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Can I get a job after being signed off?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by The_Teacher1010, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I am really struggling at my new school. I have posted elsewhere too about my situation. I have been signed off sick for about 5 weeks now with stress and depression. I am really not well and I am in a school where staff get attacked on a regular basis. I have already been hurt. The head is not supportive and does not seem to care that her staff are getting hurt. Some are being seriously hurt and have been hospitalised.
    I have made the choice to leave at Easter but I am worried how this will affect my career as I only started at this job is September and I have never felt like this before. I even felt like hurting myself. Since having time off I no longer feel this way but still have had a panic attack since being off and I am still not sleeping.
    I feel like I should go back to work after Christmas because I am worried about what the head will think of me and also how this will affect future career prospects. Will anyone hire me as I have been signed off? Will the head even write a reference? Can she be horrible about my time off? What will she even say as she has not known me for long?
    I am so scared and worried about what the future holds.
    I need some advice.

  2. Hi teacher2010
    I understand your concern as I felt exactly the same when I decided to resign from my previous post. I was concerned because I've already worked in several places since teaching and was frightened that I would be seen as a job hopper (not the case, it's because a couple of jobs didn't work out and some were long term supply posts). However, I have got not 1 but 2 part-time jobs now with private revision companies and am very happy! Oh, so is one of my current bosses!
    You may be interested to know that your condition is covered by the Equality Act 2010. This means that you don't have to fill in those stupid health questionnaires about how many days off you've had etc when you APPLY for jobs. All the new school/college can ask you at this point is if you have any disabilities etc (your condition becomes regarded as a disability if you still have it after a year, I believe). Once you've been shortlisted you can of course be asked BUT (this is the good bit). If at this point, you disclose your condition and you strongly suspect that you were rejected because of it, then that is illegal. I.e. No-one can say to you (which I was frightened about). Oh, we see from your reference that you've been off sick with stress for x months and we are concerned about your ability to cope with the demands of the job, or say afterwards, we didn't give you the job because of your health.
    In summary, what I'm trying to say is maybe some people will have a problem with the fact that you've been off ill and left school in the middle of the year but your health is your business and their problem. It should NOT stop you from getting a job because that is against the Law.
    My advice is to go ahead and apply for jobs and say something like organisational changes as being the reason why you left which is what I say and don't bring up your health issues until you get shortlisted. If you get any forms (esp from agencies because the law is greyer about what they can ask you before getting a job) asking about your health, contact the relevant contact and politely ask a) why they want to know at this stage b) what they will do with the information. if you're not happy, write I do not wish to disclose at this stage.
    By the way, it's common for teachers to leave at different times of the year for various reasons, so as long as you have an answer ready like the one I previously suggested for why you left when you did, there shouldn't be a problem.
    Hope this answer helps and good luck with the job hunt!

  3. Sorry for getting your name wrong in my previous post! The page went funny when I tried to correct the mistake.
  4. PS. As for the reference, I'd speak to HR as I'm not sure whether the policy is the same everywhere. My college told me that the reference would say that I had been off for 3 months but would not state the reason why.
  5. Thank you for the advice. I am so worried about getting a job after this. I have had great references from all previous employers so I am really upset that this has happened.

  6. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    I am so sorry to hear about your experience - sounds like a dreadful place and I think you have made the right choice for your personal well being to leave at Easter. To your question, I was signed off work with severe Post Natal Depression for over 12 weeks over 8 years ago. During that time I was able to secure myself a new job (I did ask my present HT for permission to go to the interview though my union said that I didn't have to) so yes, it is possible! I would start looking around now and I wish you all the best! xx
  7. Thanks for that - hearing positive messages is helpful
    Can I resign while being signed off?
    I have heard that if I do that then I might not be entitled to sick pay?! Or that I would have to pay back my sick pay as I would have to come back to work and then resign or work for a while before I actually leave?
    I am so confused and scared.

  8. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    I have tried googling this question for you and the answer seems quite complex, therefore, I advise you to check with your union. I would ask advise you to seek the support of your union for what seems to be like a very stressful situation for you - your union may be able to help in all sorts of ways e.g. they may be able to get you a compromise agreement, but this is something you will have to talk over with your union. I also urge you not to make any rash decisions now - try to enjoy the Christmas holiday, spend time with friends and family, watch old movies, eat lots of mince pies and try to relax - then in the New Year, with a clearer head you can make clearer decisions. All the best xx
  9. Good question. You need to check with your union on this one, as I can't answer this one. The reason why is because when I left, it worked out that when I'd handed in my notice, I only had to do 2 weeks of work at normal hours before I left (because where I'd been off sick, I'd taken hardly any of my annual leave-I work in an FE College, so I went back in May I was on a 6 week phased return) and left at the beginning of July-RESULT!).

