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    • 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 2
    • ERICS MUM
    • By ERICS MUM 15th Oct 16, 1:46 PM
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    ERICS MUM
    OP,

    Dose yourself up with decongestant, painkiller, Olbas oil etc so you don't feel as rotten. Buy one of those disposable paper 'surgeon's' mask in Boots to wear in the office so you don't spread germs, something the Japanese do as a matter of course.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 1:54 PM
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    Nicki
    I think you've lost your normal perspective sangie. All the posters before me including you said to the OP effectively "if you're sick with a cold, you're sick. Take the time off". I was the only one to query whether the cold was affecting their asthma. I said if you read again "if it's just a cold, then that's not a good enough reason, but if it's impacted on your asthma then this may be"

    In that context letting the OP know that others do work through colds whilst feeling grotty or take AL in such circumstances is relevant because it's relating to having a cold, not having asthma.

    Unless your case is that all colds affect all people with asthma to the extent they are unfit for work, but another poster on the thread who does suffer from asthma disagrees with you on that.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 15th Oct 16, 2:06 PM
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    theoretica
    What hasn't been discussed here is the level of the consequences of going over the limit: 'A disciplinary with warnings'. Is that really the policy? In my work it is a disciplinary which may lead to warnings - ie a meeting, a manager a bit annoyed at having to do more paperwork. It is the employer's policy making sure to take a close look at the situation and sort out the unlucky and less healthy from malingerers or people who aren't taking reasonable care of themselves.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • asajj
    • By asajj 15th Oct 16, 3:46 PM
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    asajj

    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.
    Originally posted by ScarletMarble

    Are you able to use a face mask at work? I do use it from time to time and it helps.
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    • ScarletMarble
    • By ScarletMarble 15th Oct 16, 4:00 PM
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    ScarletMarble
    I'm currently at work on my break.

    Concentrating on the task in hand at work, my cold is in the background.

    It's busy at work as it's the start of half term here. I'm not as bad as when I started. My head and nose feels heavy so going to Doc's on Tuesday - normally do Monday but a colleague has a family friend funeral to attend so starting early at her hours. Cough started three weeks ago when on holiday and had two lots of colds in over 2 weeks
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    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 4:15 PM
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    Nicki
    Glad you're feeling a bit better.

    Out of interest why do you feel you need to see the doctor in 4 days time? Do you think this is something other than a cold?
    • Andypandyboy
    • By Andypandyboy 15th Oct 16, 4:19 PM
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    Andypandyboy
    I often think these policies are counter productive. No one seems to have a day off now, it is always a full week.

    Obviously, there are those who do take the mick, but I think overall the number of sickness days would go down if certain workplaces reverted back to treating people like adults and trusting that if they were well enough to be in work they would be there. I am sure that would happen where I work.
    • Grumpygit
    • By Grumpygit 15th Oct 16, 6:02 PM
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    Grumpygit
    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 pick on you - but I know that there are others who feel the same as you do but....

    People like you just really annoy me. There is nothing noble about being in work with a cold when you're spreading your germs around to others - you may not think that you're doing any harm but you are.

    At my place of work there is a 6 day limit in a 12 month rolling period for uncertified sickness. Any more than that and they deduct it from your pay.

    It doesn't work - it means that the sickie club just need to be careful about how many days they take and when; The people who are genuinely ill but maybe need one or two days to get over a cold either come in and spread their germs or they go to the dr and get signed off for a week.

    In January/February this year we had flu go around our department and it wasn't helped because someone was under notice and wouldn't be paid if they were off ill - even if they did have a doctors note. Because of their selfish actions one after another went down with it. They shouldn't have been at work as it affected the rest of us and we had to work even more to cover for them (but I do understand why they did it - but it doesn't make it right and the principal is still the same).

    Bottom line is, the company is at fault for bringing in these unworkable policies.

    Sorry for rambling on about this, but this is one thing that does annoy me
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 15th Oct 16, 6:39 PM
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    Nicki
    Sufferer needs to catch it, bin it, kill it. Colleagues need to practise good hand hygiene.

    It's unreasonable to expect workers who are well enough to attend work to stay off and risk disciplinary action or loss of pay for something as trivial as the common cold. People who whinge about this are the ones who really annoy me.

    If your employer has a policy of encouraging staff to take time off or work from home with minor illnesses to avoid passing them on, that's a different matter but most don't.
    • ScarletMarble
    • By ScarletMarble 15th Oct 16, 7:54 PM
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    ScarletMarble
    Colds affect people in different ways and each cold you get is different. As one cold, you have a constant runny nose, ear ache and shivering. Your next cold could entail runny nose, then severely congested, sore throat and sweats.

