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  • FIRST POST
    • ScarletMarble
    • By ScarletMarble 15th Oct 16, 8:35 AM
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    ScarletMarble
    Feeling ill, dragging myself to work as don't want disciplinary
    • #1
    • 15th Oct 16, 8:35 AM
    Feeling ill, dragging myself to work as don't want disciplinary 15th Oct 16 at 8:35 AM
    I'm full of cold, struggle to breathe and feeling awful. Yet if I phone in sick, I get a disciplinary as it would be my 3rd period of sickness in a year. My employer, like many allow their employees to have 2 periods of sickness in a rolling year - any more it's disciplinary with warnings.. My 2 sicknesses were in late Nov (tonsillitis, chest infection) and June (S&D). The latter, there was a bug going around where I lived and about 10 of us had it.

    It doesn't help working in an environment where customers are not covering their mouths and noses when they cough and sneeze. Noticed this has increased over the years too. Some colleagues think colds should be excluded. I'm not one of them.

    I have personal issues at home without the added stress of a disciplinary. I am a very well person, but with my asthma, colds and other winter illnesses makes them worse. I had the flu injection at the end of last month. I cannot afford to be off ill

    When I have struggled to work, customers say things like 'what are you doing here?', 'You should be in bed' etc. I briefly tell them about the sickness policy.

    Obviously if I had the S&D again, I have to ring in sick as its not fair and germs are easily spread. But unsure if they count that again.

    What would you do?



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Page 1
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 15th Oct 16, 8:51 AM
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    robatwork
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 8:51 AM
    • #2
    • 15th Oct 16, 8:51 AM
    If you're sick you're sick. You can't make yourself less sick other than by resting, drinking fluids and recovering at home.

    If I was one of your colleagues I wouldn't want you at work.

    So go off sick and deal with the consequences......
    • ScarletMarble
    • By ScarletMarble 15th Oct 16, 9:03 AM
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    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:03 AM
    • #3
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:03 AM
    Its too late to ring in sick - less than hour before I start work
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    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
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    TELLIT01
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
    • #4
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
    I fully understand the OPs reluctance to go sick again. The company policy is the cause of much of the sickness which runs through offices. I've seen the same scenario many times where somebody drags their body into work only to have more people go down with the same problem in the following days.
    The stupid thing is that this policy is counter productive for the company as much as it is potentially damaging for the individual.
    Very easy to say 'Go off sick' when you aren't in the firing line, or potentially going to be sacked due to 'poor attendance'.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
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    sangie595
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:04 AM
    Asthma is a disability. Have you asked for reasonable adjustments to the sickness target?

    And stop telling customers about the sickness policy. That could be misconstrued by your employer, and your problem with the targets could be replaced by a bigger one. You may not see it this way, but your employer probably won't appreciate you complaining to customers about sickness policies or any other terms of employment!
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
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    sangie595
    • #6
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
    • #6
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:06 AM
    Its too late to ring in sick - less than hour before I start work
    Originally posted by ScarletMarble
    Ah - I didn't think you meant you hadn't yet decided and needed to in the next hour! Not that I would change what I said.
    • lesley74
    • By lesley74 15th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
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    • #7
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
    • #7
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:10 AM
    So you can't become unwell in the last hour before work? I know there will be a phoning in policy, but there must be exceptions to that surely. I mean some people's clocks might go off less than an hour before their start time if they have a short commute.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
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    sangie595
    • #8
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
    • #8
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:14 AM
    I fully understand the OPs reluctance to go sick again. The company policy is the cause of much of the sickness which runs through offices. I've seen the same scenario many times where somebody drags their body into work only to have more people go down with the same problem in the following days.
    The stupid thing is that this policy is counter productive for the company as much as it is potentially damaging for the individual.
    Very easy to say 'Go off sick' when you aren't in the firing line, or potentially going to be sacked due to 'poor attendance'.
    Originally posted by TELLIT01
    I agree entirely, but this is another one of those things that we have our "colleagues" to thank for! Like employment tribunal fees. If people hadn't deliberately made spurious claims to extort money from employers, there would probably be no tribunal fees. If people didn't take the mick with sickness absence, then there wouldn't have been a need for policies. These policies resulted directly from EAT rulings where employers were told that they could not dismiss one person for too much sickness (and in some of those cases, we are talking about people taking the mick) when others have had as much sickness. In other words, employers can't look at an employee and make a decision as to what is genuine and what isn't. And since we all know that many doctors hand out sick/fit notes like candy, that self-certification is open to massive abuse, and that there are people who take the mick.... it's again a case of the majority paying for the actions of the minority, because the minority think it's all a laugh to have three months a year "extra holiday" or to claim an employer dismissed them unfairly despite the fact that they stole the weeks takings - or whatever.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 9:40 AM
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    Nicki
    • #9
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:40 AM
    • #9
    • 15th Oct 16, 9:40 AM
    Sorry but a heavy head cold is not in itself a sufficiently serious illness to need time off work. If it has exacerbated your asthma to the extent that you need treatment for that - then yes, or if it has developed into a serious chest infection needing antibiotics, again yes. But we all get 2 or 3 colds a year causing headaches, mild breathlessness, sore throats, headaches and the rest and if we all took time off business would be losing another 10 or so days a year per employee!

