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Compassionate leave

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
I've recently taken compassionate leave from my job as my dad's dying - due to working changing shift patterns I haven't been able to go back and visit him as much as I'd have liked to. I'm just wondering if anyone has any experiences of compassionate leave, how it works from a contractual/financial perspective?

Basically so far I've explained the situation to my manager and he was understanding and said anything involving a close family member, obviously they will grant leave for. Originally he said to take a week, go home, see what the situation is and let him know. I went to see my GP who agreed to sign me off for a few weeks and to just call if I need the sicknote extending, I've told my manager and he seemed ok with it, just said he would need to call me for an update from time to time. I know I've been with the company long enough for then to pay a month's sick pay, but I'm not really in a position to know when I'm going to feel able to go back to work. Speaking to a friend they said something about I should be able to claim statutory sick pay. I've tried reading up on this online but I'm still confused as to whether I would be entitled and whether it's something I need to apply for myself, or if work would do that automatically after they've fulfilled their month's obligation?

Also, to complicate things a bit more, I'm not really happy in my current job at all, and due to the working patterns I know if I go back in a few weeks time that's not going to change. I've been trying to plan what to do next career wise. I've been stuck in low paid jobs trying to gain experience since graduating a few years ago, I've never been out of work for more than a few weeks and don't want to be unemployed for long periods of time. I've managed to save up a bit of money, so would be able to support myself for the next few months, but that would take away from what I was going to put towards evening classes to retrain. I've been applying for other jobs and shortlisting some agencies I could aske to meet with, but obviously again that's going to be a bit hit and miss as to how soon I'll be able to find something which will allow me free time in the evenings to study. Also, I don't want to annoy my employer by basically disappearing for a few weeks and them find out I've been applying for a new job. Part of me thinks maybe I should hand in my notice, but again having any form of back up at the moment seems like a sensible option...


  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Hey flibbertygibbert,
    Have just noticed that you haven't had a reply to this - I hope you're OK.

    I'm so sorry to hear your Dad is dying, this must be really tough for you and I'm glad to hear you're taking compassionate leave and it sounds like your employer is, as you say, being understanding. Added to this though - you're not really happy at work and are wondering what your options might be going forward. It all sounds pretty overwhelming.

    You're wondering how statutory sick pay works. It can be confusing when you read up on this online. Have you checked out TheSite.org's article in particular? In terms of actually making a claim it says:
    Once you meet all the requirements for receiving SSP, your employer will supply you with the proper documents to make your claim. For an absence of a week or less, a self-certification completed by you is usually all that is required to confirm your illness. After a week, you need to provide a doctor's note.

    It sounds like you've done everything right up to now to make that possible.

    In terms of your future, it sounds like you're thinking really sensibly about your work options, but considering you've been signed off work with a sick note, perhaps your health and wellbeing should be a priority? Maybe using your spare time to see friends and do more research into what you'll need for a more fulfilling career could be an option?

    You say you've saved up some money for evening classes and aren't sure whether to use that money to support yourself if you leave your current job. Only you can really know whether that would be in your best interests - but perhaps consider whether or not you might feel better after this time off knowing that although you're going back to a place that isn't for you in the long-term, you'll still be able to take-up these night classes?

    On the other hand, you might have changed your mind about them and would rather leave this job and concentrate on visiting agencies? Which feels more achieveable?

    You might also find it helps to share your ideas for future careers to see if you can get some tips/advice from others.

    You don't say how long ago you graduated, but it maybe you're still eligible to get support from graduate prospects.

    Overall, try not to put too much pressure on yourself during this difficult time. It sounds like you're ambitious and commited and so even if you just need to give yourself a bit of a break, you'll soon get back on your chosen path.

    Take care. :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Just wanted to post an update really. I'm still signed off work sick by the doctor, I've been given medication and work have referred me to a counsellor to try to sort my head out a bit. I've started my evening class in CAD which I'm liking so far. :)

    I suppose my main reason for posting is I'm finding it difficult speaking to my manager about the situation. I know as a business, they have to support me in returning to work and they need to keep in contact with me so they can understand the situation fully. I think most of the anxiety is in my head, but still, after my last meeting with them I've started to panic a bit. My dad had just gone into a hospice because his pain got worse and they need to work out which drugs will help him most. We were told it would take a few weeks for them to get this under control, so I explained to work I'd prefer to discuss returning to work after these 3 weeks are up. Work said that was ok and to help me they can let me come back for a few hours one week and build up from that. I agreed that would be a good solution and they said when I feel ready I should let them know which obviously I said I would.

    Since the meeting my manager has been calling trying to get me to go back next week, which is well before the timescale I'd said. I don't really know how to handle this. I feel massively guilty for not being at work and I know I need to be thinking about going back before too long as it will be better for me in the long run. At the same time it's taken a while to sort out getting medication and counselling sorted and I want to feel that when I go back I've given myself the best possible shot at just getting back to normal and don't end up just getting signed off again. I'm just worried that work are getting annoyed with me taking time off and the next meeting I go to they'll want to go down a disciplinary route.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm so sorry to hear about your dad - it must be a really difficult time for you. But it sounds like you're accessing loads of help and support, and hopefully the medication and counselling will start to show some effect soon.

    Have you told work about the treatment you're receiving? Although it sounds like they're offereing you lots of support, it might just give them a bit more proof that you really need this time off.

    It's not surprising that you feel a bit guilty, but at the moment you have to put your own personal wellbeing as your own priority. I'd suggest getting written confirmation of all the agreements made with work (for example, the date you will next review when to go back), so that your manager sticks to the dates/timings agreed.

    There's a useful organisation called Acas who you can call on 08457 47 47 47 and get advice about your rights at work.

    Maybe if it gets to the stage that work are unwilling to keep paying for your time off you could discuss unpaid leave? It's worth talking to Acas about this first though as I'm not sure of the legalities of this.

    Finally, as you said you aren't happy in your current job it's great that you've started an evening course. Career changes don't happen overnight, but small steps to upskill yourself will really help you gain confidence and even work out what it is you want to do.

    Keep posting and hope things get better for you
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