    Member

    Not surprised they were off with stress if that is the approach of your employer to staff management.

    Being signed off sick doesn’t mean not existing until you are well again, it means that work is not compatible with your recovery.

    Whether they would have been signed off had they worked for a different company is a whole new discussion.

    dovebiker
    Member

    I doubt an employer has any rights in this situation and even if there were any restrictive covenants on their contract of employment they’re very difficult to enforce. Paying their own money to do training in what is effectively their own ‘recovery’ time has frankly nothing to do with their employer – if it went to court action, the employer would have to prove a ‘loss’ – just what are they losing?

    project
    Member

    They want her out, and its a warning to tohers not to go sick, and possibly a failing company trying to save cash.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Having spent 3 months signed off with (mostly) work related anxiety and depression last year, I think the employer will be on dodgy ground.

    I was encouraged to get out and about to do stuff, by my counselor and my manager. Did a CBT course, started volunteering with the FC and did a couple of courses with them. Really helped me get a broader perspective on my “problems”. My boss was quite happy, and he knows that if I could wangle a job at the FC I’d probably go.

    labsey
    Member

    I used to work in HR and this question would come up a lot. Some people will barely leave the house, others will go out and get wasted, some will go to other job interviews.

    As others have said above, an employer can’t do anything about it as long as the employee has a valid sick note. They may suspect fraud but if they actually accuse the employee, then there’s probably a decent case for tribunal.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    Pardon?

    Where do you work, Pentonville?

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    Well that’s illegal.

    OP if the course was the same kind of work as they claim they can’t do because if stress then the employer might have a slight argument. Otherwise not much they can do as the employee isn’t working.

    Yeh its a weird situation, know a couple of people who were off with stress issues and both said they felt guilty and that they would be judged for going about their normal non-work life and not staying in the house while signed off

    Hmm, tricky one, this.

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    This is completely outside of UK employment law. Whereabout are you Cranberry?

    Don’t think an employer can touch you for any non-work related activity whilst off sick. Having said that, from what I have seen others go through, if/when i melt down because of work i will be keeping the details of any recuperative activity to myself and well off social media. I saw team perception of our stressed out golfer head through the floor…

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    so we’re all curious to know where cranberry works, but a quick look at his posting history suggests he’s an expat. Agent of Shield?

    Premier Icon chrisa87
    Subscriber

    I can’t see the problem tbh. If it’s a work related course, surely it’s a good thing as they’re trying to help themselves get more confidence in their job and reduce sources of stress – better employee etc?

    Or, if like when my wife was off work last year with anxiety and depression she’d stop doing her normal leisure activities as she felt guilty about leaving the house as she wasn’t at work – then going out on a course to do anything to recover should be encouraged again if trying to get herself sorted.

    Narrow-minded employer in my opinion. If they’re signed off legitamately, it has naff all to to with the business what they do whilst off as they’re under the care of medical professionals

    mattyfez
    Member

    Sounds totally illegal to me, general medical advice with stress is to keep active, physically or mentally, so that could be riding a bike or doing a training course, or a multitude of other activities.

    The absolute worst thing to do would be to stay inside crying with the curtains drawn, and I’m sure the medical professional who signed the sick note would back that up fully.

    cheekyboy
    Member

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission

    And what times are them ?

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    And this is why I always errr… forget to update my employers with my new address and deleted as best I can (save STW) my social media profiles.

    They can catch me if they can.

    Premier Icon dazh
    Subscriber

    I guess for me it would come down to the smell test – does it smell iffy?

    So the suspicion of a boss or colleagues overrides a GP diagnosis?

    Perhaps the fact that they didn’t is indicative.

    Of what?

    scuzz
    Member

    Looks like a typical case of “Office gossip, what can STW suggest that I say to make me sound well informed”

    Well, too late – it was 7 hours ago; the moment for that killer line is long gone.

    b r
    Member

    From an employers point of view, IME someone that’s already been off for 3 months with ‘stress’ either isn’t coming back or if they do they won’t be productive so probably better they don’t.

    Not only do they cost salary and all the associated costs, but you’ve also to either pay someone else to do their work or their work doesn’t get done (and waits for them, or it didn’t need doing in the first place…).