    You don't catch a cold just because someone has sneezed in your vicinity, unless the droplets actually hit your face! You catch it when you touch a surface which has been sneezed on, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. So one of the best ways to reduce your risk is by keeping a small jar of hand sanitiser on your desk and to use this regularly and always before you eat anything.

    I've just finished a week at work whilst suffering from a cold which I caught from a colleague. It didn't even cross my mind to take time off and if I'd felt I needed to, I'd have asked for a day AL not self certified sick.

    And I agree with Sangie about you whining to customers about your company's sick policy!
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 15th Oct 16, 10:34 AM
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    KiKi
    Sorry but a heavy head cold is not in itself a sufficiently serious illness to need time off work.
    Originally posted by Nicki
    Perhaps you've never had a heavy head cold! I'm not talking a mildly sore throat, or coughing a bit. I'm talking about having a head that doesn't function because of the pain behind your eyes; a throat that's so painful that you struggle to swallow, and don't want to eat because of the pain - certainly talking is out of the question. Or where you are shivering and your skin becomes so sensitive to everything. It feels awful. I probably only need 1-2 days off max - and then I'd come in when the symptoms have subsided a bit. I'm still ill with a cold, but yes, I'm able to work - but only after the first couple of days.


    ...But we all get 2 or 3 colds a year causing headaches, mild breathlessness, sore throats, headaches and the rest and if we all took time off business would be losing another 10 or so days a year per employee!
    That's a huge generalisation on how ill people get. Perhaps all the people you know get regular mild colds, but that's not the case for everyone, and you must be savvy enough to know that! I certainly don't get 2/3 colds a year, ever. However, I do tend to get one REALLY bad heavy cold every other year, though - and yes, it is bad enough to need time off work.

    I appreciate that you may have witnessed what you see as a heavy cold and think it's not bad enough to be off work, but that doesn't mean everyone experiences the same thing.

    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 10:49 AM
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    sangie595
    Sorry but a heavy head cold is not in itself a sufficiently serious illness to need time off work. If it has exacerbated your asthma to the extent that you need treatment for that - then yes, or if it has developed into a serious chest infection needing antibiotics, again yes. But we all get 2 or 3 colds a year causing headaches, mild breathlessness, sore throats, headaches and the rest and if we all took time off business would be losing another 10 or so days a year per employee!

    You don't catch a cold just because someone has sneezed in your vicinity, unless the droplets actually hit your face! You catch it when you touch a surface which has been sneezed on, and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands. So one of the best ways to reduce your risk is by keeping a small jar of hand sanitiser on your desk and to use this regularly and always before you eat anything.

    I've just finished a week at work whilst suffering from a cold which I caught from a colleague. It didn't even cross my mind to take time off and if I'd felt I needed to, I'd have asked for a day AL not self certified sick.

