return to work

im due a return to work interview chat tommorow with my boss and HR lady, my note runs out on 7th nov and states a phased 6 week return

to be honest i would rather be starting a new job somewhere else, but as they have held my job open for 14months i cant not go back.

problem is, how many hours is enough, copeable, and acceptable to them

they have never paid me sick pay, and ive been on ESA. so i need to ensure i do enough hours to cover what my ESA would pay.

HELP, any advice

I would think that the whole idea of a “chat” tomorrow will be to discuss what hours you think you can do. Be realistic - you won’t really know what hours you can do until you start.

You say you would rather be starting a new job? Are you looking for something else? There is no “have to” go back to your old job if you really don’t want to.

Hi Poppy

Congratulations on being well enough to return to work. I’ve not had to do a phased return but my hubby did. Here is what worked for him.

He completed a phased return over 4 weeks. The first day he basically turned up; cleared e-mails & left after a couple of hours. The rest of the week he went in mid-morning to mid-afternoon so it was broken by a half-hour lunch.

Week three he went all day but on alternate days so Monday/Wednesday/Friday.

Week four full-time (but did have agreement if too much he again could skip a day). He was fine & has been back without any issues since.

I’d try to keep it flexible so if you’re getting tired you can leave (especially to start with as you don’t know how you will be until you start).

Hope this helps.
Best of luck tomorrow

hi poppy

“problem is, how many hours is enough, copeable, and acceptable to them” - I would rephrase that, and ask yourself how much you can cope with?. You are far more important than a job.

Ask if you can return part-time if that is what YOU want. I know you have said you need to cover what you are with ESA, perhaps you could go back part time to make this amount up. I don’t know but it might be possible when you go back to work to qualify for tax credits which may help?

Ask what thier policy is ref working less hours, and go from there, but don’t feel pushed into working more hours long term than you feel capable of x

Hi Poppy
I was faced with the same problems when I returned to work after 13 months off…
My phased return only lasted 4 weeks as they pushed me to go back full time asap, what helped was going back in April and having loads of bank holidays!! The first week my plan was to do 5 days 9.30-2pm but by weds I was sooo tired I couldn’t do the rest of the week which didn’t go down well.
All I can say is do it slowly as I don’t think I believed people when they told me I would be very tired. Like you though I needed to earn as much as my ESA (my employers didn’t pay me sick pay either).
To be honest I have found the last 7 months back at work very difficult not helped by their uncaring attitude.
So I wish you luck and to always remember how important you are, that is something I have lost sight of on many occasions…
Fluffy xxxx

Hi Poppy,

Gosh, thank you for posting this. I am at the stage where I am thinking about return to work plans. Op was 6 weeks ago and one week out of 4 done of my RADS. I went into my doctor on Fri and she signed me off for 6 weeks which means it will run out 10 days after RADS end.

I find it really hard when the GP is asking me how much time off I think I’ll need. I just feel clueless. I don’t want to be off too long if I’m well but I am scared of returning too soon and ending up off sick and mucking up cover etc.

Aaargh! I totally understand how you feel.

Sorry, just joined in with a whinge there, nothing constructive lol! x

thanx all, thats all been really helpful. im going to go with a mini plan and see what they say, thanx all

crabit, my doctor signed me off 3 months at a time without question, think she could see i wasnt ready, its only now, 14 months on i feel ready to go back.

thanx all, thats all been really helpful. im going to go with a mini plan and see what they say, thanx all

crabit, my doctor signed me off 3 months at a time without question, think she could see i wasnt ready, its only now, 14 months on i feel ready to go back.

Hi Poppy
Just to remember that you are covered under the Equalities legislation and they should make “reasonable adjustment” for you - even if you feel you can’t do as much as you thought you could when you do get back. Good luck,

love Mo

Oooooh. I think this is going to be my downfall.
I work(ed) split shifts. All mornings and part evenings and it’s hard work. I’m sure i’ll go back to the evenings shift first, but i’m really needing the morning shift financially, but I don’t think I can physically do it. I know most of you are saying you can go back part time with changes made, but my line of work doesn’t allow for such changes. I had fours months off sick last year, and was phased back. Two weeks evenings…

No idea how to do this.

when are you due back elttiks

Signed off 'til 12th November, but haven’t started rads yet. They start this week and run 'til 20th November, but i’n not going to run back if you get my drift. Right now i’m off with cancer. If I cock up and have to go off again, say torn muscle etc, I won’t have a leg to stand on sick/work wise.

I am signed off until 16th of November but have last chemo on 23rd and then surgery before Christmas. I get short emails from work just asking for latest sick note. They never ask how I am. I guess I am the employee that every employer hopes they never get. And I can understand why. I wouldn’t want to employ me.

