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  • FIRST POST
    • TyreLever
    • By TyreLever 12th Mar 18, 3:45 AM
    • 197Posts
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    TyreLever
    Can people really take time off work for "stress"?
    • #1
    • 12th Mar 18, 3:45 AM
    Can people really take time off work for "stress"? 12th Mar 18 at 3:45 AM
    Work is naturally stressful and I hear of people taking time off work for stress. Stress alone doesnt sound like a valid reason, if I phoned in work and said I wouldnt be in because I feel stressed, I know where I'd be told to get off (the jobcentre). How do people get long term sick pay for stress? Is our nation becoming intolerably weak?
    Sometimes my advice may not be great, but I'm not perfect and I do try my best. Please take this into account.
Page 1
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 12th Mar 18, 7:31 AM
    • 5,013 Posts
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    TELLIT01
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 7:31 AM
    • #2
    • 12th Mar 18, 7:31 AM
    Yes there is often a level of pressure at work, call it stress if you like. There is a difference between having a challenging but manageable workload, and one where targets are impossible to meet. It's the stress created in the latter situation which can result in staff being off with 'stress'.
    One person I worked with was a very good worker and something of a perfectionist. They wanted to do the job right, not chuck stuff onto the system in order to meet an otherwise unachievable target. They were disciplined for failing to hit the target shortly after being disciplined for errors in their work. A no-win situation.
    They were signed off and when they tried to return to work were literally physically sick as they approached the office building. That is genuine stress.
    • tizerbelle
    • By tizerbelle 12th Mar 18, 8:24 AM
    • 1,485 Posts
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    tizerbelle
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 8:24 AM
    • #3
    • 12th Mar 18, 8:24 AM
    Different people react to stress in different ways - some thrive on it, some fail. What is stressful for one person is a walk in the park for another. But like depression, stress has become a trendy ailment - they are the bad backs of the current era. Low mood or having a bad day is not depression, feeling busy or pressured is not stress. But we have a culture of dramatization and exaggeration and some people claim depression/stress when its nothing of the kind because they can and it makes life more difficult for those genuinely battling a life with depression / stress.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 12th Mar 18, 8:38 AM
    • 6,153 Posts
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    bugslet
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 8:38 AM
    • #4
    • 12th Mar 18, 8:38 AM
    IIRC tyre lever, you are a forkie? Used to be one myself for five years, none of this easy RDC stuff of lifting off racking and running into a trailer off the back of a bay, I was loading trailers and containers with no ramp, no bay, all handball. Which sadly, I actually liked That was hard work, but it wasn't stress.

    Spool forward and running my own business, I can't take time off with stress, but I can see how it could happen, there have been times when things have been pretty bleak. And now that I deal with management at customers premises, some of the stuff they deal with, and their workload is silly. I think it's the relentless pressure to be 'on' all the time and to find 'solutions', when there aren't any to be found, or the solution is pretty unpalatable.
    • TELLIT01
    • By TELLIT01 12th Mar 18, 9:21 AM
    • 5,013 Posts
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    TELLIT01
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 9:21 AM
    • #5
    • 12th Mar 18, 9:21 AM
    Different people react to stress in different ways - some thrive on it, some fail. What is stressful for one person is a walk in the park for another. But like depression, stress has become a trendy ailment - they are the bad backs of the current era. Low mood or having a bad day is not depression, feeling busy or pressured is not stress. But we have a culture of dramatization and exaggeration and some people claim depression/stress when its nothing of the kind because they can and it makes life more difficult for those genuinely battling a life with depression / stress.
    Originally posted by tizerbelle
    Agree totally tizerbelle. I think you've summed the current situation up beautifully. It's like people claiming to be traumatised because the latest Boy Band has broken up! There are people genuinely suffering from depression, stress, PTSD etc who are getting lumped in with the 'snowflakes'.
    • Cheeky_Monkey
    • By Cheeky_Monkey 12th Mar 18, 9:57 AM
    • 1,691 Posts
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    Cheeky_Monkey
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 9:57 AM
    • #6
    • 12th Mar 18, 9:57 AM
    I totally agree with tizerbelle. I've been saying for years now that depression/anxiety/stress has become the new 'bad back' because it's so easy to fake (not that everyone does of course).
    I used to be indecisive - now I'm not so sure
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 12th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    • 6,570 Posts
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    TBagpuss
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    • #7
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:05 AM
    Stress is a genuine medical condition so yes, like any other medical condition, it can result in people needing time of work.
    Mental health issues are often not taken as seriously as physical health issues and I think that those who haven't ever experienced them are often dismissive.

    There is a difference between the normal stress of daily life, and stress as an illness

    Of course, as with any other health issue, there will always be a minority of people who abuse the system and claim to be ill when they are not.
    • af273
    • By af273 12th Mar 18, 10:25 AM
    • 39 Posts
    • 66 Thanks
    af273
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:25 AM
    • #8
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:25 AM
    I had other psychiatric problems but didn't want to disclose exactly what to my boss so I asked she write 'stress' on my sick lines. You might not know what is fully wrong with someone.

