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  • FIRST POST
    • Muscle750
    • By Muscle750 16th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    • 670Posts
    • 214Thanks
    Muscle750
    Advice on ill health please
    • #1
    • 16th Oct 16, 4:59 PM
    Advice on ill health please 16th Oct 16 at 4:59 PM
    I will keep this as short as possible, my wife has been suffering from a neurological condition for three years after contracting Hepititis. It has affected her balance and gives her pain in her legs and one arm. She has had numerous tests and the official line from the consultant is a problem with the nerve messages etc and resulting in a functionality disorder. The tests shes had include brain scan lumber puncture etc.
    Intially she was off work for 12 months plus , then she returned on a part time basis for a number of months. She was then asked to start to increase her hours with the hope of getting back to full time. During this period she was under occupational health who she had many meetings with and was medically assessed by them and in the report they stated that it would be in her interest to remain part time as she was finding it hard to cope with the increased hours and workload. The employer when presented with this basically dismissed it and basically said that they were under no obligation to adhere to any recommendations etc.
    My wife duly carried on increasing her hours and the agreed rate when out the blue she was told that starting in September she would be doing Full time end of and they was no policy for part time staff etc. My wife went back in September attempting full time and this has had a adverse affect on her health she has had two full weeks at separate times off work due to be totally exhausted and again this weekend she has spent most of it asleep.
    She is in the GMB and has been represented at various meetings by them in the past in relation to this situation.
    She works in a school as a teaching assistant and is paid by the county council where she has in excess of 20 years service and has been in her present postion 9 years.
    The school which seems to be loosing staff hand over fist over the last few years of the present management setup. The school has two other employees who are on short term contracts who are part time which to me doesnt stand up in them telling my wife they will not employ of a part time basis. However my wifes contract is perminant .
    There has been talk previous of her possibly been pensioned off due to ill health she is 53 yrs old.
    She discovered friday that the school had been in contact with her union rep and asked for a meeting this coming week with the school and my wife and the union rep. My wife as i am am seriously concerned as to what the outcome of this will be.
    Firstly if the school instigate the process of her been pensioned off whilst this process is taking place will she still be paid and we can only presume that the school will have to be more forgiving in relation to her attendance during this period. The letter from the occupational health also made the school aware that she would fall into the equality act.
    If she is pensioned off i presume that she will no longer be able to work on a full time basis for the county council full stop however maybe able to work Part time which she was managing reasonably well. She will obviously be able to do agency work etc if she feels like it.
    Can the school offer her a severence package basically to stop her going to tribunal etc, which i feel she would stand a good chance as they have two people on Part time short term contracts yet they wont let my wife do the same etc.My wife does not want to stay there as she feels the situation is having a bad effect and not helping to her general well being anyway. The management at the school certainly leaves alot to be desired the so called busniess manager who resigned over the summer break saying they were going back into the construction industry where they came from when the school returned after the summer break they reappear as the deputy head without the role been advertised. The postion of deputy head didnt exist prior to the summer break. What i find quite confusing is that she is actually paid by the county council yet the school seem to have the final say etc im wondering if the HR at the county council should be involved as well. At the end of the day we still have bills to pay and things are tight as they are Any advice greatfully recieved
Page 1
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 16th Oct 16, 5:05 PM
    • 2,071 Posts
    • 1,764 Thanks
    Undervalued
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 16, 5:05 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Oct 16, 5:05 PM
    I will keep this as short as possible, my wife has been suffering from a neurological condition for three years after contracting Hepititis. It has affected her balance and gives her pain in her legs and one arm. She has had numerous tests and the official line from the consultant is a problem with the nerve messages etc and resulting in a functionality disorder. The tests shes had include brain scan lumber puncture etc.
    Intially she was off work for 12 months plus , then she returned on a part time basis for a number of months. She was then asked to start to increase her hours with the hope of getting back to full time. During this period she was under occupational health who she had many meetings with and was medically assessed by them and in the report they stated that it would be in her interest to remain part time as she was finding it hard to cope with the increased hours and workload. The employer when presented with this basically dismissed it and basically said that they were under no obligation to adhere to any recommendations etc.
    My wife duly carried on increasing her hours and the agreed rate when out the blue she was told that starting in September she would be doing Full time end of and they was no policy for part time staff etc. My wife went back in September attempting full time and this has had a adverse affect on her health she has had two full weeks at separate times off work due to be totally exhausted and again this weekend she has spent most of it asleep.
    She is in the GMB and has been represented at various meetings by them in the past in relation to this situation.
    She works in a school as a teaching assistant and is paid by the county council where she has in excess of 20 years service and has been in her present postion 9 years.
    The school which seems to be loosing staff hand over fist over the last few years of the present management setup. The school has two other employees who are on short term contracts who are part time which to me doesnt stand up in them telling my wife they will not employ of a part time basis. However my wifes contract is perminant .
    There has been talk previous of her possibly been pensioned off due to ill health she is 53 yrs old.
    She discovered friday that the school had been in contact with her union rep and asked for a meeting this coming week with the school and my wife and the union rep. My wife as i am am seriously concerned as to what the outcome of this will be.
