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Maybe a long shot but someone might know.

 

My husband has worked for the same firm for many years. He has never had time off and last year didn't even get to use his leave up given the pressures he was under. Unsurprisingly it has taken its toll. The doctors has signed him off sick for a month with stress.

 

Immediately on receipt of the doctors note the firm asked him if he'd like to see occupational health. I thought they should leave him in peace particularly given it's his first time off ever. Anyway he declined and they have now said they have made the referral anyway.

 

This is completely adding to his stress and likely to prolong his distress. He thinks it's a sign they want to get rid of him. But can they do it? Isn't it a bit premature. Anyone any idea or know where to look for one.

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Sorry to hear it.

Try worksmart which is a very good site run by the TUC. Or the Citizens Advice Bureau has some information on their website.

 

It could be that his employer is doing the right thing to fulfil their responsibilities; if he had a bad back for example, getting an immediate referral for physiotherapy would be a good thing. I don't know what occupational health will be able to do but it could be helpful for him to have some counselling rather than sitting at home worrying about the day he'll have to go back. They probably have a written policy on this sort of thing which they're following - stress is a big deal these days and they can't just ignore it. I definitely wouldn't read it as a sign that they're trying to get rid of him, although I can see why he might perceive it as that.

 

Hope you can get an answer anyway.

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So sorry to hear that you hubs is so stressed out - hope that month will see him rested and recovered.

 

I wonder if the Occupational Health thing is a Health and Safety measure? I have had limited experience of this as a school governor in that stress in the workplace is taken very seriously by the H and S people. Its part of our school inspection that we have measures in place to monitor stress and there are routes to go down if someone reports being under stress. Emps have a legal duty to deal with such situations so this may be the situation here.

 

Therefore I wouldn't take it as a negative sign.......maybe contact the H and S dept at your local council, ask to speak to an H and S inspector and ask the question?

 

Sorry, in haste as off on school run...will try and find out a bit more later from my H and S paperwork!

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I think it is probably work policy,particularly if GP put stress as reason for sick line. I worked for NHS and their policy was if you had three periods of sick in one year. You could have 3 single days for flu etc and you would be referred or if you were off due to work related injury you were referred. As said they probably want to help and are usually independent of workplace.If they refer for counselling they can tell your employer that but not the reason.

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I think the usual thing is that the employer should ask if an occupational health referral would be helpful and if your husband declines then he is quite within his rights to do so and they Cannot discipline him for this.

It sound more like a process to me so i wouldn't worry,

Try the ACAS helpline, hey are very helpful

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OH were very helpful to OH when his bosses were getting shirty about his time off with pneumonia. They said he'd gone back much too soon so could be to his advantage. Wish him better.

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I think this is likely to be the company trying to cover themselves to be honest, rather than anything more sinister.

 

As you said, he's never had time off sick before and he hasn't used his full complement of annual leave - and now he's off with work related stress - it puts them in a potentially difficult position if they have contributed to his sickness by not monitoring his work load or done anything about him not using his annual leave.

 

Where I work you are allowed to carry over 5 days unused annual leave from one year to the next but they want to know why and if you make a habit of not using your leave allowance they pretty much force you to take it.

 

Some firms will just keep piling it on and piling it on, and then when someone buckles under the strain they are shocked into action, which might be the case here.

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At my work that would usually be instigated by the poorly persons team leader, because it makes it easier for the team leader to support e team member if HR get involved at a later stage

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Thank you all for your replies and the helpful info. When he's in a fit state I will discuss it with him.

 

They have totally caused this, their demands are so unreasonable- he is on call 24/7 365 days a year and there is no one else to help him. They keep saying they will do something about it but don't. He regularly works full time and is then up all night dealing with an emergency and they still expect him to work the next day :shock: The trouble is I think they have knocked his confidence so much he's in no fit state to work or find an alternative! I am mad they have done this, mad that he has put up with it and worried for the future.

