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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46232
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been medically signed off from work indefinitely. I

Customer Question

I have been medically signed off from work indefinitely. I suffer from a mental illness which is categorised as a disability.
I had a mental breakdown in May 2011, and spent 2 months in a private psychiatric hospital followed by 5 months of day care.
I was absent from work for around a year, and when seeking to return to work in 2012, I was offered a small amount to leave in a meeting with the HR manager at the time. I think it was around £25-£30. I refused as I wanted to get back to work.
I started back at work very slowly, a couple of hours a day, a couple of days a week etc.. until I managed around 16 hours a week. During this time, I was supposed to have weekly meetings with my manager and HR department to help support me during this period. Sadly this didn't happen and I was required to attend quite a few Occupational Therapy sessions to discuss my future. It became apparent that during this time, my employer were trying to dismiss me. They tried to say I couldn't do my job, they changed my job description and highlighted all the areas I could no longer do. I requested a permanent reduction in my contractual hours but this was refused. I became very stressed by all of this and ended up back in the hospital with severe depression. I have not worked since.
My employer pay me 2/3rds of my salary through an insurance company policy for salary protection if a person is on long term sick leave. Since 2012, I have received my monthly salary and have to under go a medical assessment every year.
I do not have any correspondence with my company, I receive my salary slip, P60, pension statements. I do not have an allocated person in HR or my department to contact. This has been the situation for the past 4 years.
It is very unlikely that I will ever be well enough to return to work, although that had been my intention as I am a single mother with 2 children to support.
I would like some advice about what option would be available to me to leave the company with a settlement, either a retirement on medical grounds or a payout to leave. The company had treated me very badly and I think because of this they have no contact with me at all. I am now 49, I live in a rented house, I receive housing benefit, Employment Support Allowance (Contributory) and have large amounts of debt.
The private medical insurance my company provide, no longer pay for anything regarding my illness. This has been the situation since 6 months after my breakdown in 2011. My annual medical bills are around £800, and I have been forced to cancel my regular sessions with my Psychiatrist and I now only see him if i am in crisis. I had to cancel all psychotherapy sessions a few years ago as I could no longer afford to pay for them.
I really need some help to pay off my accrued debts , which are around £25K and to try to sort my life out.
Can you help?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Remus2004 replied 10 months ago.
How long have you worked there please?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I joined the company 1997, we were taken over in 2000, but my service was continued, so 19 years.
When we were taken over, I was Manager of Marketing, then after maternity leave, my job title was changed to Product Marketing Manager, then Senior Product Manager. No change to job, but just with every re-structure, the job title was reduced.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Sorry, each time the job description was changed but I contested to keep my original one as it happened when I was on maternity leave.
Also I was denied to apply for a Managerial Role of my job, only me at the time, but hiring new staff to join, because I was working part-time after the birth of my first child.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Jo, I'm really sorry, I have to go, I am feeling very sick and headache, I think I'm getting a migraine, I need to lay down.
sorry
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
Hello, my name is ***** ***** my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. To be able to leave with a settlement, you would ideally need to have some sort of valid claim against them, which they would like to settle with you instead of defending at tribunal. In the circumstances this may be difficult because it has been such a long time since the alleged issues occurred and there are strict time limits to make a claim. For example, if you wanted to make a claim for disability discrimination you would need to do so within 3 months of the alleged discriminatory act, which would have occurred some time in 2012. Similarly, for constructive dismissal you would have had to resign without unreasonable delay and in response to a breach by the employer. This would have also been in 2012 some time so you would be way too late to try and argue that you have a valid claim at this stage. So this may prove difficult to use as a negotiating tool to try and force through a settlement. You can ask for ill health retirement and they can allow that but without paying a settlement. Otherwise your only option is to reign yourself and consider using a third party negotiator to try and arrange a settlement. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have to try and negotiate further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 46232
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you , I am worried about being vulnerable. Can my employer sack me even though I am on sick leave? I currently receive £1100 per month from my employer from the insurance company, is there anyway to estimate how much I would receive if I ask for medical retirement? Is there some sort of equation to use that would give me an idea of how much I would get?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.
Thank you. It is certainly possible for an employer to dismiss someone even if they are on sick leave. Capability, where an employee is unable to perform their job due to ill health, is a potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee under the Employment Rights Act 1996. The definition of ‘capability’ includes competence (skill and aptitude), health (any mental/physical quality) and qualifications. Whether a capability dismissal is fair will depend on the particular circumstances and the procedure that was followed. The employer needs to show they had reasonable grounds to believe that the employee was incapable of performing their job and that nothing further could be done to assist them. In the end they need to show that dismissal was a reasonable decision to take. The courts have held that an important consideration is whether any reasonable employer would have waited longer in the circumstances before dismissing the employee. When looking at the reasonableness of such a dismissal, the tribunal will usually look at the following elements:· What was the nature of the illness· Was the employee consulted over their position and did the employer try to ascertain the true medical position· What was the likelihood of the employee returning to work or the illness reoccurring in the future· The effect a prolonged absence would have on the business and the workforce· The availability of other suitable employment that the employee could do instead Dismissal must always be viewed as a last resort by the employer. Only when it is obvious that the employee cannot continue in their job and that there was nothing else available for them to do would dismissal become a fair option. In terms of how much you would get on medical retirement there is no such thing to be honest – being medically retired simply means that you are able to draw on your pension, there is nothing set that you will get, unless you had some sort of insurance scheme yourself.

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