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Been asked to set work even though I am signed off ‘unfit to work’.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cllabry, Feb 23, 2020.

  1. cllabry

    cllabry New commenter

    What do I do? Do I set work? Or not!! Going to join a union tomorrow as I work as an instructor but I have been signed off for two weeks.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    If you are ill you shouldn't set work. But if you can (say you have a broken ankle or similar), I'm sure your colleagues and pupils would be grateful if you could set something so they do not get behind etc.
    Pomza and Piranha like this.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Taking this question on a case by case basis, you are evidently able to type ie you have posted this question.
    So in your shoes I'd type an email to the school, stating at what point your groups are in the scheme of work and where the scheme of work can be located. I'd then finish with the understanding that this ought to be enough given that you are not well enough to set cover work. Close your emails and don't look again to see if there is a reply. You have indicated this is your intention by the statement I suggest.
    The short answer is, if you can set cover work and don't mind doing it, then do so as obviously it will be useful all round, but if you are not well enough it is the paid role of your head of faculty or department to be able to sort something out for anybody who is absent n their team. they are not allowed to expect it of you or issue it as a directive if you are off and unfit to work. Technically this does not prevent them asking for it, because you can always say "no".
    If they have not got a stock of cover work resources already made then that's their oversight.

    If you join a union tomorrow and request help or advice in this particular question then they will tell you that they are unable to assist as it is an issue which has already arisen before subscribing with them, although to be nice they may probably tell you the same as I have above re cover work.
    They wouldn't step in an help you if this were a mounting issue though, because the problem has already started. That is how all unions operate, a bit like not being able to take out insurance to claim on something after it has already broken.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
    Laphroig, bajan, lizziescat and 7 others like this.
  4. percival73

    percival73 New commenter

    I really think it depends on why you are signed off work. If, for example, you've broken a bone, then I wouldn't see a problem with setting work. However, if you're off with stress, then I would say that's very different
    Pomza and mothorchid like this.
  5. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    Given that you are employed as an instructor as opposed to a teacher I assume the students are self-teaching from a bank of resources. A short email stating which unit they are on should suffice.
  6. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Senior commenter

    Good advice given already, the most important thing is do not get into a dialogue.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you are able to set work, then do so. It helps your colleagues and gets you brownie points with your HOD.
    If you are unable to do so, then send an email apologising and explaining.

    Either way, once you've done this, turn off all email and text contact with school until you recover.
    agathamorse, HolyMahogany and install like this.
  8. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Remember the person who asked to you set work is paid extra money for their job. It is their job to set work ,when staff are off work. Perhaps they may have some extra teaching or god bid do some marking.

    Remember after you have set work after couple of days is a waste of time because you will have no idea of where the students are up to with their work.
    HolyMahogany and Catgirl1964 like this.
  9. install

    install Star commenter

    You are in the lucky position that your planning ahead of time isn't requested at the start of each term. I would do the practical,.helpful and supportive thing ( unless I was severely ill) - eg

    Email in a brief few lines for the first week. Project/Research type work if allowed. Then email a brief few lines at the start of the 2nd week.

    Keep it brief. The chances are the work will not get done anyway. When you return you are then in a stronger position to argue ( should you need to) that the work set was not done. Also sometimes in some schools,.returning off ill is welcomed with new concerns about the classes and their lessons. And you want to show willing even now in some small way.

    It also covers you should others be ill too. However, avoid looking at your work emails and do not respond to other requests. You are poorly and at least you are sending something in.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2020
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Unless the term 'instructor' is used because they want to pay people less/provide worse conditions than for 'teachers'? I'd always provide cover IF I could (better for the students, my colleagues, and easier for me when I got back to work), but that said, I had a caring team and boss, and as we talked to each other a lot, we'd have some knowledge of each others' classes so it wasn't a problem. Clearly if someone was suddenly very ill (for example in hospital after an accident) the HoD would have to provide something, but as I/they talked to all their staff, it would not be a problem. I can understand that a person can be well enough to type, but find it too hard to create new resources/provide work in a certain format, but none of us can comment about how ill you are (I take it back if one of your best friends, who happens to be your doctor, is with you as you're reading this!)
    Hope you feel better soon.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    All the advice above about referring to a scheme that’s already there and not entering a dialogue and the Union advice is perfect!

    I just came to say that you answered your own question- you’ve been signed off “unfit to work”. You’re unfit to work! Go and rest. Hope you are better soon.
  12. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If you are off sick, then you don't have to work at all. If the reason for your absence allows it, many (most?) teachers would try to help their colleagues by sending something in. But where the condition would make this difficult, or even impossible, then don't do it. For example, if your thinking was affected such as by a migraine, or you suffered workplace stress, or you found it hard to type.

    My attitude was that I wanted to help my colleagues by providing work if possible. But I happened to work in a department where mutual support was the norm, and perhaps I would have been less accommodating if that had not been the case.

    Sorry, but I am afraid that I am uncomfortable with the idea of joining a union only when a problem is appearing. If you believe unions to be a good thing, you should be in one and if not, don't join just because you suddenly need some help..
  13. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Also agreed...and probably has a lot to do with why unions won't help if you join after a problem starts.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    This is true, although I did know somebody who joined a union when things started getting difficult but before anything concrete happened, so they could claim that the problems started after their membership was active. They did get support, and II am afraid I resented that a bit, especially as this person had been rather scathing about unions in the past.
  16. Morninglover

    Morninglover Lead commenter

    Ah but remember the New Testament:

    "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance".

    Luke 15:7
  17. missbrody

    missbrody New commenter

    It depends on the senior management at the school about what they expect. At a previous school I was signed off as unfit to work after a major operation. Doctor stated that I needed at least 6 weeks of rest to recuperate, during which time I was not able to drive.
    The headteacher sent a colleague to my house after 4 weeks with work for me to do! I stayed on for just two years after returning to work, then moved to another school.
    I don't see a problem with sending an email to give cover work, I tend to do when needed. Just try to avoid getting pulled into ongoing discussions.
    agathamorse likes this.

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