    And I agree with Sangie about you whining to customers about your company's sick policy!
    Originally posted by Nicki
    To be clear, I did not say that the OP is whining to anyone! And I didn't think they were. It is easy to not realise how a normal conversation can be construed by the employer, and I don't think the OP was doing anything other than that.

    And sorry but I also don't agree with almost anything else you have said either. Just because you have just worked for a week with a cold doesn't mean that your cold is the same as someone else's cold, or that your working circumstances are the same. Working through sickness is not something that they give out medals for. And we don't all get 2 or 3 colds a year - some people get many more, and some people get none. I can't recall the last time I had a cold. Which also doesn't mean I haven't been sick!

    Sickness affects everyone at some time. Yes , sometimes we can shake it off our work through it. Other times we cannot. It isn't a competition. It just is what it is.

    There needs to be balance. I don't think there is now, and that situation has arisen because people have abused the system.

    You may also not be aware of the fact that asthma greatly enhances the effects of a viral infection because asthma is caused by an over reaction of the immune system, not a weakness of it. Even the mildest infection in someone else can cause life threatening reactions in some asthmatic people. So before you tell someone that they can manage to work with a mild infection, you should make sure that you know that your uninformed opinion could put them at great risk. I don't know how bad the OPs asthma is. Neither do you. So it is a judgement they must make. But that is why it is a disability, and not just an inconvenience
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 10:58 AM
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    Nicki
    Whilst employers certainly don't give medals for working through minor illnesses, they do give disciplinaries for not! Or at least disciplinaries for taking excessive amounts of time off with self certified illnesses.

    To be clear, I said that if OP's current cold was exacerbating her asthma, that took it into a different category. I still stand by my view that most employers would not tolerate an employee with an already poor sickness record taking self certified time off for a common cold unless there were exceptional circumstances. It's up to OP whether she genuinely feels ill enough to run the risk of a disciplinary though.

    My own personal rule of thumb for things other than D and V, is that if I would be spending the day in bed, mostly asleep then I need the time off sick. If I'd be sitting on the sofa watching TV or doing a hobby at home or interacting with friends on the phone or internet, I'm well enough for work and might as well be feeling rough at work as at home, even if my productivity is lower. That's for an office based job. If I was operating heavy machinery or driving, then I'd have to factor in whether being below par would put others at risk.
    Last edited by Nicki; 15-10-2016 at 11:06 AM.
    • keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    • By keepcalmandstayoutofdebt 15th Oct 16, 11:11 AM
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    keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    There is a cold bug going round, I have had the blooming cold for over a week and been up town already today in shops coughing fits and all if I make it into work then of course I've every right to go out for fresh air and stock myself up, though I wondered exactly like you last weekend on the work front when I dosed myself up trying to get rid quickly esp as relatively new starter, only to walk in on Monday with others poorly.. so we could be just re infecting one another. It isn't always about the dirty customers you know as you've fessed up yourself to being poorly.

    Go in and let them send you home imo - it worked for 1 in 5 where I was. I think the people sent home were a bit weepier then others.

    Hope you feel better soon x
    Patience is a necessary ingredient of genius
    • daytona0
    • By daytona0 15th Oct 16, 11:38 AM
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    daytona0
    Asthma is a disability. Have you asked for reasonable adjustments to the sickness target?
    Originally posted by sangie595
    You need to provide evidence for that I'm afraid, because on the face of it you seem to be taking a "you tick the box so why not play the card?" sort of attitude.

    I say that because first google search found the following about Social Security Disability (though it would be interesting to see what the UK says about it!). This site says that you only qualify for disability benefits (in the US I believe) if "your Asthma is severe enough to prevent you from engaging in gainful activity" - OP can still work

    Plus, it also says:

    ....and if they are severe enough to require “intensive” treatment, which is defined by the SSA as:

    intravenous bronchodilator,
    antibiotic administration, or
    prolonged inhalational bronchodilator therapy in a hospital, emergency room or equivalent setting
    http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/asthma-and-social-security-disability

    So I'm immediately skeptical as to whether Asthma in a mild form would be considered a disability. The US doesn't seem to think so!

