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Being signed off work...

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I had a major depressive episode at the beginning of this year which has left me unable to function. I've been signed off from work since the beginning of March. Work have been really understanding so far, they know I'm good at my job when I'm well and I disclosed my depression before accepting the job. I'm on a waiting list for therapy, so hopefully should be able to get started with that in a couple of months time.

Work sent an independent psychologist to my house today (on the recommendation of occupational health). She asked a lot of questions about my mental health history and did some cognitive tests and said I scored severe for depression anxiety and stress and that my short term memory was very poor. She said she doesn't see me being fit for work in the short to medium term and that I may not be able to go back to my old job as it is in sales and pretty stressful, and she thinks given my history it's likely to trigger a relapse. She said it will take around 2 weeks to file the report. I've never been in this situation before though, so was wondering if anyone knows what's likely to happen from here. Can they sack me? I know it's not fair to expect work to keep paying me when I'm not able to be there. Am I likely to be able to sign on if they let me go (not sure how that would work as there's few jobs I would be able to cope with doing right now). I didn't join my union at work, so if anyone has any general understanding of the legal procedure from here that would be great.


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They can't sack you. Once your period of sickness ends they're legally obliged to do what they can to ease you back into work, normally it might be by finding another, more appropriate job role which pays the same (they have to keep your current salary for 12 months). If you don't accept then they can dismiss you. This is how it works in my job for people who are signed off long-term or with an injury that prevents them doing their job.

    Even though you're not in the union you can still ask them for advice.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks Whowhere. I've been stressing a bit since the assessment and reading that I still may have other options with my current employer makes me feel a bit calmer. I did say I would consider admin roles for lower pay on rehab hours if possible (as long as my doctor deems me fit to try). Money doesn't matter too much, I just want to get better and have managed to save up a reasonable amount of money through not feeling well enough to socialise etc. I don't buy new things as I don't see me being alive in a few years time.

    I did take sick leave a few years back with one of my employer's competitors to care for my Dad when he was dying of cancer 3 years ago and they basically said they would stop paying SSP after 3 months if I didn't at least go back part time, so I've been scared that will happen again and noone will employ me going forward. I guess that's how I've kept going so long. I've quit jobs through fear of them finding out about my depression and sacking me. I've been wanting to feel ok for many many years but felt pressured that if I don't force myself to work I would be left homeless. My partner says it doesn't work like that and as long as you're honest withan employer about why you're ill they can't just sack you if it's deemed a legitimite reason. I really hope that's the case as I don't want him to be burdened with looking after me.

    Also, am I still classed as being employed, even though I'm on sick leave? My boyfriend wants me to move into a shared house with him and 2 of his friends and I don't know how much I should tell the agency when they ask for employer's references. The girl we're going to be living with told me 'we all need to make a point of sounding like we're employed'. The other 3 work fulltime, so that was clearly aimed at me. I do have my share of the rent for 1 year saved up which I could pay up front if needed and she knows that. She asked 'what work will say when they find out I'm not ill' and I told them I've got doctor's notes and am following absence procedures, I don't know her that well to be honest and thought it was quite out of order for her to assume I'm not ill. I just don't want to be a burden to anyone, so does anyone know what information rental agencies tend to ask for from employers?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

    Sorry to hear that you're having such a difficult time at the moment, flibbertygibbert. But glad that you're seeking support on the boards. *hug*

    Whowhere makes s good point. Your employer should make reasonable adjustments to ensure that you can carry on working there. What is reasonable depends on the a number of factors, including the size and resources of the employer. It could include things like a different role, flexi-time or different hours of work. They should also take all steps to make sure that your return to work is successful.

    The employer should only dismiss you as a last resort; after they have tried everything else (see above). They will have to show that their decision was fair.

    In terms of the reference for the shared house, I think the lettings agencies will ask your employer (as a bare minimum) the following;
    1. How long you have worked there
    2. The type of contract (e.g. permanent or temp)
    3. Your salary.

    I'm not sure if your employer needs to disclose that you are on sick leave.

    You my find it useful to call the ACAS helpline to discuss these issues in a bit more detail. 08457 47 47 47 (Monday-Friday, 8am-8pm and Saturday, 9am-1pm). ACAS help to promote employment relations by providing information and support.

    I hope this helps and that things get less stressful soon.

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Be still

    If it's good for you to rest for now so you need to. Then, just try make some arrangements with your boss hoping they'll wait for you... ;)
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