    Customers handle money in their mouths. It's a disgusting thing

    I have rung in sick when I cannot do anything else but blowing my nose. Unable to talk in between.
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    • daytona0
    • By daytona0 15th Oct 16, 8:36 PM
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    daytona0
    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!
    Originally posted by sangie595
    I was just a bit concerned at how you honed in on the word asthma, when it was pretty much a footnote, and suggested that OP has a disability because of that.

    Fair enough if the UK considers it as such, but if they don't (and evidence would be amazing; I could only find US ones which are interesting but not applicable) then you could be seen as encouraging someone to exaggerate their asthma condition (ie playing the card) to gain favour in work.

    That's all I was saying!

    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.
    No, you ASSUME that someone's asthma makes them disabled.

    I genuinely don't know what the truth is, but you need to back up that claim with evidence I'm afraid What does the UK law say on asthma and disability?

    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!
    I knew I would rile you I know what you've been through so I know why you've taken my post to heart a bit.

    My point is basically;

    You (genuinely disabled people, maybe even OP included) would not be happy with anyone not legally classed as disabled who exaggerates their situation to gain favour (maybe OP, if they take your advice and find that mild asthma is not counted under UK law), be that benefits/more sick days/interviews etc.

    Again, we need to see what UK law says on it. Not even for my benefit per se, but for OP's benefit! They've got people asserting that IT IS a disability but nothing concrete to follow up on.
    Last edited by daytona0; 15-10-2016 at 8:41 PM.
    ent.
    • lesley74
    • By lesley74 15th Oct 16, 9:16 PM
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    lesley74
    I know someone who has a 'condition' which had to be assessed by Occupational Health at their work, and was considered a disability. This means that if they are off with that particular illness then they are 'covered' under the disability so wouldn't get warnings. They also get a flu and pneumonia jab because flu would be more dangerous because of the condition. However, if they have a cold and go off work then they are off with a cold, and not their disability. Same would happen with asthma. Unless you had a cold and put on your sickline that you were off due to asthma instead of a cold.

    A disability doesn't have to be debilitating. It just has to be something that can affect your ability to be in good attendance at work (if that makes sense). So the person I know goes out running every week, however has also been in hospital with their condition and not able to run for a while after that, but then appears to be well again.

    Hope that makes sense. Occupational health at the workplace would be the decision makers on this.
    • theoretica
    • By theoretica 15th Oct 16, 9:39 PM
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    theoretica
    I genuinely don't know what the truth is, but you need to back up that claim with evidence I'm afraid What does the UK law say on asthma and disability?
    Originally posted by daytona0
    With a very few exceptions (such as cancer, HIV) UK law on disability does not specifically mention medical conditions. It mentions their affect on the person.

    https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/discrimination/protected-characteristics/disability-discrimination/

    You will see asthma is mentioned in this guidance as being potentially a disability, depending on the person.
    But a banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.
    Lewis Carroll
    • robatwork
    • By robatwork 16th Oct 16, 9:15 AM
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    robatwork
    At my place of work there is a 6 day limit in a 12 month rolling period for uncertified sickness. Any more than that and they deduct it from your pay.

    It doesn't work - it means that the sickie club just need to be careful about how many days they take and when; The people who are genuinely ill but maybe need one or two days to get over a cold either come in and spread their germs or they go to the dr and get signed off for a week.
    Originally posted by Grumpygit
    If you were in charge at your work and made the sickness policies, what policy would you make?

    I'm not making a point, I am genuinely interested in a "working" sickness policy.
    • Tigsteroonie
    • By Tigsteroonie 16th Oct 16, 10:25 AM
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    Tigsteroonie
    I often think these policies are counter productive. No one seems to have a day off now, it is always a full week.

