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Contact during sick leave

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mrandmrsscience, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. mrandmrsscience

    mrandmrsscience New commenter

    Not sure this is the correct forum but here goes.. I’m currently signed off by my doctor after having spinal procedure/ surgery. I wasn’t expecting to hear from work as sick note sent in and cover emailed. Had a phone call today from DHT (left voicemail) saying they wanted to ‘check in’ with me and they would try ringing again. I’m feeling a little uncomfortable about this as when I told them the procedure I was having I was told ‘well it should only be a weeks absence’. I can only see that the call is to get me to commit to a going back date/railroad me into soemthing . Are they allowed to ring for such an informal chat if my GP has signed me off?
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I think schools are sometimes in a hard place as not contacting could be seen as showing a total lack of interest in the well being of a member of staff...But (obviously) i they DID try to get you to commit to a return date, they would be 100% in the wrong.

    If you can get a partner to 'field' the call for you, I would. If not, take control of the conversation:

    "Thank you so much for calling to see how I am..I'm glad to say the procedure/operation went well [if it did!] and I'm now recovering. As you know I've been signed off, and have sent in cover work. I'll be in touch just as soon as I have any idea when I will be able to return...Please give my regards to [members of my Department/teachers you work with etc.]and thank them for doing any extra work my absence has caused.

    Sorry, have to go now...Thanks again for calling..." [And put phone down!]

    Something like this...
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    There's no reason why they can't contact you to check how you are and make sure it all went OK. In fact good employers should do that.

    But it would be unacceptable for the school to put pressure on you to return to work early or to do any work at home while signed off.

    And it's reasonable for an employer to ask when you anticipate you might return to work (as long as they aren't calling you every other day and harassing you about it). Schools need to plan to cover your absence.
  4. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Yes, they should keep in touch and, as long as the call is to ask after your well-being and progress that is what they should do. If they, in any way, try to get you to commit to a return date then just say you’ll let them know when you’ve had a review with your doctor. It’s your doctor who recommends the amount of time you need to recover not your school.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I would drop them an e-mail, saying something along the lines of "Thank you for your call. I'm glad to say the procedure went okay, although as my sick note says, I am currently signed off until <date>. I'll be seeing my GP/consultant again on <date>, and will update you then as to when I might expect to be back."

    In other words, respond politely, but give them clear information so that they have no excuse to have to keep badgering you. You might want to stick a line in about "my instructions are to rest completely, and I'm actually sleeping much of the time/somewhat woozy with painkillers" if you think they might be about to ask you to do anything from home.

    Do also bear in mind that there could be some completely separate reason why they want to get in touch, eg "We thought you should know that we've just advertised a TLR internally; we didn't want you to miss out on the opportunity to apply."

    Oh, and if they're trying to tell you they know more about the recovery time than your doctors, tell them you'll trust the professionals, thank you. Someone on here had a wisdom tooth removed and was told to take a week off. Their school told them they only needed a day or two (which is true for some extractions but not others - mine ranged from half a day to ten days), and they foolishly believed the school. They did need longer, and then the school complained that they hadn't set enough cover work - which of course they might have done if they had gone with what the medics said in the first place.
  6. IanG

    IanG Occasional commenter

    Perfectly fine for them to ring and hopefully wish you all the best at a speedy recovery. Where it gets 'dodgy' is if someone is off for WRS and school rings... I've seen a number of posts over the years where people get upset when the school doesn't ring to wish them luck etc. Only you know the relationship with SLT.

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