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Time off work for hospital appointments?
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# 1
LilacLillie
Old 10-10-2007, 7:14 PM
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Default Time off work for hospital appointments?

I have checked online with ACAS, DDA and Equality for Human rights, but its evening and I can't find any information that I can print out for this problem.
Is there anyone who can help point me in the right direction for some advice please?

My DH is a diabetic (3yrs since diagnosis), he has often missed hospital check up's on the basis of having to take time of work as sick or annual leave. Because he 'feel's' ok on his medication, he thinks he isn't doing himself any harm!
I disagree.
Last year I registered him with our local authority as 'Disabled'.
They explained to me that in doing so it is against the law to not allow him time off of work for these appointments.
I am only talking about 3 appointments this year so far, with hospital letters to verify them.
He saw his consultant on Monday and his boss wasn't pleased that he had to go because they were busy (he works in management for local council), even though he showed him the letter 2mths ago.
He has had no time off sick due to his diabetes in the last 2 1/2 yrs and only 5 odd days off for other ailments this year.
The government has arranged for everyone with diabetes to attend a course of 1 day a week for 4 weeks, to enable them to take more control over their condition.
My DH took his letter to attend the course (due to start in Nov ) to his boss in May.
After leaving work 2 hrs earlier on Monday for his appointment, his boss sent him an email today stating that any further time off for his hospital appointments must be taken as sick/AL.
I know this can't be right, but need to know his rights on the matter.
He has worked in this job for 14 yrs and doesn't want to now get a bad sickness record.
Council policy is something like 11 sick days a year before you get pressured into sickness procedures and sent to OH.
What can we do ??????
Thanks in advance
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# 2
dmg24
Old 10-10-2007, 7:51 PM
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The employer is correct. They may insist that he takes it as annual leave or sick (indeed, some employers will not allow employees to take the time as sick unless they are actually unfit to work at the time of the appointment).
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# 3
Js_Other_Half
Old 10-10-2007, 8:46 PM
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He really should have a word with his union rep, but I'd be amazed if there were any problems with him taking the time off. One of my former colleagues had a physio appt every week for months with no issues...

I work for a council too.
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# 4
Js_Other_Half
Old 10-10-2007, 8:54 PM
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http://www.unison.org.uk/bargaining/equalities.asp

Disability leave factsheet
Disability leave is time off from work for a reason related to someone's disability. It is a type of 'reasonable adjustment' which disabled workers are entitled under the Disability Discrimination Act.
Word document (876544 bytes)
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# 5
Savvy_Sue
Old 10-10-2007, 9:02 PM
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He needs to read his contract as well: I used to work for a Housing Association, perhaps our T&C were more generous than the local authority's, but I thought they were broadly similar. Anyway, we could get time off for any hospital appointments, it showed on our timesheets as 'other', we didn't have to work the flexi to make it up, and it definitely wasn't sick leave.

Any appointments where we had some say over what time they were should have been booked outside core hours and the time made up. But if the appointment was sent to you, then you just got the time off.
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# 6
cazziebo
Old 10-10-2007, 9:52 PM
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I'm surprised council is so strict - I thought public sector might be a bit more understanding..

My understanding (untested as I haven't had to check for a while) is that an employee with a registered disability must be able to take time off for medical appts, but there isn't a requirement for the employer to pay for this time.
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# 7
ohreally
Old 10-10-2007, 11:08 PM
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To concur with others, he has protection under the DDA and time off work to attend medical appointments would be deemed a reasonable adjustment.He needs to raise this with his union and if there is employer resistance the next step may be to go to grievance.
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# 8
LilacLillie
Old 10-10-2007, 11:27 PM
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I don't know what exactly IS right, but do know that the employer should accomodate in some way by DDA rules.
What I'm after is something to show them stating that.
Everyone seems to know that you can no longer discrimate against disabled people but who do you turn to for facts, or when they do?.
The person I spoke to when I registered him disabled said 'All employers must be seen to be PC'.
I'll try to call them on Friday (out all day tomorrow) and see what they come up with.
LL

Quote:
Originally Posted by dmg24 View Post
The employer is correct. They may insist that he takes it as annual leave or sick (indeed, some employers will not allow employees to take the time as sick unless they are actually unfit to work at the time of the appointment).
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# 9
Madjock
Old 11-10-2007, 6:35 AM
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diabetes isn't a disability so i dont think it's covered by the dda is it?
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# 10
Fleago
Old 11-10-2007, 7:35 AM
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I concur with the other posters who say that your husband is entitled to time off for his hospital appointments related to his disability. Moreover, in legal terms, Diabetes is considered to be a disability under the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Whether he is paid or not depends on the frequency of his apointments - if he was having a lot of time off on a very regular basis an employer might cite justification in not making the reasonable adjustment of paying him for this time. However, given what you've said, his appointments are few and far between and I would think there would an argument to say that he should be paid for them.

