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Welfare Meeting

This is my eighth week on sick leave and today I have my first welfare meeting. I work within a small team and they know my situation. They also know that barring a miracle I will not return to work. I have worked for the same employer for almost 32 years and in all that time I have only had six instances of sick leave although two of them were for six weeks each, one for nine months and this which will be my final one. My reason for posting this is that I have a feeling they are going to fast track my sick retirement or dismissal on capability (I’m not tempting fate by assuming sick retirement) Is it wrong of me to want the six months sick on full pay then the six months on half pay? I think after all these years with very little sick leave I’m not too greedy to think this way. At the same time the sooner they do it the sooner I will know the financial situation I will have to deal with and the sooner I can get my claim in for any benefits I may be entitled to. Apologies to those who do not receive sick pay from their employers. I know I should be grateful to receive anything. Jan x

Hope it all pans out for you Jan. I have or was self employed and my benefits now resemble what I was actually earning about twenty years ago but hey ho I don’t want for anything and I definitely ain’t starving.

Good luck. Don

Hi Jan,

Actually, sick pay is the law - although I agree it does not have to be as generous as yours apparently is. No, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to serve out your time on full pay and half pay - but will you be entitled to a pension?

It’s unlikely any pension will replicate full earnings (unless you are one of the few who still have a final salary scheme), but would it be better than half? If so, it could be very finely balanced whether you’d be materially better off hanging on, or just retiring ASAP.

Obviously, if you do want to stay on, “on the sick”, you’re going to have to find a more subtle and convincing case than just trying to milk them for everything before you leave.

I think you would have to try to convince them that, whilst it’s not looking promising, you have not altogether given up hope of some recovery, and you do want to be sure you’re not acting hastily, and giving up before you’ve explored every last chance. That’s a much more diplomatic approach than saying: “I’ve worked here a long time, aren’t I entitled?” I think their argument would be that the purpose of extended sick leave is to hold open the opportunity to return to work, if and when it becomes possible. But if you concede it will NEVER be possible, what’s the point of keeping you on the sick?

So, however unlikely you may feel it is, I think you need to proceed on the basis that you haven’t totally ruled out the possibility, and are still hoping for an improvement in your health. You could emphasise how unpredictable MS is, and that whilst recovery may seem unlikely at this point, neither you nor anyone else can say for sure there won’t be any - you don’t want to jump the gun.

Tina

x

Hi Jan Sadly bills and costs don’t go away even when we need them to. Nor does our concern for our financial future and any implications as to how and where we live. I was fortunate to receive 6 months sick pay, to the day, and this was a blessing and a worry as I waited for the decision as to whether I would receive early retirement or not. Personally I have adapted to my new income and perhaps a few less months worry and stress would have been preferable. I hope that between you and your employer you are able to come to an agreement that works for you both and recognises your long service. Andy

Thank for the replies. Don I hope I can replicate your attitude to life it’s always nice to see a smiley face. Tina I think perhaps you misunderstand me I don’t want to “milk them for everything” I have been struggling to continue with my job for quite a while and now I have accepted I can no longer continue I have informed them of this and the speed of my retirement is in their hands. Of course financial matters are on my mind, perhaps in a years time I will say “oh if only I had waited” or “I’m glad it happened quick” but to be honest I’m happy let things take their course. What will be will be isn’t everyone’s motto but while I try to plan for the future and make informed decisions I accept that I can’t control everything and I trust my employers to treat me the way I have treated (grammar check) them over the years. Only time will tell. Andy I think the decision over whether I get my pension early or not will be the defining factor on when I am officially finished. I’m keeping my fingers well and truly crossed. Meeting is at 4.40, it will prob be to set the ball in motion of an assessment from the “works Dr” Jan x

Andy I may have misunderstood you say early retirement for meaning you got a pension early if so apologies…I have money on the brain lately !!! Jan

Hi

I worked for a local council for 28yrs and it was a standing joke that I was one of the fastes retirment ever.

Within 2 weeks of me handing in my sick note I was at the firms doctor.

Very nice man, told me he would have no problem confirming my elegability for retirment but he advised me to run out my 6 month sick pay and 6 months half pay.

I actualy went after 9 months, it was convenient a date for me.

So don’t feel guilty about being on sick after all you are entitled to it and it’s not as though you are skiving you have MS.

Have a good retirement.

Ronin.

Ha that’s got to be a national record. They are doing quite a few meetings this afternoon, I know two of the others and they have been sick for much longer than me, I also know that’s its a question of setting aside time to do the meetings, so had I missed this session then I might have waited another month for another lot to be organised. Jan.

Jan,

Perhaps the phrase “milking it” was inappropriate, but I am looking at it from how they will see it! If you admit you are NEVER coming back, yet still expect to get paid for another year for sitting at home, they will certainly see it as expecting something for nothing.

To show it is worth their investment to carry on paying you, you have to keep open the possibility that you might be able to return at some point. How much you need or feel you deserve the money will not be a consideration, from their point of view. Their only question will be: “Why would we keep paying someone, if there’s not the slightest chance of them coming back?”

