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Phased return to work - pay rights?
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# 1
pleasebenice
Old 16-08-2012, 7:24 PM
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Default Phased return to work - pay rights?

Hi

Please can someone provide me with some guidance? I have been off work sick 4 weeks with a genuine condition. I have a chronice condition (chronic pain) and I have a feeling my doctor is going to suggest a phased return to work.

I was wondering if anyone can advise on this? My work weren't very forthcoming with many details. All i know is I have to provide a doctors note confirming I am fit for work, however my health would benefit from a phased gradual return. I am unsure if for example, I work a phased return over a month - will I still be entitled to full pay or does the company have discretion? I am unable to find any clear legislation on this and am just going round and round in circles online.

I have read different stories- they can take the "unworked hours" from your holiday entitlement. They can only pay for the actual hours worked that month.

I am quite frightened at the whole thing as financially, if my wages suffer it will put me into debt. I live alone so carry all the bills etc

Any help or guidance is very much appreciated, Ask questions if there is in formation I haven't included.

thank you

pleasebenice
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# 2
ohreally
Old 16-08-2012, 7:33 PM
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Do you have an occupational sick pay scheme? If so I would expect your phased return to be "funded" from your outstanding entitlement to sickpay.

Work 2 days, the other 3 covered from your being sick leave.

There should be a policy outlining the arrangements.
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# 3
pleasebenice
Old 16-08-2012, 7:42 PM
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It's not in my contract as I've read it today. See by phased return, i did this once with a previous employer - so i worked every day for 4 hours to start (for eg), then it's built up to full days, rather than starting with two days.

I am trying to avoid it being funded from my remaining sick pay, as to "hold on" to my remaining two weeks entitlement to sick pay just in case something happens in this work calendar year. So i am on full pay and have two weeks full pay left for the remainder of this year if that makes sense.

this is why i'm trying to understand if there is actual legislation or is it up to each companys discretion?

I am wondering if he interpreted it as you did - doing it by days, not hours.

Last edited by pleasebenice; 16-08-2012 at 7:56 PM.
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# 4
Wyndham
Old 16-08-2012, 9:02 PM
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Sick pay isn't an 'entitlement'. Sick pay is something you have if you are sick, but you shouldn't be trying to use it all like you would holiday.

If you think you're going to be sick again.... actually, no, scrub that, I really don't understand. Why would you want to 'save' your entitlement - and actually I really don't think you can.

I fully believe that if you are ill, you are ill. But if there is an underlying problem that means you are sick a lot, then I do hope you are getting medical advice and help?
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# 5
marybelle01
Old 16-08-2012, 9:05 PM
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There is no legislation. The basic bottom line is you get paid for what you work - if your work is reduced then so is your pay. The balance can be "bought out" to give you a full wage, by either sick leave or by annual leave, where you have entitlement to it.
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# 6
pleasebenice
Old 16-08-2012, 9:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marybelle01 View Post
There is no legislation. The basic bottom line is you get paid for what you work - if your work is reduced then so is your pay. The balance can be "bought out" to give you a full wage, by either sick leave or by annual leave, where you have entitlement to it.
That's what I was unsure of. My previous employer (2007)allowed me to gradually return to work over a set period, increasing the hours each week . I got paid full time and no wages were deducted. As i can only go on my previous experience, I wasn't sure if this would change from company to company, if there was legislation, or if they had discretion to insist i "pay back" the "unworked hours" in holidays or sick entitlement. Thanks for your helpful reply.
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# 7
pleasebenice
Old 16-08-2012, 9:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyndham View Post
Sick pay isn't an 'entitlement'. Sick pay is something you have if you are sick, but you shouldn't be trying to use it all like you would holiday.

If you think you're going to be sick again.... actually, no, scrub that, I really don't understand. Why would you want to 'save' your entitlement - and actually I really don't think you can.

I fully believe that if you are ill, you are ill. But if there is an underlying problem that means you are sick a lot, then I do hope you are getting medical advice and help?
I'm not trying to use any sick time as holiday. The nature of my condition and the episode of ill health I have been through, means if i go from resting all day every day in bed, to 39hours a week, it could actually push me over the edge, vastly increase my condition and make me much iller than I have been in this sick incident.

I'm not trying to save my sick entitlement - I'm trying to avoid falling into company disciplinary sickness procedure, which once you are in, it is exceptionally hard to get out of. My health can be very unpredictable so i am trying to reserve some of my sick entitlement in case i get sick again . If you've never had a chronic condition, you will never have had to think like I do, so I don't blame you for your lack of understanding.

Yes, there is an underlying condition as in my first post - it's chronic pain condition . If I need to be more specific, i fit the definition of the disability discrimination act. However, I choose to work full time as long as i possibly can and am extremely proactive about looking after my health. I have a very good doctor and am weaning myself off a lot of painkillers and sleeping tablets which in itself difficult on top of everything else.

I do exercise to keep myself healthy and eat a very healthy diet. Sometimes, though my body has it's own idea of what to do.

I don't feel I need to defend myself any more and appreciate your post. thank you.
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# 8
KiKi
Old 16-08-2012, 9:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleasebenice View Post
I'm not trying to use any sick time as holiday. The nature of my condition and the episode of ill health I have been through, means if i go from resting all day every day in bed, to 39hours a week, it could actually push me over the edge, vastly increase my condition and make me much iller than I have been in this sick incident.

I'm not trying to save my sick entitlement - I'm trying to avoid falling into company disciplinary sickness procedure, which once you are in, it is exceptionally hard to get out of. My health can be very unpredictable so i am trying to reserve some of my sick entitlement in case i get sick again . If you've never had a chronic condition, you will never have had to think like I do, so I don't blame you for your lack of understanding.