Hi Supertrouper

Don’t think that, it is for legal reasons. Basically they aren’t allowed to ask as it could be deemed that they are putting undue pressure on you. You can tell them what you want to about your treatment but they don’t have the right to ask as long as you have a Drs cert. I’m lucky my employer has made it quite clear they don’t expect me back for the foreseeable future and not to worry.

For all you ladies who aren’t getting sick pay this might be useful re holiday pay entitlement, it’s from the Law Society website:

If you’ve any queries contact ACAS or your local CAB.

Best wishes

"5.3 Accrual of holiday during sickness absence

Statutory holiday entitlement under the WTR 1998 continues to accrue during sick leave.

You must allow workers to take annual leave during a period of sick leave, if they wish to do so. They can choose to take and be paid for annual leave while off sick, which may be an attractive option if sick pay has expired, or they can choose to take the leave at a later date when they return to work.

The choice does not rest with the employer, who cannot compel the employee to use or delay their annual leave.

However, if it has not been taken by the worker while off sick, you must allow a worker who has been on sick leave to take his or her accrued holiday entitlement upon returning to work, provided it is taken in the same leave year. If it is unable to be taken in the same leave year, the position on whether it can be carried over into a subsequent leave year is unclear.

If the worker returns to work and cannot take his full holiday entitlement during the leave year, then, as the Regulations currently stand, the worker is not entitled to carry over any outstanding statutory annual leave, as the Regulations prevent annual leave being carried over.

However, the ECJ ruled in Pereda v Madrid Movilidad (Case C-277/08), that a worker who is unable to, or does not wish to, take annual leave during sick leave, must be allowed to take his holiday entitlement upon his return to work. This can be at a mutually convenient time for worker and employer but must happen even if it means that the holiday entitlement is carried over into the next leave year.

Currently, as the right to carry over holiday entitlement is contrary to the Regulations, this aspect of the Pereda decision only applies to workers who are employed by the public sector. Even though a tribunal must seek to interpret domestic regulations which implement EU Directives in accordance with those Directives, it would be difficult for a tribunal to make the necessary changes.

Therefore, the only remedy for workers in the private sector is to bring a Francovitch type claim against the UK government for their failure properly to implement the Working Time Directive."

Me got big probs too, when I go back. Can’t do part-time permanently (been asking for 2 years) for Operational Reasons. I checked legally and they can use that as a reason.
My workplace is physically very strenuous to actually arrive at; city centre / no on-site parking, so I have a long walk to get there and many flights of stairs to get to specific location - no lift.
So, ATM, I just can’t see how I can actually Get There.

Cannot afford to stop work. Sick pay ran out ages ago and struggling financially now.

Overall, really, really worried. I know from past pleas for help that employer is not supportive at all.

Interesting post, L4W, I have now got 4 weeks’ holiday ‘stored’ and my holiday year finishes soon. I was hoping to carry it forward so it can be used to help my return if they don’t “phase” it enough. Could I lose the pay? I am afraid to ask in case I give them any ideas. If I *AM* going to lose it, why the hell didn’t they pay me that instead of me having no pay?!!

Hi Ninja

I think you’ll have to ask if they’ll let you carry it over and if not you could ask them to pay it now. Give ACAS a ring 08457 47 47 47 so you know your rights before you contact them and remember that having cancer automatically classes you as disabled so we have the added protection of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Hope it helps

Thanks, L4W, ACAS has advised (after much requesting, they initially didn’t say much at all!) me of a wording to use with my employer.

Hello Ninja,
If you ask your employer if you can take your holidays before the end of the holiday year there shouldn’t be a problem. You should definitely be paid full pay for them. As for carrying them over to next holiday year - the bottom line is you shouldn’t lose your holidays for being off sick, the fact that cancer is classed as a disability means to refuse to carry over the holidays could well be disability discrimination (v. little by way of case law, but not many employers would want to be the test case).
I would also suggest putting any holiday requests by email, that way you have a copy of all correspondence. If the employer says no, then you might want to raise the question of the equalities act and also ring ACAS. You could also suggest your employer contacts ACAS for guidance on this.
Best of luck

Hi B Bee.

ACAS said that if I don’t use them, then legally, I’ll lose the entitlement to them. She suggested signing off the sick (I’m 2 weeks post major surgery FFS!) and ask to be paid the hol, then go back on sick. That is SO NOT an option I’m taking.

“I would also suggest putting any holiday requests by email”
All my communication with work is via email with an unknown-to-me person at head office. There are no other avenues open to me, apart from friendly text chats with my workers who have been great. Line Manager has not been seen / heard of by me for 6 months.