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  • FIRST POST
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 7th Dec 17, 4:33 PM
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    Lungboy
    Ill health and returning to work, where does my wife stand?
    • #1
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:33 PM
    Ill health and returning to work, where does my wife stand? 7th Dec 17 at 4:33 PM
    My wife works for a water company, is currently on maternity leave and due to go back to work at the beginning of January. During her maternity leave she became very ill with an ongoing, permanent health issue.

    Today she met with her manager and someone from HR and they decided that she can't return to her job due to her new needs with her condition. The HR person has asked her to send in her Cv and they will try to find her something else.

    Where does my wife stand in this situation? There was no mention of pay while they sort her a new post. Is she entitled to any? Or sick pay? She has a permanent contract so I don't know if they are going to simply cancel it. Can they even do that? She's very worried about all of this and it's all so vague that we're struggling to work out what's going on.
Page 1
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 7th Dec 17, 4:53 PM
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    sangie595
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:53 PM
    • #2
    • 7th Dec 17, 4:53 PM
    I'm sorry, but yes - if there is no other role that she can do, they would be lawfully able to dismiss her. Her protections from maternity leave only cover her going back to her existing role. The change in her health means she can't do that, so her legal rights are frustrated.

    She needs to ask about sick pay entitlement if there is no post for her to go back to inJanuary, because the terms of her contact may impact on this. But if her health condition means she is unfit for her job she will have to ask the GP for a fit note when she is due to return. This would be her responsibility as it is she who says she isn't for for work - not the employer saying she isn't. And she would remain sick until they find another role for her or dismiss.

    I should also point out, in case it isn't clear, that they no longer have to find her a role with the same pay and terms. That right ended when her inability to return became a health condition and not maternity, so they can offer her any role she is capable of doing at any level of pay. This is not redundancy either. At best, if she is dismissed, she will possibly get her paid notice period - that depends on the terms of her contact and her length of service.

    I'm afraid it's likely to be vague nectar this is an uncommon situation, and HR won't know if they can offer a solution yet.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 7th Dec 17, 8:22 PM
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    Lungboy
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:22 PM
    • #3
    • 7th Dec 17, 8:22 PM
    Thanks very much for the reply. My wife has been assessed as being able to go back to her job from a medical perspective, but the company are unable to make the required changes to the role to enable my wife to return. Does that change anything?
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 7th Dec 17, 9:17 PM
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    sangie595
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:17 PM
    • #4
    • 7th Dec 17, 9:17 PM
    Thanks very much for the reply. My wife has been assessed as being able to go back to her job from a medical perspective, but the company are unable to make the required changes to the role to enable my wife to return. Does that change anything?
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    Only in so far as, if her condition qualifies as a disability (not all health conditions do), then the employer has to consider those adjustments, but they can refuse them if they don't deem them reasonable. That would mean that she might have a claim for discrimination. Who has assessed the adjustments, what are they, and why have the company refused them? Why can't she return to her job without them?
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 8th Dec 17, 10:00 AM
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    Lungboy
    • #5
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:00 AM
    • #5
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:00 AM
    I've no idea who assessed the adjustments, I'd guess OH or HR. I haven't read the final report from the Dr that assessed her needs, but I think my wife said they said she needs access to a toilet at very short notice. As she spends hours on the road collecting water samples that's not really feasible.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 8th Dec 17, 10:23 AM
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    sangie595
    • #6
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:23 AM
    • #6
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:23 AM
    I've no idea who assessed the adjustments, I'd guess OH or HR. I haven't read the final report from the Dr that assessed her needs, but I think my wife said they said she needs access to a toilet at very short notice. As she spends hours on the road collecting water samples that's not really feasible.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    If that is the sum of it, then it is highly unlikely that will be a disability. But the employer is correct - there isn't really a dignified reasonable adjustment they can make, so I'd expect that my previous comments would stand. They should do their best to find her a job, but it wouldn't have to be on the same terms. And if they can't find one, it would very likely be a fair dismissal.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 8th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
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    Lungboy
    • #7
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
    • #7
    • 8th Dec 17, 10:41 AM
    She's bottom grade already so the terms and pay can't get any worse, other than not being permanent. Fair enough about the dismissal being OK. I guess my question was more about what happens in the interim after her maternity leave ends, as she's not going back to her post but we don't know how long HR will take to find her something new (if at all). Is she still technically under contract? Is she entitled to pay of any kind? Those kind of issues are where we are having difficulty finding answers.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 8th Dec 17, 1:40 PM
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    sangie595
    • #8
    • 8th Dec 17, 1:40 PM
    • #8
    • 8th Dec 17, 1:40 PM
    She's bottom grade already so the terms and pay can't get any worse, other than not being permanent. Fair enough about the dismissal being OK. I guess my question was more about what happens in the interim after her maternity leave ends, as she's not going back to her post but we don't know how long HR will take to find her something new (if at all). Is she still technically under contract? Is she entitled to pay of any kind? Those kind of issues are where we are having difficulty finding answers.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    It would be as I indicated. When her maternity leave ends, if there is no other employment she will require a fit note signing her off from her GP. What she is then entitled to is sick pay - statutory or contractual if available. Assuming she qualifies, which I'm not positive she would - but I'm no expert on SSP as I seldom deal with it. I don't know how the pay aspect of maternity leave impacts on SSP because she'll have been on reduced income.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 8th Dec 17, 3:21 PM
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    Lungboy
    • #9
    • 8th Dec 17, 3:21 PM
    • #9
    • 8th Dec 17, 3:21 PM
    But her GP will say she's fit for work so she can't get a fit note, it's the company saying she can't return because they can't accomodate her needs. Or will the GP sign her off on those grounds?
    • Takeaway_Addict
    • By Takeaway_Addict 8th Dec 17, 3:32 PM
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    Takeaway_Addict
    But her GP will say she's fit for work so she can't get a fit note, it's the company saying she can't return because they can't accomodate her needs. Or will the GP sign her off on those grounds?
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    Her GP is saying she is fit for work based on recommendations of change. Her employer doesn't believe these are reasonable and as such it is as Sangie has put.