    In any organisation you have to at some point ‘cut your losses’. maybe this is the start.

    One thing I’ve noticed ((having worked across both public and private) is long-term absence (not general sickness which is quite low in both, although +60% higher in the public sector) is far more prevalent in the public sector, and at management level too.

    Points to systematic HR failings IMO.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    br – well that’s a sweeping generalisation of utter bollocks, having been the employee and the manager in both situations.

    Might be true in some cases but with proper support from GP and work, it can be much better for both in the long term.

    ScottChegg
    Member

    If the claims today are true they have had some kind of private detective following her.

    More likely to be a HR (Human Remains) bod staking them out. Quite common. Also, it’s shocking what some people will put on social media…

    But if someone is off for 3 months then at some point the process will begin to manage them out. It will be better for all concerned.

    Premier Icon Speshpaul
    Subscriber

    “From an employers point of view, IME someone that’s already been off for 3 months with ‘stress’ either isn’t coming back or if they do they won’t be productive so probably better they don’t.”

    Nice. Cultural victim blaming in action.

    Is Cranberry currently being detained by HMP?

    mattyfez
    Member

    b r – Member
    From an employers point of view, IME someone that’s already been off for 3 months with ‘stress’ either isn’t coming back or if they do they won’t be productive so probably better they don’t.

    Not only do they cost salary and all the associated costs

    In most cases full sick pay is very limited, they’d go onto SSP after so many days which is paid by the government.

    mattsccm
    Member

    I see the point about alternative things helping stress. I would ride my bike and thinks its fair to do so.
    I think that to go away and do training which is work related is poor form. It may not be stressful, it may actually help if it means escaping from a job but if you are being paid sick pay then its your employed time and to do such a thing is underhand and plain spiteful. its the same as browsing the jobs pages on line when you should be working.

    mattsccm
    Member

    I also agree with the idea that if someone is long term sick then It may be worth encouraging them to leave.
    Balls to victim blaming, that person probably isn’t good for the company and therefore getting rid of them is a good move for the company. They may be worth hanging onto of course but maybe not.
    The company is also a victim here.
    A person may be ill which might not be their fault. Fair enough and unfortunate but why then lumber the company?
    Its not their fault either.
    Its situations such as these than add to the discrimination in the work place if you think that such a thing exists. I know quite a few small businesses who have told me (mates) that they wouldn’t employ anyone who might be vulnerable to time off. They can’t get rid of them, they have to employ a stand in with added costs and hassle and then the original comes back. Older people, disabled and even young women who may have a baby were all mentioned. Its not worth the risk.
    Shame really but there you have it.

    I must admit that surely the original person in question (off sick ) would have had the courtesy to tell their employer. Isn’t that the nice thing to do?

    Junkyard
    Member

    The company is also a victim here.
    A person may be ill which might not be their fault. Fair enough and unfortunate but why then lumber the company?
    Its not their fault either.

    Your humanitarianism shines through like a beacon to us all.

    What if they are off with work related stress?

    Its situations such as these than add to the discrimination in the work place if you think that such a thing exists

    Does the fact the you then go on to list “mates” discriminating not somewhat negate that “point”- ie it s does exist and you gave examples.

    Negating your own argument is a foolish thing to do in any post.

    ScottChegg
    Member

    What if they are off with work related stress?

    If their work has made them so ill they are off for a quarter of a year, it’s easy to see how they could get to the same situation again.

    I think a career change would be a good thing for their health.

    Wouldn’t it?

    Gary_M
    Member

    Wouldn’t happen at my place because if you are off sick there are times you are not permitted to leave the house without permission.

    Another WTF from me to add to the REST of the WTF’s.

    How can that possibly be legal in any way shape or form. And what are the ‘times’ you’re not permitted to leave.

    I had knee surgery in 2015 which involved some time off, went for walks when my knee started to get stiff, so if I worked at your place I’d have needed to stick my hand in the air and ask for permission to go for a walk?

    steve-g
    Member

    I would be amazed if the company can have any say in what the person does while properly signed off.

    Regardless of the legality, the line manager is quite obviously not doing their bit to reduce this persons work stress in order to get her back in the team. If you were trying to deliberately push someone out who was signing themselves off with stress then this is exactly how you would go about it.

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