    Firstly if the school instigate the process of her been pensioned off whilst this process is taking place will she still be paid and we can only presume that the school will have to be more forgiving in relation to her attendance during this period. The letter from the occupational health also made the school aware that she would fall into the equality act.
    If she is pensioned off i presume that she will no longer be able to work on a full time basis for the county council full stop however maybe able to work Part time which she was managing reasonably well. She will obviously be able to do agency work etc if she feels like it.
    Can the school offer her a severence package basically to stop her going to tribunal etc, which i feel she would stand a good chance as they have two people on Part time short term contracts yet they wont let my wife do the same etc.My wife does not want to stay there as she feels the situation is having a bad effect and not helping to her general well being anyway. The management at the school certainly leaves alot to be desired the so called busniess manager who resigned over the summer break saying they were going back into the construction industry where they came from when the school returned after the summer break they reappear as the deputy head without the role been advertised. The postion of deputy head didnt exist prior to the summer break. What i find quite confusing is that she is actually paid by the county council yet the school seem to have the final say etc im wondering if the HR at the county council should be involved as well. At the end of the day we still have bills to pay and things are tight as they are Any advice greatfully recieved
    Originally posted by Muscle750
    Yes, any employer can offer a settlement agreement at any time. If accepted (and she must receive independent legal advice before signing for it to be valid) she would be signing away virtually all rights to make a claim. There are a very few rights which, by law, cannot be excluded.
    • YouAsked
    • By YouAsked 17th Oct 16, 9:31 AM
    • 95 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    YouAsked
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 16, 9:31 AM
    • #3
    • 17th Oct 16, 9:31 AM
    I will keep this as short as possible, my wife has been suffering from a neurological condition for three years after contracting Hepititis. It has affected her balance and gives her pain in her legs and one arm. She has had numerous tests and the official line from the consultant is a problem with the nerve messages etc and resulting in a functionality disorder. The tests shes had include brain scan lumber puncture etc. Ouch! Feel for her as a family member experienced the same and wasn't nice.
    Intially she was off work for 12 months plus , then she returned on a part time basis for a number of months. She was then asked to start to increase her hours with the hope of getting back to full time. During this period she was under occupational health who she had many meetings with and was medically assessed by them and in the report they stated that it would be in her interest to remain part time as she was finding it hard to cope with the increased hours and workload. OK great, but the employer has to think about what is in the employer's best interestThe employer when presented with this basically dismissed it and basically said that they were under no obligation to adhere to any recommendations etc. True
    My wife duly carried on increasing her hours and the agreed rate when out the blue she was told that starting in September she would be doing Full time end of and they was no policy for part time staff etc. My wife went back in September attempting full time and this has had a adverse affect on her health she has had two full weeks at separate times off work due to be totally exhausted and again this weekend she has spent most of it asleep.
    She is in the GMB and has been represented at various meetings by them in the past in relation to this situation.
    She works in a school as a teaching assistant and is paid by the county council where she has in excess of 20 years service and has been in her present postion 9 years.
    The school which seems to be loosing staff hand over fist over the last few years of the present management setup. The school has two other employees who are on short term contracts who are part time which to me doesnt stand up in them telling my wife they will not employ of a part time basis. However my wifes contract is perminant .
    There has been talk previous of her possibly been pensioned off due to ill health she is 53 yrs old.
    She discovered friday that the school had been in contact with her union rep and asked for a meeting this coming week with the school and my wife and the union rep. My wife as i am am seriously concerned as to what the outcome of this will be.
    Firstly if the school instigate the process of her been pensioned off whilst this process is taking place will she still be paid and we can only presume that the school will have to be more forgiving in relation to her attendance during this period. The letter from the occupational health also made the school aware that she would fall into the equality act.
    If she is pensioned off i presume that she will no longer be able to work on a full time basis for the county council full stop however maybe able to work Part time which she was managing reasonably well. She will obviously be able to do agency work etc if she feels like it.
    Can the school offer her a severence package basically to stop her going to tribunal etc, Yeswhich i feel she would stand a good chance as they have two people on Part time short term contracts yet they wont let my wife do the same etc. They don't have to - each request for part time working will be considered on its own merit, based on the current needs of the service. In fact, they might say BECAUSE they already have two part time workers, the service could not accommodate a third My wife does not want to stay there as she feels the situation is having a bad effect and not helping to her general well being anyway So what does she want? If she wants to leave anyway, isn't the full time/part time thing academic? . The management at the school certainly leaves alot to be desired the so called busniess manager who resigned over the summer break saying they were going back into the construction industry where they came from when the school returned after the summer break they reappear as the deputy head without the role been advertised. The postion of deputy head didnt exist prior to the summer break. What i find quite confusing is that she is actually paid by the county council yet the school seem to have the final say etc im wondering if the HR at the county council should be involved as well. At the end of the day we still have bills to pay and things are tight as they are Any advice greatfully recieved
    Originally posted by Muscle750
    I do have a lot of sympathy for your wife - as mentioned earlier on, a family member went through similar and it was a horrible experience.