    Its the GP she needs to chase to get a fit note from.
    Don't trust a forum for advice. Get proper paid advice. Any advice given should always be checked
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 8th Dec 17, 3:37 PM
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    sangie595
    But her GP will say she's fit for work so she can't get a fit note, it's the company saying she can't return because they can't accomodate her needs. Or will the GP sign her off on those grounds?
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    This wouldn't be a medical suspension - which is initiated by the employer - because they cannot say that she is unfit to do her job. She isn't. So she can return to the job that she had. That clearly isn't going to happen, so her only option is her GP providing a fit note. Unless the company say otherwise, but that is up to them to decide. But medical suspension - which is pays - is for people who are a risk to themselves or others if they return to work. So, for example, someone who is clearly unfit for work but refuses to take time off; or someone with a communicable condition; or someone who would be injured if they attempted to do their job. I can't see that it applies in this situation - as you say, technically she isn't ill, as such, and nor is she disabled. An unusual circumstance, and one that seems to fall between two stools. She is neither one thing nor the other.
    • w06
    • By w06 9th Dec 17, 2:47 PM
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    w06
    But whether the GP provides a fit note is wholly up to their professional opinion, even you op say that she is fit for work, it isn't something that you can demand is provided
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 9th Dec 17, 3:06 PM
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    iammumtoone
    Is she still technically under contract? Is she entitled to pay of any kind? Those kind of issues are where we are having difficulty finding answers.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    Does it matter?

    Whatever the answer tecnically in law the best outcome for your wife is to still work there in another role.

    The company do not have to look for anything else for her, they could just dismiss her, if you start demanding payment they are more likely to take that route.

    The best thing you can do is work with the company and give them a few weeks to see if they can find anything. In your shoes I would see what happens regarding pay and not even mention it.

    If you really can't afford to survive for a couple of weeks without payment of any kind you need to ask them but be aware if you come across as only interested in money then you might find they are not so helpful in finding alternative employement for your wife.

    Sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture and do what is most likely to get yourself a satifactory outcome.

    If they decide they can't find anything then your wife wont be geting payed anyway. By waiting you are just delaying claiming JSA for a few weeks.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 9th Dec 17, 4:33 PM
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    sangie595
    But whether the GP provides a fit note is wholly up to their professional opinion, even you op say that she is fit for work, it isn't something that you can demand is provided
    Originally posted by w06
    No, you can't. In which case the OPs wife goes back to her existing job or fails to return to work. The adjustments she requires are not an obligation on the employer, and even if they were, they are hardly achievable. But what she doesn't have is the right to do anything else. The "anything else" is at the discretion of the employer.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 9th Dec 17, 5:00 PM
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    Personally, I think the OP is jumping the gun a bit here. His wife only had the meeting with HR two days ago during which she was asked to send them her CV so they could try and find her something else.