If you don’t mind taking fast-track retirement, if that’s what’s on offer, then fine. However, if you would like to maintain the sickness payments for as long as practicable (nothing wrong with that, IMO), then you need to present the case that there remains a possibility - however slight - that you may improve enough to return. Naturally they are unlikely to hold your job open for another year - first at full pay, then half - if it’s mutually accepted there is no chance you’ll return. I’m just advising you how to proceed if you do want to try for the money. You would have to “play up” prospects of a return, because if you both agree it’s impossible, what is their reason to keep paying? Obviously they would want to reach a settlement as soon as possible.

As an aside, there have been cases where people have unexpectedly felt better after quite a long time, so it may be a real consideration - not just hypothetical. If you go with the flow, and let them terminate your employment under the capability procedure, would you regret it if you felt better in six months, and wish you had resisted it more? Or would you feel relieved to have ended the stress of work, no matter what?

Tina

I was a teacher and was entitled to 6 monthfull and 6 months half pay. I was granted ill health retirement, I didn’t need to do anything, my pension just came in to effect the day after that entitlement had run out. It was the january that my pension was agreed and May before it began to be paid.You might find that’s the way yours works too.

Sarah x

No need for apologies! I retired from teaching too, and part of the stress was knowing which if any level of finances I would get. If it was the lower band, or none, then my wife would have to work full time and we might have to move. This would mean a job change for her and have implications for our children in the holidays. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and I was able to become a house husband of sorts. Now I have coffees out and lunches out…all in return for some cooking and dusting!

Tina In all honesty I couldn’t present a case that I may be able to return at some point because I don’t believe I will. I do accept your point that some people do unexpectedly feel better when they fully believed they wouldn’t. My immediate manager will be at the meeting, I have been totally honest with her and she knows me well enough to know I wouldn’t deceive them to try to gain longer time on sick pay, having said that I wouldn’t turn it down if I am offered it. I am happy to go with the flow while I think I will be treat fairly, if at any point I feel I am not being treat fairly then I will get as proactive as is necessary. Thank you for taking the time to reply I think I could have worded my original post differently, I just expected a “yes you’re a greedy mare” or “no you’re entitled to it” :slight_smile: Sarah my department try to hurry things along where possible it helps with the sickness stats!! Having said that it all takes time so even if they do fast track me it’ll still be at least a few months. Andy I want to be a lady who lunches problem is my friends work :slight_smile: Jan x

H Jan, I took IHR in 2000.

I was on the sick for 8 months.I did expect to go on half pay after 6 months, but it didnt happen. I kept ringing the wages office to check no mistaks were made and they assured me the pay I was getting was right. It was far more than I thought I would get.

At the 8th month oint, personnel and my manager came to my house. They told me there were no suitable vacancies fr me, and they gave me the option of finishing there nd then, or waiting for the 12th month to see if any other vacancies would become available. I chose the first option, as I knew I wouldnt be returning to work and wanted to end the anxiety of it all.

I got my lump sum and small pension shortly afterwards.

Good luck for your future hun.

pollx

you study all the options and do what is best for you.

[quote=“zetland”]

you study all the options and do what is best for you.

[/quote] Yeah you’re right, the thing is I don’t feel as though I have any options, I can no longer do my job so I can’t opt to stay…sorry feeling very deflated after the meeting, I guess it just brought home to me the reality of my situation. I’ll snap out of it. Anyway I will be assessed by the Pension Dr he will then decide which tier I will receive my pension on based on if I will ever be able to do my job again. There are three levels, level one basically means nothing before normal retirement age, two is a 25% reduction of full pension and three is full pension made up to what you would have received had you worked till normal retirement age. They will get me a pension forecast so I know the figures. That is roughly what was said but if I don’t write it down I forget, doesn’t take much to confuse me these days! They will send me a letter with the main points of discussion. Feeling a bit down but I’ll bounce back. Jan x

so now you need to find what criterions (criterii?) are used to decide what level of pension someone gets.

If the Dr used by the pension service thinks I will be able to do my job again I will be the lowest tier if he thinks I may be able to to do my job again within three years I will get middle tier (I would be reassessed in three years) if he thinks I will never be able to do my job again I will get the highest tier. They will also get reports from my GP and my MS nurse. I don’t have a Neuro consultant mine retired years ago and I was never allocated another. That is how I remember it being explained. Jan

You meant how do they decide didn’t you…I guess they ask what you can do what you can’t do they probably test strength, walking ability, balance that kind of thing. No idea really it’s all new to me. Jan

Hi Jan, The way you explain it sounds very similar to the way mine worked. The important word they stressed was “permanent” which they wanted as it meant “no chance of recovery”. Are you considered relapse remitting or secondary? If you are considered secondary then this helps prove there will be no recovery. Hope this helps. Andy

I have been on a steady decline since my last major relapse four years ago. I and my M.S Nurse are now saying SP although I haven’t had any scans or consultations with a Neuro Doctor to confirm. If I’m honest I think I will get the highest level I just don’t want to tempt fate…she says while tempting fate Jan