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Returning to work after sickness

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missmuppet | 18:46 Mon 06th Feb 2012 | Jobs & Education
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Hi all, i've been off work for about 7 weeks now with acute stress, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. Usually i take a weeks holiday every 6 - 8 weeks to help me deal with the tiredness associated with the CFS but this time i've actually had to take some time sick because of extra stresses. In the past when i've returned to work i've just gone straight back to my normal hours (22.5 per week) but this time i'm not sure that i will be able to do that.

The alternative is to return on a 'phased return' which i would have to use my annual leave to make up the hours, so if i only work 12 hours the first week i will have to use 10.5 hours annual leave. Now the problem being that i only have 1 weeks annual leave left and i know i'm gonna need that come mid March. I'd heard from someone that if your doctor signed you as fit for work but only for a set amount of hours, then your employer would have to still pay you your normal full weeks pay - surely that can't be right can it? Just thinking if it is then every tom, dick and harry is going to be doing it! does anyone know it is true? thanks in advance

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It depends on your place of work and their policies on this, but if you are signed off as fit to work half-time, you might still be able to claim sick pay for the other half. It wouldn't be full pay, surely, but half sick pay.

I can't see how they make you use your annual leave - during a period of sickness, your A/L accrues so you are still entitled to it when you come back to work.
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i actually work for the NHS in a clerical role and have to make a decision about going back before Friday reallyas that's when i see my doctor next. I am desperate to get back but i know that if i had a phased return over say 3 - 4 weeks then i would have no annual leave until April. By this time i'll be so exhausted that i'll end up taking more time off!

I really don't know what to do as i want to go back to work but have really suffered this time with the CFS and feel guilty for leaving my colleagues to struggle with being a member of staff down!
why not speak directly to occupationl health?

they seem to be very helpful in the hospital where i work! x
If you have a doctor's note saying you should have a phased return to work this should be discussed with your manager/HR. At my former place you get paid normal rate so you don't lose out but couldn't accrue any flexi credits (if you work flexitime) to benefit.
i have had a phased return to work on 8 occasions. Each time i have been paid full pay
Firstly you should check your Contract of employment to establish what are your rights to pay whilst off sick.
In 2010 the position with sick notes changed to a fit note, the fit note allows your doctor to provide you with more information on how your condition affects your ability to work. This will help your employer to understand how they might be able to help you return to work sooner. The changes mean that your doctor can advise when you may be fit for work with some support, suggest common ways to help you return to work, give information on how your condition will affect what you can do. Unless your contract says otherwise your employer is under no obligation to pay you for time you do not work and statutory sick pay is for 28 weeks only.

Your employer may wish, I do not say they will, to discuss with you your capability or conduct regarding your absence from work caused by illness (both potentially fair reasons for dismissal) there is a good deal of case law regarding this and I would suggest you consider your health to be paramount..
I work for NHS last episode stress depression had extended phased return because my Gp set out how long I could work in any one week the hours I worked were paid normally the other time was booked as pre planned sickness and arranged in advance. I hadn't gone down to half pay so it was normal money if I'd been off for longer than 6 months the time sick would have been paid at the sick pay rate
not being faceitious, why don't you get a job that is less stressful and surely this would have a beneficial ending for all concerned. Hope you feel better soon.
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Jewlerjim, it's not the job that is stressful - i actually really love my job (aside from a manager who's a bit of a prat - but everyone feels that about her!). The extra stresses are a mother who has been diagnosed with dementia and sorting out her care package, more suitable accomodation and financial situation (which is incredibly stressful due to family members taking advantage of her dementia to make money out of her). I also live with someone who has been having dialysis at hopsital but in the last few months has been really ill and now has to have home dialysis, and also dealing with my own depression and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

I did speak to our human resources department and i do think i'm going to have to go back on a phased return and use my remaining holidays to make up the shortfall in hours. I'm hoping that come March i just won't be too tired and the cycle starts again. Thanks everyone for your input though.
Missmuppet, I too work for the NHS and like rowanwitch, my experience is not that you use your holiday - you claim half sick pay for the hours when you are on your phased return, so you don't lose out. You need to look on your intranet and see the absence and sickness policy, to check out the details. Your HR department will definitely advise you how it works in your Trust.

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