    There are genuinely disabled people out there and I think it is a bit of an insult to them if someone with mild asthma, exasperated at certain times (ie infections) and not requiring substantial support (like the 3 above; OP would have been quick to mention those I reckon!), were to call themselves disabled.
    ent.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 12:30 PM
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    Nicki
    Looks like OP has gone to work after all, as she hasn't been back. If she's reading in her break though some practical suggestions could be:

    1 to find her line manager and let them know that she's feeling rotten but didn't take time off sick due to the risk of disciplinary but would like to take a few days AL over the next few days instead. The LM will either say "don't be silly, you're clearly ill, take the time off sick" or "that's fine have some AL", or "sorry you don't look ill to me and it's too short notice for AL"
    2. If the LM refuses AL and sickness without a disciplinary, then if OP feels her GP will support her, she can ask for a referral to Occupational Health for reasonable adjustments to manage her asthma
    3 if the GP and OH agree that her asthma means she needs to be able to take more time off than others, then she can ask the employer to put these in place. Though she needs to be realistic about what she is entitled to, and what would be a reasonable adjustment in these circumstances
    4 If the GP and OH don't think her asthma puts her in the disabled category, then unfortunately she has to soldier on as we all do, or look for a role with a different sickness policy
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 12:42 PM
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    sangie595
    Yes, to be fair, asthma which is mild would not affect someone enough to necessarily count as a disability for employment adjustments ( although, given US attitudes to employment and just about everything else, I don't give a fig what they think). But it is not about "playing a card" and I am surprised that any regular here would think that I would suggest that! But having a more severe reaction to viral infection is a fact, and so there is nothing at all wrong with asking (which is what I said - ask) for a reasonable adjustment on that basis. The OP has had very little sickness, in fact, and that often counts in someone's favour when asking. It isn't as though they are going to get carte blanche.

    As a "genuinely disabled person" myself, I don't ASSUME that someone's asthma is mild (the OP did not say this), and nor am I slightly offended by the idea. The law does not mention "requiring substantial support" at all, and that isn't a criteria. Diabetes, which can be controlled solely by diet in some cases, is a disability. As is asthma. It is a lifelong condition ("has lasted, or will last, at least a year") which impacts on someone's ability to function normally on a day to day basis (quite normal situations can trigger asthma even in mild cases, as I am sure you know). So it is a disability. Whether or not it warrants a reasonable adjustment is another matter.

    And I actually am offended that some people here think they have the ability to judge what a "genuinely disabled person" is. Nobody here can say who is genuine or not, and people with disabilities do not have to give toy a quick medical history to prove they have a disability. It's beginning to sound like an ATOS staff meeting around here!
    Last edited by sangie595; 15-10-2016 at 12:46 PM.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 1:10 PM
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    Nicki
    I don't get why you're offended.

    I have a recognised disability too, and as a result only work 4 days a week. I understand though that adjustments need to correlate to the severity of the disability and that simply having a label doesn't entitle you to a full package of adjustments whether you need them or not.

    OP has asthma. If the effect of that asthma means she needs adjustments, then she's entitled to ask for them. If her GP and OH don't agree that she needs the adjustments she wants, even though others with more severe asthma do need the things she is asking for, then that's the way it is. Some people with the same disability as me are only able to work 2 days a week, some aren't able to work at all and claim benefits. It's all individual, and taking offence at that concept is ridiculous!

    I'm quite happy to put my hand up and say I am disabled but other people are more disabled than I am. It's not a binary label!
    Last edited by Nicki; 15-10-2016 at 1:13 PM.
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 15th Oct 16, 1:10 PM
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    Undervalued
    Yes, to be fair, asthma which is mild would not affect someone enough to necessarily count as a disability for employment adjustments ( although, given US attitudes to employment and just about everything else, I don't give a fig what they think). But it is not about "playing a card" and I am surprised that any regular here would think that I would suggest that! But having a more severe reaction to viral infection is a fact, and so there is nothing at all wrong with asking (which is what I said - ask) for a reasonable adjustment on that basis. The OP has had very little sickness, in fact, and that often counts in someone's favour when asking. It isn't as though they are going to get carte blanche.