    That said, schools are not immune to budget cuts and are having to do more with less. While they may also be sympathetic to your wife, they have to put the needs of the school first and it seems they are saying that her post needs to be full time.

    From the sounds of things, it does sound like a compromise agreement is on the way - and this may well be the best option - if your wife doesn't want to stay in the employment of the school anyway.

    It's good that she has the union involved - they will have dealt with this many times before.
    • dori2o
    • By dori2o 17th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    • 7,021 Posts
    • 11,790 Thanks
    dori2o
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Oct 16, 10:08 AM
    Is the illness/ill health condition still ongoing?

    If so it is entirely possible that your wifes condition may be covered by the Equality Act as being a disability.

    If this is the case the employer has a DUTY to consider reasonable adjustments.

    A Phased return to working would generally be considered reasonable, especially where it is recommended by the employers own Occupational Health advisers.

    This link provides the information regarding the definition of disability under the Equality Act. If your wife believes she meets this definition then I strongly advise discussing this with the Union rep.
    To equate judgement and wisdom with occupation is at best . . . insulting.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 17th Oct 16, 10:32 AM
    • 4,842 Posts
    • 6,351 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 16, 10:32 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Oct 16, 10:32 AM
    I agree that your wife's condition may well be classed as a disability - this is somethingwhich the union should be able to advise about. If so, then the employer has a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments', but what is reasonable will vary. As a general rule, the larger the employer, the mor elikey it is that adjustments such as asking for pat time work etc would be considered to be reasonable.