    Its because of an attitude like yours where genuinely struggling people feel they shouldn't get help, that they carry on till they drop rather than nip something in the bud early, then worse problems won't develop.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 12th Mar 18, 10:41 AM
    • 6,153 Posts
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    bugslet
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:41 AM
    • #9
    • 12th Mar 18, 10:41 AM
    I had other psychiatric problems but didn't want to disclose exactly what to my boss so I asked she write 'stress' on my sick lines. You might not know what is fully wrong with someone.

    Its because of an attitude like yours where genuinely struggling people feel they shouldn't get help, that they carry on till they drop rather than nip something in the bud early, then worse problems won't develop.
    Originally posted by af273
    I think af, people develop 'hard' attitudes to stress because it can and is abused.

    I've seen people with genuine stress that have really suffered because of it and I've seen people swing the lead to get a few weeks off. Lots of sympathy with the first group that should have, as you say, tackled it earlier and not felt that they should carry on to the detriment of their health, but it is the lead swingers that cause the attitudes.
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 12th Mar 18, 10:49 AM
    • 1,586 Posts
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    BorisThomson
    I think af, people develop 'hard' attitudes to stress because it can and is abused.

    I've seen people with genuine stress that have really suffered because of it and I've seen people swing the lead to get a few weeks off. Lots of sympathy with the first group that should have, as you say, tackled it earlier and not felt that they should carry on to the detriment of their health, but it is the lead swingers that cause the attitudes.
    Originally posted by bugslet
    But we shouldn't judge a majority on the actions of a minority.

    It's the poor attitude to stress that stops people asking for help, that stops them asking for a reduced workload or more training before they become too ill to do anything.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 12th Mar 18, 11:15 AM
    • 3,184 Posts
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    Smodlet
    To the cynics who think all who suffer from stress-related illnesses are "swinging the lead", try if you can to picture the following scenario:

    You are in a customer facing role in a technical or complicated (you don't think benefits legislation is technical or complicated?) environment, though you are given absolutely no technical training yourself. Everyone who could help is too busy swimming against the tide themselves. There is absolutely no team spirit because this is a sick system (google it) and everyone's prime concern is covering their own back.

    You receive pressure from customers to deliver what they have allegedly or actually been promised (a giro, a circuit, could be anything) within a time frame you know is impossible. You tell them it cannot be done and try to give them an idea when they might expect what they have been "promised". They spit the dummy and you get the fall-out. They complain to your manager who, far from giving you any support, dumps on you some more for being unable to do what they know (or should know) is impossible.

    Rinse and repeat indefinitely. As time goes on, of course you acquire more knowledge... Which serves only to show you that things are even less possible, let alone reasonable, than you thought. You know beyond a shadow of a doubt nothing will ever change. Every day you are told you are useless in a variety of ways. You have this dim memory of a time when you knew this was not true but the more you hear something, especially a constant barrage of negativity, the easier it is to believe.

    Eventually, this constant exposure to a toxic environment manifests itself as a physical reaction, often vomiting; you are literally being poisoned. You realise your only hope of survival is to leave the mental cess pool you have been drowning in, whatever the consequences.

    If that is your definition of weakness, I sincerely hope you have to work over a decade in a dole office then five years at the lowest level in telecoms. Get a clue!
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 12th Mar 18, 11:19 AM
    • 6,153 Posts
    • 29,607 Thanks
    bugslet
    But we shouldn't judge a majority on the actions of a minority.

    It's the poor attitude to stress that stops people asking for help, that stops them asking for a reduced workload or more training before they become too ill to do anything.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    I didn't mean to suggest that anyone should judge anyone on the actions of a few, but human nature being what it is, that is what happens.

    And it depends a lot on the experience you have; if you have only seen one person off with stress and that was because they fancied a couple of weeks off, then it's difficult to equate the very real effects - sometimes long term - to their personal experience.

    The reverse is af, who naturally feels that s/he is being doubted at best and called a liar at worst, because their personal experience tells them that stress is debilitating and it was most definitely not an excuse.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 12th Mar 18, 11:22 AM
    • 6,153 Posts
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    bugslet
    @smodlet - I know I couldn't do that job - I'd be out within a month.
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 12th Mar 18, 11:30 AM
    • 3,184 Posts
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    Smodlet
    Bugslet, I think
    But I don't wanna kno-ow for sure.

    Thank you. I love your posts and cannot remember a time I have disagreed with you but I think we could and still be
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • Les79
    • By Les79 12th Mar 18, 11:39 AM
    • 259 Posts
    • 321 Thanks
    Les79
    They were signed off and when they tried to return to work were literally physically sick as they approached the office building. That is genuine stress.
    Originally posted by TELLIT01
    Yea, one of my previous employers got to me like that...

