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Applying for a job while on sick leave

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Corrie_Fan, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Corrie_Fan

    Corrie_Fan New commenter

    Please help!
    My current school have been amazing through what has been a difficult time. After being diagnosed with breast cancer at Christmas I found the stress of being in the classroom too much and I have been off since then. The school have been amazing and never put pressure on me to return earlier than I was ready. I had a mastectomy with reconstruction from tissue in my abdomen last week so will not be returning to school for at least another 5 weeks.
    I am in the third year at my current school and it is very good. However the commute is an hour each way and for the past year or so I have been looking for something closer to make life easier.
    This morning a perfect job has come up 10mins from my house and in an ideal world I would jump at it.
    - The interviews are in 2 weeks and I don't know if I'll be physically able to get through the day.
    - how awful does it look to my current school when reference requests come in?!
    - would the new school be unimpressed if I'm interviewing while on sick leave?!
    Please help. I am so grateful to my school and don't want them to think badly of me but this is the chance I've been hoping for!
    What do I do?!
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Unions advise that you should get the permission of your head to attend an interview whilst signed off sick in case the school later alleges that if you were well enough attend interview you were well enough to work. I don't know of any case where this argument has been tested in court though.

    But best to ask anyway. It's the normal courtesy in schools and of course if you are called to interview the head will find out anyway as they will be asked for a reference. References are normally requested for all candidates called to interview. And you'll likely get a better reference if the head knows a request may be coming.
    border_walker likes this.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Contact your current head, explain about looking for a shorter commute - a job has come up nearer home and you hope they'll be willing to be a referee. Also bring up the issue of interviews whilst on sick leave. A sensible head will be sympathetic to you wanting to reduce commuting time, especially given your health, and yours has obviously been supportive.

    If invited to interview, get in touch with the new school and explain where you're at with your recovery. You're presumably on course to be fit by September, so that shouldn't be a worry. Explain that although your head is happy for you to attend an interview whilst on sick leave, you're not sure you're completely up to it, and you wonder whether they are able to help at all in how they timetable things. Hopefully they might be willing to discuss whether they can either make the day shorter for you, or give you a rest between components - whichever would be more helpful. They might even be able to split things across two days for you, and observe you teaching on a different day - unless governors are involved in observations, that would probably make little difference to them.

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