    It might hlp if you wife were able to be specifcwith suggestions - for instnace, might job-sharing with one of the other part-time employees be an option? I know sometimes with people requesting part time or flexible working, there can be an issue if eveyone making the request wnts the same, or very simialr hours (e.g. eveyone wants to finish at 3 not 5 - so if your wife were able to offer to work part tim in a way which complemented the part time hours of other workers, it might make it more dificult for the employer to turn this down)

    However, if she does not want to stay with this job, then it may be better for her to try to negotiate the mostfavourable settlement agreement she can get, and then to consider what other type of work she might be able to undertake on a part time basis
    • Undervalued
    • By Undervalued 17th Oct 16, 12:26 PM
    • 2,071 Posts
    • 1,764 Thanks
    Undervalued
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 16, 12:26 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Oct 16, 12:26 PM
    I agree that your wife's condition may well be classed as a disability - this is somethingwhich the union should be able to advise about. If so, then the employer has a duty to make 'reasonable adjustments', but what is reasonable will vary. As a general rule, the larger the employer, the mor elikey it is that adjustments such as asking for pat time work etc would be considered to be reasonable.

    It might hlp if you wife were able to be specifcwith suggestions - for instnace, might job-sharing with one of the other part-time employees be an option? I know sometimes with people requesting part time or flexible working, there can be an issue if eveyone making the request wnts the same, or very simialr hours (e.g. eveyone wants to finish at 3 not 5 - so if your wife were able to offer to work part tim in a way which complemented the part time hours of other workers, it might make it more dificult for the employer to turn this down)

    However, if she does not want to stay with this job, then it may be better for her to try to negotiate the mostfavourable settlement agreement she can get, and then to consider what other type of work she might be able to undertake on a part time basis
    Originally posted by TBagpuss
    That is a key point. She would need an expert opinion (which her union should be able to arrange) about whether her condition is a disability (for employment law purposes) or not.

    If it is not then, sadly, they are correct in that they do not have to follow any recommendations or suggestions from her doctor. In effect they would be quite entitled to say "do your full job or stay off sick".

    If she does have a disability then, as stated, they are legally required to make "reasonable adjustments". That said, as has been mentioned in several threads recently, the legal requirement does not go anything like as far as many people fondly imagine. In my experience, most larger employers actually do far more in this regard than the law would require. Again the union should be her first source of advice.
    • Transformers
    • By Transformers 17th Oct 16, 1:06 PM
    • 361 Posts
    • 1,176 Thanks
    Transformers
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 16, 1:06 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Oct 16, 1:06 PM
    https://www.gov.uk/definition-of-disability-under-equality-act-2010

    Even if 'disabled' the employer only has to make reasonable adjustments. Fitting the 'disabled' criteria does NOT mean that you can't be dismissed under capability proceedings. It is NOT a total 'get out of jail free' card where an employer would have to keep employing someone who is no longer suitable for the job - it is a business after all and money is not limitless.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 17th Oct 16, 1:29 PM
    • 2,735 Posts
    • 4,276 Thanks
    sangie595
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 16, 1:29 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Oct 16, 1:29 PM
    I won't repeat what others have said about disability and reasonable adjustments.


    What you need to watch out for are the specific terms of any ill-health retirement. The specific regulations around this now vary from one area to another, so it is hard to be specific. But the generalities are usually the same. It is often the case that someone cannot work for a local authority in any capacity and for any type of contract if they are in receipt of ill health retirement. It may ALSO be the case that they must be assessed as not being capable of ANY work at all (which is clearly not the case here) and that if the person returns to ANY work at all they will lose the entitlement to the pension.


    Ill-health retirement IS a severance package (and doesn't come cost free to the employer), so it is very unlikely that they would pay more, especially since that would have to come from the schools budget, which isn't likely to be affordable. Nothing wrong with asking, but in order to obtain the ill-health retirement she will almost certainly have to accept the terms of it - which will also mean that she has absolutely no case to take to a tribunal, and the employer will know that. She must decide one or the other. She is either going to fight for her job, and that job the way she wants it, with the possibility of making a claim to a tribunal, which she might win - or not. Or take the ill health retirement, which means that she is agreeing to voluntarily give up her job because she is not longer fit enough to do it. If she agrees the latter, there is no tribunal in the world will then support her claim because that decision is the employers case in a nutshell - she gave up the job voluntarily because she isn't fit to work.
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