    As a "genuinely disabled person" myself, I don't ASSUME that someone's asthma is mild (the OP did not say this), and nor am I slightly offended by the idea. The law does not mention "requiring substantial support" at all, and that isn't a criteria. Diabetes, which can be controlled solely by diet in some cases, is a disability. As is asthma. It is a lifelong condition ("has lasted, or will last, at least a year") which impacts on someone's ability to function normally on a day to day basis (quite normal situations can trigger asthma even in mild cases, as I am sure you know). So it is a disability. Whether or not it warrants a reasonable adjustment is another matter.

    And I actually am offended that some people here think they have the ability to judge what a "genuinely disabled person" is. Nobody here can say who is genuine or not, and people with disabilities do not have to give toy a quick medical history to prove they have a disability. It's beginning to sound like an ATOS staff meeting around here!
    Originally posted by sangie595
    Exactly, that is the key point.

    Whether a reasonable adjustment is required and what constitutes one if it is has been debated quite a bit around here in the last week or so!

    As you say nobody here has enough information to offer an expert opinion. Even if they did an opinion is all it would be. The bottom line is if the employee feels they need more than the employer is prepared to give their only options are to go to a tribunal and / or look for another job.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 1:26 PM
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    sangie595
    I don't get why you're offended. I am using the terms of the other posters here. Apparently, as a "genuinely disabled person" I am supposed to feel insulted or offended by someone saying they have a disability. I am not offended by that. I am offended at the attitudes and assumptions being made.

    I have a recognised disability too, and as a result only work 4 days a week. I understand though that adjustments need to correlate to the severity of the disability and that simply having a label doesn't entitle you to a full package of adjustments whether you need them or not. I did not suggest it did. I said that one may ASK. I wasn't the one running around assuming the disability was mild. Or otherwise. That was down to others. And I do not consider disability a label. It is a fact of life.Nobody is "labelling" me, not now, not ever. I am not my disability.

    OP has asthma. If the effect of that asthma means she needs adjustments, then she's entitled to ask for them. If her GP and OH don't agree that she needs the adjustments she wants, even though others with more severe asthma do need the things she is asking for, then that's the way it is. Some people with the same disability as me are only able to work 2 days a week, some aren't able to work at all and claim benefits. It's all individual, and taking offence at that concept is ridiculous! If you read carefully what I said, that is exactly what I said to you! That sickness is individual and what you or I or others may do, and in what circumstances, are all different. I was not the one saying "I've just finished a week at work whilst suffering from a cold which I caught from a colleague. It didn't even cross my mind to take time off and if I'd felt I needed to, I'd have asked for a day AL not self certified sick." as if that had any relevance to what someone else should do. I think that was you!

    I'm quite happy to put my hand up and say I am disabled but other people are more disabled than I am. It's not a binary label!
    Originally posted by Nicki
    It isn't a label at all. Labels are what people attach to others so that they fit into nice boxes. Disability isn't a label and should never be treated as one.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 15th Oct 16, 1:35 PM
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    sangie595

    It would be very dangerous for the OP to announce to their boss that they have a disability based on some sweeping statements on here. People need to be careful not to mislead based on very little knowledge of the OP's condition.
    Originally posted by Bogalot
    Can I be quite clear here, since half the posters appear to be unable to read what I said. I said that asthma is a disability. It is. That is a fact. I asked whether the OP had asked about reasonable adjustments. I did not suggest that they run to the boss and make announcements, and I did not mislead anyone. The irrational reaction to that two sentence post appears to have left all reason behind here. It was down to others making sweeping statements that this was somehow "playing the disability card" and the whole subject growing legs based on other peoples assumptions that the asthma was not serious that has led us to this place.

    I was, perhaps stupidly, thinking that the OP might answer the question I asked - not that a lynching party would be mounted at the mere mention of the word "disability"!

    Now unless the OP has any further information to add - and in their shoes I'd probably not feel that I'd get too sympathetic a viewing if I did - I'm out.
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