    That said, I just found the following info in the burgandy book:

    Termination of employment during a period of sick leave
    6.1 In the event of a teacher exhausting in part or full his/her entitlements under paragraph 2.1 above and being given notice of the termination of his/her contract without returning to work on the ground of permanent incapacity or for some other reason related to the sickness absence, he/she shall be paid full salary for the notice period with normal deductions only.

    Although, this is if you decide not to go back at all and have been off for your full sick leave. The underneath is interesting though:

    9. Absences arising from accidents, injury or assault at work
    9.1 In the case of absence due to accident, injury or assault attested by an approved medical practitioner to have arisen out of and in the course of the teacher?s employment, including attendance for instruction at physical training or other classes organised or approved by the employer or participation in any extra curricular or voluntary activity connected with the school, full pay shall in all cases be allowed, such pay being treated as sick pay for the purposes of paragraphs 3 to 7.5 above, subject to the production of self certificates and/or doctors? statements from the day of the accident, injury or assault up to the date of recovery, but not exceeding six calendar months.
    9.2 After that maximum period of six months? full pay, in the event of the teacher not returning to duty he/she shall be entitled to normal sick leave and pay under the terms of paragraph 2.1 according to his/her length of service as prescribed by that paragraph
    9.3 Absence resulting from accidents, injuries or assaults referred to in sub-paragraph 9.1 shall not be reckoned against the teacher?s entitlements under paragraph 2 above, though such absences are reckonable for entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay.
    9.4 For the purpose of sub-paragraph 9.1 ?absence? shall include more than one period of absence arising out of a single accident, injury or assault.

    That said, theere's a section on the Government website stating that you're still entitled to sickness (SSP) and holiday pay during your notice period, so I read that as stating that yes you can resign while off sick and no, you don't have to pay it back (your new employer would deduct it from your sickness leave if I read the Burgandy book correctlY

    Anyway, my suggestion is to do something similar if the resigning while off sick is too complex for you to do!

    Hope this helps!
  10. Hi,

    I know people will tell me not to make big decisions but I have made the decision to leave at Easter as I planned earlier. I know people will say that I need to be well to make a decision like this but I have considered this carefully and I have sought help and my GPs and people helping me who talk to me on a regular basis know that my problems are due to work.

    I am still of sick and yes I do have days where I am very anxious and down and usually those are days when I am contacted by someone at school or I think of school. The head is leaving me alone but I am scared of her. Since having no contact with her my panic attacks have stopped. I know I need to resign by the end of Feb and I am in the process of writing my resignation letter. I just don't know how to go about resigning while off. Shall I post it to school? I really can not face talking to her or really having any contact with her at all. Shall I email it? Or both? My biggest fear is that she says she didn't get it and expects me to return! I need to move on with my life and I can't do that while tied to that place! Please help.

    Also, do you have to declare how many sick days you have had when you apply for new jobs?

    I really don't know what to do. If anyone has been in a similar situation or has any advice could they please help me.

    Thank you.
  11. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Excellent decision. The old adage, 'what can't speak can't lie' comes into it's own here. That signature on the Post Office system proves the school received it. What happens after that to your letter is non of your concern!
    Take care of yourself and the very best of luck!
  12. Thank you so much!

    I have now received my Occupational Health appointment for later in March and I am wondering how my resignation will affect this?

    I just want this chapter of my life to end now.
    ymajumdar likes this.
  13. In terms of what you're entitled to in terms of reasonable adjustments for when you return to work, it shouldn't affect anything. E.g. When I went back to work on a phased return, I handed in my notice after a couple of weeks back and was assured by the mangers that my phased return arrangments would continue as originally arranged, even though they were finshing during my notice period. I was very grateful for this because it worked out that I only had to stick with my normal working hours for 2 weeks (one of them a short one) before I left the service of the college (I had a lot of annual leave left as I'd been signed off sick so hadn't taken much of it).
    If you're not back at work yet, I'd phone OH, explain that you're leaving and ask what happens next.


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