Can my workplace do this to me?

Hi all,

During the last 2 years of having a concrete diagnosis I have had hardly any time off sick, just average to everyone else, even less than some people however, I was off a few weeks ago for 3 days with sciatica, this morning i rang in sick because i feel really unwell with fatigue and pains in my arms and legs. My manager asked me if it was to do with my ms, when i said it was she said ’ oh dear, you seem to be having a lot of time off recently, we are going to have to review your hours.’ Their problem is that i am the only person who does my job, they are going to have to get someone else in if i am going to be off for any significant time, they cant employ anyone else because there isnt enough work for another person so they obviously want me to reduce my hours so that they can employ someone. I am at my wits end because i cant afford to reduce my hours, it would be a disaster with having a morgage and no insurance. i need to keep working and 99.9% of the time i am able to.

to date this year i have had 5 days off sick including today. I am getting mega stressed about this now and i dont know which way to turn. I feel too ill to go to CAB and the websites that explain my rights are too complicated for me to deal with at the moment, my brain feels like mashed potato.,incidentally all my hospital and physio appointments i have to make the time up or take as sick. i have always made the time up so that hasnt been a problem. We dont have Occ Health at my workplace.

Lastly, I work in a NHS Health Centre (


Do you have the number for your local CAB as i am fairly sure they do a telephone consultation. Also your HR dept or if you are in the union. My union and CAB have been very helpful even being a limbo lander.

The rule at my work is 3 sicknesses in 12 months and they can start proceedings etc. Might be worth

finding out your contract rules.

I hope you can get it sorted Sonia x

p.s hope you feel better soon x

Hi darling,

Yes they can reduce your hours on the pretence of doing it for your health.

On saying that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Contact Access to Work and ask about them employing a helper worker. This would scupper any thoughts they have as that worker can fill in whenever and is paid by AtW not your employers.

Good luck


Yes George, I have a sneaky suspicion they are trying to phase me out before the going gets really tough. The first thing my manager said when i was diagnosed ‘you will be thinking about early retirement then’. Strange how they have never get anyone in to cover for me when i am on annual leave-i have double the work to catch up on…when or if i go back tomorrow i will have todays work to catch up on. Stressful or what! Just proves that working within the NHS private sector you dont get any perks!

Excellent advice, just looked on the website, thankyou


Do you have access to the Occupational Health within the NHS elsewhere? They will be able to explain everything. We here have a very good consultant who is a campaigner! I self referred recently to assist in redefining my work load as a nurse/trainer to build it more towards the training aspect. Although my line manager knows all about my MS and have had only one day off since June 2011, the consultant still added on the bottom of the letter he sent:

“Multiple sclerosis is automatically considered a disability under the provisions of the Equality Act. You therefore need to consider reasonable adjustments in order to facilitate his work”. This includes time off for hospital appointments (same as pregnancy)

So they really can only reduce your hours either on your sayso, or the role/job description has changed or if they think they are acting with your health as a priority (check this last one though). It may be that they can suggest part sharing your paticular role but then giving your other hours to another department (the way secretaries sometimes work) Just shooting the breeze with these ideas!

As Sonic says, check the sickness policy as well to see what level of sickness causes a meeting and review. Best Wishes

Thankyou Sonic and thankyou VinceA.

Reading your comments has been helpful, it’s obviously not an open and shut case as I feared, things don’t look so bleak…