Yes, there is an underlying condition as in my first post - it's chronic pain condition . If I need to be more specific, i fit the definition of the disability discrimination act. However, I choose to work full time as long as i possibly can and am extremely proactive about looking after my health. I have a very good doctor and am weaning myself off a lot of painkillers and sleeping tablets which in itself difficult on top of everything else.

I do exercise to keep myself healthy and eat a very healthy diet. Sometimes, though my body has it's own idea of what to do.

I don't feel I need to defend myself any more and appreciate your post. thank you.

Have you declared yourself disabled to your employer under the Equalities Act? If not, do.

Whilst it doesn't mean you can't be dismissed or disciplined for sickness, it *does* mean that they are required to consider and implement where possible changes which will support you at work.

This could (and maybe should in your case) include changing the 'trigger' requirements for sickness which means you wouldn't be disciplined in the same way that an employee with no disabilities would. Therefore you wouldn't have to use your AL, which shouldn't be the case.

But Marybelle's right - you should be paid for work you do, and the rest is discretionary.

How long have you worked there?
KiKi
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# 9
pleasebenice
Old 16-08-2012, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiKi View Post
Have you declared yourself disabled to your employer under the Equalities Act? If not, do.

Whilst it doesn't mean you can't be dismissed or disciplined for sickness, it *does* mean that they are required to consider and implement where possible changes which will support you at work.

This could (and maybe should in your case) include changing the 'trigger' requirements for sickness which means you wouldn't be disciplined in the same way that an employee with no disabilities would. Therefore you wouldn't have to use your AL, which shouldn't be the case.

But Marybelle's right - you should be paid for work you do, and the rest is discretionary.

How long have you worked there?
KiKi
No one has ever explained that to me that it was an option or would make a difference. When i last read the sickness policy, if i remember correctly, they included disabilitles - so if your sickness/incidents/disciplinary/sacking was due to a disability, they still have the right to basically sack you. NOt having a copy at hand though, i'm aggravated at myself i never thought to bring it home in case i needed to refer to it. thanks, kind reply

Edit - I've worked there two months two years. Before i took off work with this sickness i was struglling through work in agony, heavily sedated with so many painkillers but trying my best to stay at work and not go off sick. It's a pride thing. They were kind and accomodating to try and stop me going off sick. I was also told i was one of their best workers despite my "condition"

I'm not registered as disabled, and don't claim any benefits.

Last edited by pleasebenice; 16-08-2012 at 10:11 PM.
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# 10
Wyndham
Old 17-08-2012, 10:39 AM
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But I do have a chronic condition. I have good days and bad days, and last year got an extra complication which resulted in several incidents of time off work while it was diagnosed. At no point did it occur to me to do anything than declare each sick day as it happened. My employer was supportive though, which probably makes a difference.

The sickness policy I have allows for this. There are triggers, but if it is a known, managed, condition, then the trigger goes, the manager says 'nothing to worry about, we know about it' and that's that. Yours sounds much less supportive, but they cannot discrimiate on a disability, they are just not allowed to by law. And if they are, you would almost certainly have a case against them.
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# 11
KiKi
Old 17-08-2012, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleasebenice View Post
No one has ever explained that to me that it was an option or would make a difference. When i last read the sickness policy, if i remember correctly, they included disabilitles - so if your sickness/incidents/disciplinary/sacking was due to a disability, they still have the right to basically sack you. NOt having a copy at hand though, i'm aggravated at myself i never thought to bring it home in case i needed to refer to it. thanks, kind reply
Having a disability doesn't exclude from disciplinary or dismissal (for eg, if you're off for 8 months they can't keep you off forever just because you have a disability) but they ARE required to make reasonable adjustments. Triggers are most definitely one of them, and are not likely to have a significant impact.

For example, let's say you have MS which means four periods of three days off over a year for each relapse, that could trigger a sickness. But another worker without a disability could have two periods of six days each for flu. Same days, but you get penalised.

Triggers are there to stop those who are playing the system, and to deal appropriately with those who are persistently sick - even if it's genuine.

But if you have a disability and are more likely to need more frequent time off (even though the actual length of days may be short) then they need to take that into account.

However, you need to have a diagnosed disability and declare it. Your benefits situation doesn't matter, but you need to have evidence from a doctor and formally let HR know so that this can be taken into account.

Their policy runs the risk of discriminating - but it depends on the wording. For example, they may follow the same process for someone with a disability (eg, you've been off for 2 weeks, and were off 3 weeks ago as well, so we're now going to call a meeting with you), but the outcome may be different. So for you the outcome may be to ignore that period of sickness and ignore the trigger because of your disability; for someone without a disability it may be a disciplinary. Same process but different endgame. Their policy can state the process is the same - but not state that everyone will be subject to the same sanctions. And they're right in that they *can* dismiss you, but they need to do that on the basis of having taken disabilities into account.

They cannot ignore it if you declare it.

With over a year's service (for you) you're at least protected from unfair dismissal, but if I were you, get a formal diagnosis for disability from your doctor / wherever, and declare it to your HR department; you will be better protected if they take any further action.

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# 12
marybelle01
Old 17-08-2012, 12:50 PM
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I agree entirely with Kiki's excellent explanation of triggers and reasonable adjustments. But can I just point out one small flaw that may mislead. Kiki is right that employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for disability - but this sort of gives the impression that they MUST consider adjustments to their sickness absence policy as reasonable. They don't. What is reasonable depends on circumstances. So, for example, if it is a small employer, or the role is a crucial role (perhaps with legal responsibilities or whatever) then the adjustment may be unreasonable. Such things may not apply in this case, and may not apply in many cases - but it's important to remember that what is reasonable is not, in the end, decided by the employer or the employee. Only a tribunal can decide. There are no absolutes in terms of what is and isn't reasonable.
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