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So sorry that it has got to this stage. However, should things really go wrong then it sounds as though you have an extremely strong case against this company. That is probably why they have reacted so quickly with the referal.

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regularly works full time and is then up all night dealing with an emergency and they still expect him to work the next day :shock:

 

I know it's easy to say, and in the private sector difficult to do anything about, but that's against the working time directive - that's what it's for!

 

Good luck.

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I'm so sorry to hear about your hubby. But I'm surprised he's carried on like that for so long! I don't know what he does, but my hubby with his heart attack has been working on adrenalin for a long time and it takes it's toll on the body! Doesn't help much if the work is his own company! But I'd definitely go for the therapy - it won't change anything because the conditions at work are not going to be altered any time soon by the sounds of it. My husband (he has a work partner and they only intended going on for 5 more years before retiring) has now handed in his notice. He will be working 2 days a week, mainly to get his partner's daughter learning his job and will only be there till the end of the year. He's 53. He is considering working as an associate after that, but not sure.

 

Before my son moved to his new job (which is being a care worker at a school for disabled children) there was one guy in the office that practically lived there - the job got increasing stressful and their workload was increasing at an alarming rate with no overtime being paid - they were working for free just to reduce the load but not even making a dent in it. Aforementioned fellow burst into floods of tears at his desk - poor man pushed to his limit. :( I think that was the point when my son decided that no job is worth making yourself ill for. Son is very poorly paid but he is enjoying his job, so that's the main thing.

 

My brother also had issues with work - but they were much better than other firms - they made him stay at home till he was better and took his laptop away so he wouldn't be tempted! :lol: He mainly works from home now, although has to pop in from time to time - as he has to travel to other parts of the country.

 

Meanwhile hubby is driving me nuts. ARGHHHH!

 

I do hope your hubby is able to feel better soon, don't rush things either. This situation is stressful for you too - so you need to take care of yourself.

 

The job has a duty of care to employees and it sounds like they didn't keep their end of the bargain to have someone to cover for him, so they need to stew in their own juice for a while. :evil:

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Hope the time off helps.

 

He mustn't go back to being on call indefinitely. I spent a few years on escalation call up with no one else covering and it's permanently affected my sleep patterns :evil: legally I think the limit is 17 weeks without a break and that's not meant to be on call every night.

 

My boss at the time was very unsympathic until I moved job internally and he had to cover, got a rota of managers together pretty quickly then :?

 

More than 10 years ago but i remember going out with friends to celebrate my 40th not long after I stopped being on escalation call, got back late and got called by mistake early hrs of the morning. Explained it wasn't me but started sorting the issue until the guy ringing said 'oh I have a number here to call [manager name] ' still remember the sense of satisfaction in being able to say, ring him, putting down the phone and going back to bed :lol:

 

Get OH to phone ACAS and get some advice. Is Occup health an external company? They can be completely impartial when they are so he may find it useful to talk to them. Before he does find out if he has power to review/veto what they report back to employers.

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Speaking as an Occupational Health Nurse :wink: Please don't see a referral to OH as a bad thing - we are there to assess health and provide advice to management on fitness to return to work yes, but we are impartial and are very much there to support the employee, signpost them to additional support services and flag to management where they have been going wrong if the stress is work related.

 

It is also a mistake to believe that you cannot be sacked or disciplined if you are off sick and if you refuse to go to OH you can be seen as being uncooperative and that will go against you. On the other hand, they are more likely to be supportive if you do attend OH and work with us.

 

You should always be offered the choice to view the OH report before if goes to your manager, but only to correct factual inaccuracies, not to change the OH Nurses professional opinion. If you really do disagree with what they say, you can withdraw consent to release the report.

 

PM me if you want any more specific advice.

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Thank you Snowy that is really helpful. My husband starts back tomorrow so I will know more after that. Fingers crossed it goes well. I don't know if he's ready, time will tell but he feels well enough to try.

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