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Worried about absence from work

Hello all, Hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas! Looking for a bit of advice. I have been off sick 4 times in the last 18 months (since this all started) - 2 for relapses, 1 for an awful cold and 1 for an unrelated stomach bug. My worst symptom by a long shot is fatigue which gives me dreadful migraines too. The last day or two I have started to get numbness in my legs particularly the left one and they are really weak, also my arms are quite weak ( actually can hardly be bothered writing this lol! If you know what I mean ). All in all I feel really exhausted, was trying to keep myself awake on the train to work this morning so I didn’t miss my stop! And then stumbling a bit with the legs, I was getting a fair few funny looks (again, bet you know where I’m coming from guys!). So I guess my question is this : what is too much sick time? If I go off sick now, making it 5th time in 18 months, will I be penalised? I’m not yet sure if this is a relapse or what, I suspect it might be but don’t know. But the hour and a half-2 hour journey each way to work, with a 15-20 minute walk each way, is not looking too pretty right now. I’m just worried about being off work, like many of you I want to go to work, and feel like I fight most days to do so, I.e. fighting the fatigue and headaches. It’s an extra stress I don’t need! In even better news I was asked today ‘can you not just push through it’ - it being the weakness in my legs. Pleased to report I was very patient when what I felt like saying was 'eh, would you ask a cancer patient why they can’t just wish away a tumour? Idiot! ’ Anyway, I think I’m done ranting :stuck_out_tongue: any advice greatly appreciated! Take care all Sarah x

Hi Sarah, I’m afraid this one depends entirely on your company’s sickness policies - which should be published somewhere, although it’s difficult to ask for them without drawing attention to the issue, and looking as if you might be trying to “milk it”. Do you have an intermediary such as a union rep, who might be able to get hold of a copy, or summarise it for you, without drawing attention to who’s asking, and why? Contrary to popular folklore, it’s not the case that MS-related absence can never be counted against you. You can have “too much” sickness due to MS, just as with anything else, but how much is “too much” is largely down to the organisation. Are there any comparable cases you know of, where someone was off a similar amount? What happened to them? Some employers use a point-scoring system, where lots of little absences actually accrue more black marks than a couple of big ones. This is designed to weed out those who “pull a sickie” when they fancy the odd extra day off here and there. Random days, self certified, are actually more suspicious than a longer, GP-verified spell. We used to have people at my place who regularly developed a “bug” on a Friday or Monday - just happening to make a long weekend - but not so often midweek. If bugs are random, wouldn’t they strike equally on any day? Anyway, that’s a bit of an aside. Do work know about your MS? I assume they must, if you had to fill in a sick form saying “relapse”? Is it the kind of work where it might be possible to do it from home sometimes, to reduce the strain of the regular commute? Have you heard of an organisation called Access to Work? They may be able to come up with some suggestions of how to make work more manageable for you, although your employer would probably be expected to fund it or contribute. If you are 1.5 to 2 hours away by train, it seems unlikely a taxi every morning would be economically viable, for you OR your employer, but maybe they would consider stumping up for the 15 minutes walk bit, if it was proposed by an independent assessor (Access to Work)? I have had similar to the “Can’t you just push through it?” comment, albeit not in connection with work. A volunteer driver, of all people, who provides subsidised transport for the disabled, was actually dropping me off at the MS clinic, when he asked whether I was sure it wasn’t all just in my head! Yeah, right! Like the MS clinic accepts people with delusional diagnoses! Tina x

Sorry to hear you’re struggling. That said, if you’re ill you’re ill and you shouldn’t be at work. How will sick leave be counted against you? Losing promotion / paycut? I think you should disclose fully at work and ask for reasonable adjustments e.g. later start time to miss rush hour commute and make journey shorter or flexi time. On a good day you could work more hours and fewer when things are rough. Try to remember your health is the most important thing. Take care. Ann xx

Thanks for the replies. Doc said today that its a relapse, but quite mild so i don’t need steroids. Made me feel a bit crap though as he basically intimated that because I could walk across the room and back I could be well enough to work. Sometimes feels like people forget how tiring it is and the effect of cumulative effort :frowning: It’s good to have this place where people understand you aren’t just being a hypochondriac! If someone could say to me here you won’t have MS at all but you must work every day until you’re old I’d bloody jump at the chance!! Thanks again, Sarah x

only you know how ill you feel,i had to stop working due to being too ill to carry on i was off sick on and off for a few years,and it got to the stage that every time i went back to work,within 2 weeks i was ill again,

so in the end i went on long term sick and then incapacity benefit, i was only 33 at the time,so it was a big thing for me to have to do,i loved my job and had just got back into full time work too,but i had no choice in the matter,i had all the usual ’ well we feel tired too ’ comments in the end i just got used to them,look after you and do whats best for you.

J x

I had 5 months off this year… one time for 3 months, went back to work for 2 weeks then was signed off again for 2 months. My work know about my MS & have their own rules about how they have to treat disabled workers but in my ming they are not following the rules.

I contacted Access to work, following my employers suggestion & they are very helpful indeed. At the time I could drive & ATW got me a disables parking space (which I had been fighting for, for a month) they also advised I need a special chair & a voice activated computer with training… ATW pay some of the cost but it’s worked out that my company have to pay the rest… over £1.2k.

Since the ATW visit my driving licence has been revoked, so I contacted ATW again & had to make another claim to help me get to & from work as I can’t walk far & cant stand for more than 10 mins without pain & they have said I am elidgable for Taxis to work where due to my work being 4.5 miles away, I have to pay £1 per journey - so £2 a day & II’m not sure who pays the rest yet if it’s ATW or my work people

They really are worh getting intouch with imo

good luck :slight_smile:

Pip

AtW pay, but you’ll have to pay the taxi firm first, either per journey or having an account set up with the taxi firm. Then every 4 weeks you submit a claim form to AtW with details of all journeys made, along with proof such as receipts or a bill. Then the cost of the taxis, minus your £2/day contribution will be paid electronically to your specified bank account. As an example, if a one-way taxi journey costs £10, then AtW will reimburse you £9 ( taxi cost - your contribution ) x 2 x 5 x 4 = £360 every 4 weeks.

Neil

ok thank you for that… so AtW expect me to have £360 (mine worked out at that) a month spare to pay my own fares to then be reimbursed, I’m lucky to have a tenner free to be honest mind you it’s only the first month I need that right? because they will reimburse me £320 after 4 weeks?

Pip

Hi Pip I get taxis via ATW and I claim weekly as pay each day for the journeys and couldn’t afford to wait every weeks and I didn’t to set up an account with the taxi company but you could do that. The first couple of weeks I felt as if I was paying out loads but now every week I receive a payment from then giving me there contribution back to me. Sarah when your back at work I would really suggest contacting ATW as they have helped me hugely. Take care Polly x