    Obviously, there are those who do take the mick, but I think overall the number of sickness days would go down if certain workplaces reverted back to treating people like adults and trusting that if they were well enough to be in work they would be there. I am sure that would happen where I work.
    Originally posted by Andypandyboy
    Except that you still need policies in order to deal with those who don't behave like adults and start taking the proverbial. No policies, no grounds for warning and then disciplinary.
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    • andygb
    • By andygb 16th Oct 16, 10:40 AM
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    andygb
    I sympathise with the OP, because I have worked at places where sickness - genuine sickness - was looked on as skiving, because the boss was fortunate enough never to fall ill.
    I had two bouts of bronchitis in six months, and then I got another more serious bout (little did I know that I had not recovered from the initial bout, and that there was a far more serious condition causing this). The doctor put me off for two weeks, and I went back to work, to be informed that I was facing disciplinary action. I had a temperature and was sweating buckets, and I don't ecven remember what they said to me. I had a blackout in the office and then had to see the company doctor. He seemed to think I was making it up but referred me to a BUPA hospital to have further tests. The tests revealed that I had pneumonia on one lung and hepatitis.
    I was then put off work for a month, which really pleased my boss.
    At the end of the day your health is the most important thing you have.
    As others have already said, bosses who intimaidate their staff into going to work whilst they are ill, simply risk contamination and other people going off sick.
    • Nicki
    • By Nicki 16th Oct 16, 10:49 AM
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    Nicki
    Not relevant at all then that OP did go to work, and managed just fine. In fact she said her cold receded into the background and she was able to concentrate on getting the job done? So in reality although she would have taken the day off had it not been for her employers policy, she was fit for work.
    • FredG
    • By FredG 17th Oct 16, 9:28 AM
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    FredG
    My employer uses the Bradford Factor. Prior to working here I'd had one day off work with illness in 6 years. The last 3 years here I've had about 10. I'm not a habitually sick person and my work ethic is that unless I'm totally incapable of working I'll be here. I've just had an unlucky period however a portion of the sickness I mentioned lead to an informal warning under sickness policy.

    The Bradford Factor is designed as a guide to spot and eradicate habitual sickness, however the way it's implemented at numerous places makes it totally unfit for purpose and no substitute for actually knowing and managing your staff.

    There is a gentleman here who admits to making his own calculations to ensure he stays under the cusp of any enforcable Bradford Factor thresholds and waits until he's "entitled" to more sick time before taking some. You don't get more habitual than that, however HR have stated that they can't touch him because there is no "concrete proof".

    Businesses really need to sort this out because it can be massively demotivating to be treated like public enemy no1 for a run of ill health while someone lines their pockets with extra sick pay intentionally to play a broken system.
    Last edited by FredG; 17-10-2016 at 9:41 AM.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 17th Oct 16, 12:02 PM
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    deannatrois
    I remember going into work in spite of having a rather high temp.., because I was two days into a job and didn't think I'd be believed about taking time off. Turned out I had flu, and yes I gave it to another person who took a full week off. My filing was unbelievably bad as well that week lol.

    But I do have asthma.., I also have two special needs children which can lead to periods of not getting a lot of sleep so I totally dread colds as typically, you get more of these illnesses when a bit run down. They can take me weeks to get over. I don't work, but if I did, I know I would go into work, I've done it in the past. You can't afford to take time off work unless something is imminently life threatening, even if you know it could exacerbate a condition like asthma if you don't 'rest'. It might be selfish, but even sick, bills have to be paid. And taking the amount of time off required to be non infectious with an illness when you don't know in advance if its going to be serious or not (some colds are just a little snuffle) is just impractical - however much it protects your colleagues.

    Glad the OP is feeling better though.

    Mind you, I was the one who was only allowed 24 hours in bed when Swine flu was in the household. Both kids had it, then I got it (it was definitely swine flu). I just had to keep going.., even though I could barely breath at the time. I'll never forget it. I think you just have to get on with it at times. There was no choice and you do get over these things with time normally.
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 17th Oct 16, 12:23 PM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    My employer uses the Bradford Factor. Prior to working here I'd had one day off work with illness in 6 years. The last 3 years here I've had about 10. I'm not a habitually sick person and my work ethic is that unless I'm totally incapable of working I'll be here. I've just had an unlucky period however a portion of the sickness I mentioned lead to an informal warning under sickness policy.

    The Bradford Factor is designed as a guide to spot and eradicate habitual sickness, however the way it's implemented at numerous places makes it totally unfit for purpose and no substitute for actually knowing and managing your staff.

    There is a gentleman here who admits to making his own calculations to ensure he stays under the cusp of any enforcable Bradford Factor thresholds and waits until he's "entitled" to more sick time before taking some. You don't get more habitual than that, however HR have stated that they can't touch him because there is no "concrete proof".

    Businesses really need to sort this out because it can be massively demotivating to be treated like public enemy no1 for a run of ill health while someone lines their pockets with extra sick pay intentionally to play a broken system.
    Originally posted by FredG
    There is no perfect solution, those that want to swing it will do. Your colleague would clearly swing it alot more if they could get away with it but the Bradford method prevents this.
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
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