    They need to give HR some time to do just that before panicking unnecessarily.
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • kingfisherblue
    • By kingfisherblue 9th Dec 17, 5:19 PM
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    kingfisherblue
    I've no idea who assessed the adjustments, I'd guess OH or HR. I haven't read the final report from the Dr that assessed her needs, but I think my wife said they said she needs access to a toilet at very short notice. As she spends hours on the road collecting water samples that's not really feasible.
    Originally posted by Lungboy
    Can your wife wear incontinence pads or pants? There are several brands available, so she could find some that she is comfortable wearing. She may need them anyway, as she won't always have instant access to a toilet (when shopping, for example - not all shops have toilets, and even those that do, there may be a queue).

    Also, your wife should ask her doctor for an appointment with the continence service in your area. There may be help that your wife can access to help towards a resolution. I'm not saying that there is a quick fix, but presumably any medical help would be beneficial.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 10th Dec 17, 12:07 AM
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    Red-Squirrel
    Can your wife wear incontinence pads or pants? There are several brands available, so she could find some that she is comfortable wearing. She may need them anyway, as she won't always have instant access to a toilet (when shopping, for example - not all shops have toilets, and even those that do, there may be a queue).

    Also, your wife should ask her doctor for an appointment with the continence service in your area. There may be help that your wife can access to help towards a resolution. I'm not saying that there is a quick fix, but presumably any medical help would be beneficial.
    Originally posted by kingfisherblue

    No continence nurse will advise somebody to use pads as an alternative to a toilet if they are not incontinent.

    The OP hasn't said why his wife needs easy access to a toilet, I suspect its more complicated than simple bladder urgency.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 10th Dec 17, 4:41 PM
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    Lungboy
    Does it matter?

    Whatever the answer tecnically in law the best outcome for your wife is to still work there in another role.

    The company do not have to look for anything else for her, they could just dismiss her, if you start demanding payment they are more likely to take that route.

    The best thing you can do is work with the company and give them a few weeks to see if they can find anything. In your shoes I would see what happens regarding pay and not even mention it.

    If you really can't afford to survive for a couple of weeks without payment of any kind you need to ask them but be aware if you come across as only interested in money then you might find they are not so helpful in finding alternative employement for your wife.

    Sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture and do what is most likely to get yourself a satifactory outcome.

    If they decide they can't find anything then your wife wont be geting payed anyway. By waiting you are just delaying claiming JSA for a few weeks.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    She absolutely wants to go back to work, to the same company if at all possible. There's no demanding going on, i was simply querying what her rights are. It turns out she has very few, unfortunately, but that's the way it goes sometimes. It's really not about the money, I just didn't want her gently ushered out of the door due to her illness if they didn't have the right to do that, but it seems they can so it's all moot.

    Personally, I think the OP is jumping the gun a bit here. His wife only had the meeting with HR two days ago during which she was asked to send them her CV so they could try and find her something else.

    They need to give HR some time to do just that before panicking unnecessarily.
    Originally posted by Cheeky_Monkey
    Oh absolutely, she loves the company and dearly wants to go back to work. There's no panic, I just like to know where she stands.

    Can your wife wear incontinence pads or pants? There are several brands available, so she could find some that she is comfortable wearing. She may need them anyway, as she won't always have instant access to a toilet (when shopping, for example - not all shops have toilets, and even those that do, there may be a queue).

    Also, your wife should ask her doctor for an appointment with the continence service in your area. There may be help that your wife can access to help towards a resolution. I'm not saying that there is a quick fix, but presumably any medical help would be beneficial.
    Originally posted by kingfisherblue
    No continence nurse will advise somebody to use pads as an alternative to a toilet if they are not incontinent.

    The OP hasn't said why his wife needs easy access to a toilet, I suspect its more complicated than simple bladder urgency.
    Originally posted by Red-Squirrel
    As Red-Squirrel surmises, it isn't a simple case of urinary incontinence, but something that might never come back or could appear again tomorrow, unexpectedly, and explosively. That's what makes it so hard for the company to deal with in her current post.
    Last edited by Lungboy; Yesterday at 4:44 PM.
    • sangie595
    • By sangie595 10th Dec 17, 4:48 PM
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    sangie595
    I can see that this is going to be a problem. But does she have any suggestions? Sometimes offering solutions is better than waiting for the employer to solve things.
    • Lungboy
    • By Lungboy 10th Dec 17, 6:29 PM
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    Lungboy
    She actually applied for another post at the company the day before her meeting with HR, so hopefully that will turn out to be OK.
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