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tdlawyer
tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience:  11 years experience of general practice.
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Hello I would like some legal advice on absence from work.

Resolved Question:

Hello

I would like some legal advice on absence from work. I am a teacher and ham at present off work due to the fact that I have broken my right hand, and a damaged left hand, which is now in a splint, but was in plaster/

I am unable to take care of my personal needs, but the Academy I am employed by believe they are able to meet my needs for employment at work. I have an HR meeting on Tuesday to see what they can do to enable me to return to work. I have also been requested to go into school to dictate my reports for someone else to type up for me.

My sick note does not run out until 17th June, the day I should be having my cast removed. I wish to go into the meeting having facts at my finger tips rather than guessing.

Regards XXXXX
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  tdlawyer replied 2 years ago.

tdlawyer :

Hello, welcome to the website. My name isXXXXX can assist you with this.

tdlawyer :

What would you specifically like to know about this?

Customer:

At present I have been signed off work, with broXXXXX XXXXXds...as it turns out one isn't broken, but I have soft tissue damage. I am expected to attend an HR meeting on Wednesday @ 11.00 am and am unable to drive, I live about 3 miles from work.

Customer:

I have also been requested to go into work to dictate school reports, I'm a Primary Teacher, which have a dead line of the 16th June.

Customer:

Our Academy had a review meeting with all staff and have said that if 'someone is off with broXXXXX XXXXXds' they should be at work and they will accommodate them.....how can they accommodate personal needs?

Customer:

I would like to know how I stand legally ready for this meeting which is about 'how they help to get me back to work'? Can they apply pressure? What are my legal rights?

tdlawyer :

Your employer is obviously looking for ways to accommodate your injury that allow you to continue to work. However, the employer is not medically trained, although they do often have the ability (set out in the contract) to request one of their occupation health doctors assess you. Has this happened in your case?

Customer:

Not as of yet. They maybe suggested. Apparently I hit a trigger for this meeting as I was of at the beginning of the year for a week with lyringitius, and now this is for 5 weeks.

Customer:

Excuse typing errors....hands a bit restricted

tdlawyer :

That's okay :) Okay, so you've been off for least the 2 months at present, and would I be right in thinking that this will not go on beyond a year?

Customer:

No 3 weeks so far, another 17 days at present. It definitely will not go beyond the year. Including the absence in Dec. I will have been absent for 8 weeks in total this school year.

tdlawyer :

Okay. Then the issue really is whether or not you're fit to go back to work and whether adaptations can be made to accommodate your return. It's often possible for people to go back without being 100% fit and ready to return. However, this is always a question of fact.

tdlawyer :

The danger for you is that your employer thinks you just don't want to return.

tdlawyer :

How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

Our Academy have said that they do not want people off 'sick' as it impacts on the pupils...fair comment. I have worked at the school since 1999, although it has changed names twice since I started. I have continuous employment with the LEA that has been transferred since 1996. I know with our School/Academy a meeting for over 4 weeks in a year is standard, and 'nothing to be concerned about'.

tdlawyer :

Okay. The issue really is simply one of whether you're fit to return. If you're asking whether you have to return, then the answer to that is likely to be no, not if you have a doctors note saying you're unfit to work. However, it might be worth asking the doctor if there are adaptations that might work to facilitate your return to work. All of this really only becomes relevant if they look to stop paying you sick pay (if contractual and they have a right under the contract to do that), or if they decide to dismiss you.

tdlawyer :

I doubt they would go down the dismissal route, it's a pretty big thing, especially when you have doctors note, but what they're looking for is to understand whether they can help you go back now.

tdlawyer :

It might be that they suggest ways of working (as they have, e.g. with dictations) and that you speak with your doctor about that, and take his view as to whether whatever they suggest is appropriate.

tdlawyer :

Then really, you need to make a judgement call based on that medical advice and their proposals.

tdlawyer :

They cannot just dismiss you, and I doubt they will even consider this.

Customer:

If I agree to the dictations, does that make my sick note null and void?

tdlawyer :

All signs are that this problem might be resolved by 17th June, in which case, it would take a very brave employer to do anything other than try and work with you to facilitate a return, after all, it's only 2 and a bit weeks away.

tdlawyer :

No, it doesn't make it null and void, what it does do is potentially means you're ready to return to work and don't need to be off sick. It won't affect what has been the position up to that point in time, if you're concerned about that?

Customer:

Ok thank you for your help.

tdlawyer :

Does this answer your question?

tdlawyer :

Please remember to rate the answer for me before leaving. Thank you.

tdlawyer, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1096
Experience: 11 years experience of general practice.
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