Oh really has given good advice for your OH to contact his Union and possibly raise a grievance, but should he not be in a Union, or if he doesn't feel quite ready to go down a formal route, it may be useful for him to contact the HR section of the Council directly and explain the situation as it could be this manager is acting off his own back without any reference to the Council's procedures. If he's not in a Union, I would recommend him joining one anyway.

It's my view that his appointments should not be being put through as sickness absence, but as authorised leave and it seems to me that to ask him to take annual leave is also an unreasonable stance for his employer to take.

Good luck to your OH.

PS I've been trying to find something online for you to print off. The DRC site used to have exactly the sort of thing you would need on it, but it's gone now and I can't find anything similar on the new CEHR site.

Last edited by Fleago; 11-10-2007 at 7:49 AM. Reason: Adding additional info
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# 11
Larumbelle
Old 11-10-2007, 9:51 AM
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Try calling the CEHR (disability rights commission as it was until about a week ago). 08457-622633. They were very helpful to me in the past and can also put you in touch with local organisations. Sorry I can't help more, only second what other people have said. Good luck.
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# 12
dmg24
Old 11-10-2007, 12:55 PM
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http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Disabled...hts/DG_4001069
Quote:
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
In the way that you describe his condition (managed, no time of in two and a half years), I doubt that he is covered by the DDA.

All because someone is registered as disabled, it does not mean that they are covered by the DDA. Conversely, not everyone that is covered by the DDA is registered as disabled.

I note that you have thanked everybody that has agreed with you. Just because somebody disagrees, does not mean that they are wrong.
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# 13
nifferwilko
Old 11-10-2007, 4:24 PM
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Sorry dmg24, you're wrong. So in your case, it does mean that your wrong (but I'll thank you for giving me something to write)

The DDA takes into account the fact that conditions have to be managed. The benchmark measure is what would happen if the condition wasn't managed.

If OPs husband didn't take his insulin, he would fall into a hypergycemic (sp) coma and propably die. Thus, it is covered by the DDA

Quote from www.equalityhumanrights.com (new DRC site) "Examples include cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and heart conditions"

OP - get your husband to check with the HR department. My dad works for our local council and has diabeties - he can take time off for hospital appointments fully paid and doesn't have to make up the time, but not for doctors appointments - they have to be made up.

Last edited by nifferwilko; 11-10-2007 at 4:30 PM. Reason: add quote from equityhumanrights
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# 14
dmg24
Old 11-10-2007, 4:41 PM
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I still disagree with you niffer, and I do have experience in this area, but we are all entitled to our own opinions, and you thanked me, so that's ok! x
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# 15
Fleago
Old 11-10-2007, 5:47 PM
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I too have experience in this area and I'm afraid I have to disagree with you too, dmg24. As niffer said, what is taken into account when determing whether a person is disabled under the Act in a case such as someone having diabetes, is whether the condition would have a substantial and long term adverse effect on day to day living if it were not treated or controlled.

Therefore, it is quite feasible for someone to have a disability and require very little time off for appointments or time off sick. The only exception to the treatment proviso is a visual impairment that can be treated by wearing glasses or corrective lenses.
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# 16
Savvy_Sue
Old 11-10-2007, 7:52 PM
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Oh, so does that make my deafness not a disability because in my case (not all I know) it can be 'treated' by wearing my hearing aid?

Just interested ... I always put "I have a mild hearing loss" on equal ops forms, but I wouldn't (yet) say I'm disabled as a result of it!
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# 17
LilacLillie
Old 11-10-2007, 9:44 PM
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actually it is a disabilty, although I think it doesn't ever entitle you to benefits, could be wrong on that though.
LL



Quote:
Originally Posted by Madjock View Post
diabetes isn't a disability so i dont think it's covered by the dda is it?
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# 18
LilacLillie
Old 11-10-2007, 9:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmg24 View Post
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Disabled...hts/DG_4001069


I note that you have thanked everybody that has agreed with you. Just because somebody disagrees, does not mean that they are wrong.

I thought I'd thanked you when I clicked to quote you.
Now you have pointed it out I see that I didn't. It was nothing to do with who had agreed with me.
However I NEVER thank people who ask for thanks on this forum.
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# 19
ohreally
Old 11-10-2007, 9:57 PM
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Diabetes and the DDA...http://www.dwp.gov.uk/employers/dda/who_covered.asp
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# 20
Techno
Old 11-10-2007, 10:10 PM
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I agree with nifferwilko - tell your OH to speak to the HR department and also have a look at the sickness/absence policy - most councils are fairly flexible and it could just be that your OH's boss is just being awkward and /or isn't aware of the policy - the fact that he is attending these appointments may well mean that he doesn't need to take time off sick at a later date because his diabetes goes out of kilter
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