    Top and bottom of it, I did exceptionally well in a new job role (on my own) and got absolutely no feedback/promotion/raise/support. In fact, I recall a meeting with the boss just before I signed off in which he said that the success was due to HIM putting money into the business, and not ME signle-handedly driving the frontline changes!! I also got threatened because I asked for a payrise and queried why a lazy employee was getting paid £100 more a month than me. Apparently I was the criminal because the employee had told me about his pay!

    Have to add that they had zero consideration for my workload which was keeping the new project going, so they were more than happy to "assume" that I wasn't busy and dumped reports onto me which the aforementioned £100 extra a month guy didn't want to do.

    Also, this new role was exceptionally lonely; I should have had a team of 3 people but it was just me doing the workload of 3. Add to the fact that the role involved stepping on the toes of middle management, and I had to deal with a lot of funny business from them. Its fine for the first few months when setting up, but there was just nothing in the way of support for me.

    Got to the point where I was feeling physically sick on shift and had nobody to speak to. I had a panic attack at one point as well because of how the boss spoke to me (I think the phrase "well, there are plenty of people ready and willing to take your place" came up). So I signed off sick for a few weeks and put in a request to change job roles.

    Here's the icing on the cake, and pretty much sums up that employer, but they tried to withhold my sick pay!! Even though I followed the sick process by the book! So I had added stress when I got back, having to spend lunch breaks speaking to my boss as well as solicitors. Eventually got sorted out.
    Last edited by Les79; 12-03-2018 at 11:53 AM.
    • bugslet
    • By bugslet 12th Mar 18, 11:57 AM
    • 6,153 Posts
    • 29,607 Thanks
    bugslet
    Bugslet, I think
    But I don't wanna kno-ow for sure.

    Thank you. I love your posts and cannot remember a time I have disagreed with you but I think we could and still be
    Originally posted by Smodlet
    Smodlet, I think it's time for a dodgy group hug

    I find there's a couple of people on here I sometimes agree with and sometimes don't, but as long as people remain polite, then all is good with me.
    • Diamandis
    • By Diamandis 12th Mar 18, 12:03 PM
    • 264 Posts
    • 428 Thanks
    Diamandis
    You've also got to consider what's going on in their life outside of work. I've had people signed off for stress who are being evicted, because their family members are in hospital dying, money problems and carers responsibilities. Sometimes when so much is going on outside work dealing with stress at work is impossible. I'm glad you've never experienced stress that's prevented you from working.
    • riotlady
    • By riotlady 12th Mar 18, 12:23 PM
    • 100 Posts
    • 231 Thanks
    riotlady
    Absolutely it's a real thing. My mum has always been an insanely hard worker- she graduated university at 20, has worked in finance doing 50+ hour weeks her whole life (and loved it), never takes a day off ill- but one of her jobs didn't replace someone who had left, so she was trying to do the work of 2 people at once and ended up signed off for 3 weeks with stress. It's not just "ooh, I feel a bit tense", it's headaches, stomach problems, panic attacks, not being able to sleep.

    I used to work in a school and saw it a lot with teachers too- I think people who care about their work are more susceptible because in addition to the pressures of the job, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to get it all done to a high standard.
    Make £2018 in 2018 challenge-
    £509/£2018
    • keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    • By keepcalmandstayoutofdebt 12th Mar 18, 1:59 PM
    • 3,236 Posts
    • 1,697 Thanks
    keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    Work is naturally stressful and I hear of people taking time off work for stress. Stress alone doesnt sound like a valid reason, if I phoned in work and said I wouldnt be in because I feel stressed, I know where I'd be told to get off (the jobcentre). How do people get long term sick pay for stress? Is our nation becoming intolerably weak?
    Originally posted by TyreLever
    Or perhaps youíve had a good boss who grants you holiday leave whenever itís asked for?

    I currently canít book any leave (not the first job is has happened in) but funny old thing my bosses are alright to book their leave off.
    "If you are caught in a rainstorm, once you accept that you'll receive a soaking, the only thing left to do is enjoy the walk"
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 12th Mar 18, 3:38 PM
    • 3,184 Posts
    • 6,302 Thanks
    Smodlet
    Or perhaps you!!!8217;ve had a good boss who grants you holiday leave whenever it!!!8217;s asked for?

    I currently can!!!8217;t book any leave (not the first job is has happened in) but funny old thing my bosses are alright to book their leave off.
    Originally posted by keepcalmandstayoutofdebt
    Or perhaps, TyreLever, you have been so privileged as to work for bosses who actually know your job; how to do it, the pressures and limitations therein and, most importantly, how it feels to be in your postion. In short, maybe your employer(s) actually give a t0$$.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
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