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Understanding Managers....Not!!!!!

Just got to rant somewhere, so please forgive me, and thats before i start!!!

I work for what is supposed to be a caring professsion, yes caring for the clientelle, but certainly not its staff.

I was diagnosed with RRMS in April this year, after being ill since June last year.I have understandably been off work several times due to this, 2episodes of long term sick, and then 3 episodes of odd days (all linked to MS, apart from one of the odd days sickness).

Anyway, basically due to the 3 episodes of short term sick, i have triggered on the sickness/absence policy, and therefore had to have a meeting with HR, and my Line Manager. I took along my Union Rep, who was absolutley fantastic and luckily for me, has a fantastic knowledge of MS.

This meeting was an absolute joke, as HR, are not wanting to budge with dismissing any sickness that is linked to MS, and classing it as Disability leave. I am fully aware that the moment you are diagnosed, you are classed as Disabled and covered under the Equality Act 2010. Even though we have said that by putting me on to stage 1 of the Sickness Policy, they are in fact putting me at an unfair advantage. This is because i am likely to be off again in the 3 months that i am on this stage, where as a person without MS, follows the same path but unlikely to be off again in that 3 months.

The one thing i have failed to mention is that i have recently started on DMD’s, so as yet i do not know how i am going to be on this medication. i pointed this out in the meeting, but neither of them seemed interested.

The meeting was called to a holt, and rearranged for this next Tuesday(which i am dreading), as i don’t think HR had done their homework, and felt out of their depth.

They are aware of the fact that they have to offer reasonable adjustments, and asked if i would like to reduce my hours, but at the moment i do not feel that i need to, although i did tell them that when i thought i would need that, that i would inform them straight away.

I just feel so stressed about it all, and not to mention that i have woke up this morning and can barely walk due to fatigue and terrible heavy aching legs. But i must go to work, as i thtink to phone in sick now before the meeting would just exasperate the ongoing problems i seem to be having with my what seems to be uncaring, inconsiderate employers!!!

Anyone with any similiar experiences that could offer any advice please?

Hi Rosie

No wonder you are stressed! The following leaflet by the MS Society could be really useful both for you and your employer. It would be unfair dismissal if they tried to use your sick leave as a reason to dismiss you so try not to worry about that aspect of it. The booklet makes that quite clear so they might reconsider when they have seen it. They don’t have to class it as disability leave but they still can’t use it against you.

http://www.mssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/Documents/Essentials/Work-and-MS-Dec-10.pdf

On the whole I do have understanding employers but I did have a very difficult line manager. We had a few ‘disagreements’ and I basically issued an ultimatum higher up and told them to get me out of her department. They did and now I have a much better line manager who is empathetic and offers practical help when it is needed but understands my need to keep working.

I hope things calm down for you soon. Your employers need to realise that shortly after diagnosis is very stressful and is also when MS is often at its most active. The stress won’t be helping at all so they need to be a bit more understanding. The HR guy where I work was really understanding and told me that we would see how things turned out and it did, indeed, calm down for me sometime later. The first year after dx was incredibly hard and without a big of give and take it would have been much more stressful. Again this year, I’ve had to change drugs but work has paid me for all my hospital appointments so I’ve a lot to be grateful for. All I need now is a decent pay rise from local government but that’s a different management and a different grumble …

Tracey x

My guess is HR called a halt because they’re unsure where they stand legally.

You have to get yourself gennedup on your rights. The law is on your side - you have to make HR aware that you are not going to be pushed about.

There are solicitors who specialise in the area of disability and employment. A friend with a disibility (not m.s.) was being badly treated at his work - went to a solicitor who wrote to the Managing Director of the company he worked for. Solicitor explained to the MD his clients rights - mentioned constructive dismissal - friend has had no roblems since!)

I recently handed in my notice as in reality I was unable to do my job to the best of my ability. As Zetland says try get all the info you can and also keep in contact with your Union rep. Try not to feel you HAVE to go into work if you are poorly just to please them. I hope you don’t end up throwing the towel in too early tough like I have done because I didn’t have the strength to fight my corner. People on here are so knowledgable and know their onions. Your health and well being comes first so take care of YOU from every aspect xx Michelle x

typo tough should be though

Hi Rosie, my goodness, when I read your post I thought it was about me!! I too was diagnosed in April and have been off work since last September. I’m currently back on the redeployment list after trialing an administration post which didn’t work out. My worry is I’ve been told I’ll only be on the list for redeployment until 18th of this month. What happens then, I don’t know. I’m scared and stressed. My ms nurse talked about me taking ill health retirement but I’m worried that the whole process will be a long, drawn out affair, leaving me with barely any income to pay my mortgage, bills, debts and the upkeep of my daughter. This is a frightening time and I don’t know where to turn :frowning:

Vinny Girl and Rosie it’s a cr*p time knowing what to do work wise. Hold tight and am sure plenty of people will come along with sound advice x

Recent Meeting Update!!!

Wht an absolute wate of time that was…baically they have done their homework, and want to offer diddly squit!

My options are:-

1, work annualised hours, sight problem there…i’m already shattered working the hours i work, so their idea of working more hours when i’m well won’t really work. i already work 30hours, so to work more, i’d be on my hands and knees. Apparently, this would enable me to build up credit hours, so that instead of phoning in sick, i could use some of my credit hours.

2, Buy a couple of weeks extra Annual Leave, and use this as a buffer, so that when i’m not fit to go into work, i can use a weeks Annual Leave. The problems with this that i can see is…what happens if i need to be off longer than a week? as in my experience, a relapse usually lasts longer than a week. And secondly, why sould i have to pay for extra weeks annual leave and pay to be off sick? In my opinion, Annual Leave is for enjoying pleasurable things, and anything to do with MS, certainly aint pleasurable.

  1. The final option is to reduce my hours, as they think that will reduce my sick time!!! regardless of wether i work 10 hours or 30 hours, during a relapse i wouldn’t be able to go into work!!!

I left the meeting in tears, totally stressed out, after been put on Stage 1 of the Sickness policy, which means that i cannot be off again in the next 6 months…how on earth can i predict that? and if i am i will be put on stage 2. This all stems from having 3 really short episodes of sickness, 2 of which were MS related. The 2 long term episodes were never mentioned as Long Term sickness is managed differently apparently!!!

Sorry for the long post, but where is thesupport for Disabled Workers?

That sounds like they are not being at all fair. Can you get legal advice through your union? If so, it would be worth finding out what your rights are and what an expert makes of it sll.

Good luck.