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Request for time off - work oh assessment

I wonder if anyone can give some advice. Got my OH referral with work next week. OH is with a GP and I have given work a copy of the letter from my Neuro to my own GP saying that I am now diagnosed with ms. Not been off long term or actually had much time off in total, but, I have triggered the absence policy with a mixture of couple of days non ms sickness and two separate ms investigations requiring hospital appointments. We can claim a maximum of 3hrs for a hospital appointment, which means when I was in for the day for the lp and mri (combined) previously I had some sick leave as well. I think the OH referral though is more a case of routine now I have diagnosis (although it’s taken them 4 months since I told them) rather than assessing my fitness to work. Anyhow, I’ve just found out that I will shortly be invited to a MS Society newly diagnosed day. I asked my line manager where I stood with that, his reply is that I will have to take AL. I would prefer to take unpaid leave as with other things I can see my AL been gobbled up. I thought I would be able to request unpaid leave as a reasonable adjustment rather than having to take AL. I’m going to ask about what happens if I need time off for treatment as my workplace sickness policy is a little woolly in that respect. Any comments gratefully received. P.s I am aware of the equalities act and the fact you can ask for adjustments but not sure of details.

thanks in advance.

Chatterbox,

I think that “reasonable workplace adjustments” are designed to keep you employed and productive by adapting the workplace environment and conditions. Whilst I can understand your desire to manage your leave entitlement (and it might be a great adjustment) I can not see it as a hard rule. Therefore it depends on your relationship with your employer/line manager/HR/OH as to how flexible they will be.

IN MY OPINION AND BASED UPON MY EXPERIENCE BUT NO FORMAL KNOWLEDGE

Good luck

Mick

get in touch with Access to Work and they should be able to help you with your question.

Hello there, try looking at www.dls.org.uk - the MS Society retain a lawyer there, for things such as this. Good luck.

MS related time off is a reasonable adjustment and is covered by the Equalities Act and should not count towards the absence policy.

My former employer wrote off MS related absences and there were quite a few.

Excellent, I am glad to be wrong.

Mick

You need to find out for yourself what the position is regarding time off for treatment, time off due to m.s., reasonable adjustments etc. You must not assume that your employer is familiar with the Equalities Act and how it works. It may be that you have to fight for your rights. If a problem arises I’s consult a solicitor dealing with employment issues. Regards a day off to attend a course for the newly diagnosed. I don’t think it unreasonable for your employer to say you should take it from your AL.

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I got a written warning at work for MS related absence. My appeal failed despite the Equalities Act.

Thanks for all your comments. Some leads there for me to follow, which I will do. I’ve read all the relevant work polices, but come to the conclusion they are as clear as mud ( I.e keeps saying things like “at line managers discretion”).

chatterbox - you have to familiarise yourself with the Equalities Act - with the position regarding to absenteeism due to m.s. - with the way how ‘reasonable adjustments’ in the workplace should work etc. I don’t think ‘line-managers discretion’ is relevant - it doesn’t work like that. Your workplace need to be mindful of their legal obligations re disability - - if their policies are ‘as clear as mud’ it suggests they may not know what they are doing. Your employer is just that - he/she is not your friend - don’t assume they will see what is best for you and don’t assume they have your best interests at heart.

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I work for the NHS and I was diagnosed in Feb 2016 during a period of long term sickness. On my return to work (phased) I was put on sickness monitoring for a year from the date of my return.

I am allowed to take time off for any appointments related to my MS which is a reasonable adjustment.

I had time off again due to severe fatigue in Sept/Oct last year and i’ve been put on monitoring again - another year from the date of my return. According to policy any further periods of absence could result in ‘a letter of concern’.

According to the Equalities Act it ‘can’ be considered a reasonable adjustment to discount - or at least treat differently - periods of absence due to MS. I am currently fighting my corner (again) with regards to this. I feel strongly that periods of MS related sickness should not be used as a rod to beat you with. My absence record with the NHS over the last 14 years has been largely excellent. The powers that be must realise that I don’t throw sickies. I’ve had several letters of thanks for having 100% attendance over the previous year. My employers refuse to tell me what will happen if I have a further period of absence - the stock reply is “we will take your MS into account” This is less than helpful and i’m gonna battle for clarification.

I really want to stay at work if possible. I love my job and i’m scared of losing it.

Hope things work out for you. I work in the public sector as well, ironically for the last 14 years as well. Private for the previous 10 odd. I’ve seen several people at work over the last few years either Ieave through early I’ll health retirement or forced to leave on capability and they were all genuinely ill. I understand that an employer can’t support you for ever but it’s the stupid trigger system that gets me when you’ve been in hospital and literally only had a handful of days off. I know exactly the unease you feel. My MS nurse said that “ oh they all say that but they never do anything” in relation to the disciplinary action. But it’s not the point, you feel worried and they “could” do something and clearly have. Mind you my dad keeps telling me they have to tread carefully and in fairness to him I think he’s right, but it’s stressful. Good luck. At least we can get support here.

NanaJuls Good that you are making use of the Equalities Act which is in place to protect us. And good that you are making your employer aware that you have rights and are not willing to be pushed about. I don’t think it reasonable of you to ask your employer what they would do if you have another period of absence as it’s a hypothetical question - no way of knowing in advance how long you may be absent etc. Also your employer is probably not too sure how the Act works in practice so can’t give you a definite answer. As long as your employer knows you aren’t going to be pushed about - knows you know the way the Act works - and is aware that you’ll seek legal advice (disability solicitor) you’ll be o.k.!

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