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Do I return to work before my occupational health assessment?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ElizabethElizabeth1, Nov 15, 2018.

  1. ElizabethElizabeth1

    ElizabethElizabeth1 New commenter

    This is my 3rd post in the last 2 weeks- big thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read & respond. It’s been really reassuring/helpful.

    Background: I’ve been signed off with WRS for 25 days (crazy workload with 10-13 hr days without breaks). I’m also heavily pregnant (no risk assessment done). I tried to go back suggesting a week of mornings as a phased return, before returning full time, after 15 days off (GP didn’t want me back at all really so suggested amended hours until xmas at a push) but the school wanted all or nothing for ‘consistency’. GP then reverted to sick leave as she wasn’t happy with me returning to the same issues full whack & having to catch up parent eves etc.

    My head called yesterday to say she’d referred me to occupational health. I was going to the GP next week & was going to suggest I go back as I don’t want to be off until my mat leave starts at xmas. I do feel terribly guilty & do want to work just not be worked to death! My occupational health assessment isn’t until the following week after my GP appoitnment though... do I go back to work before that?

    Surely it will then take time to formulate a plan for my return between OH & school? If they suggest anything like a phased return, which school already rejected saying it’s disruptive for the kids, I’m not sure what else can be negotiated anyway apart from a normal return....!

    Any advice appreciated. My union and ESP said obviously it makes sense to have the assessment before returning ideally (id need cover at work to have the conversation anyway) but it seems a long time away.
  2. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    My personal opinion: stay off until after the meeting with OH. They will help you to return successfully and in a supported way. If you jump the gun you will miss out on that step and may make things worse.

  3. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I would say - wait and see what the GP says. If necessary, can you have a phone conversation about this with her? It is not just your health, but that of your baby which is the concern.
    There is no rush to get back. if you don't get back to work before maternity leave starts, so what? The school will cope. No-one is irreplacable in a school, but your baby is irreplacable in your family.
    Stop worrying about the school - they will cope. People are paid a great deal more than you are to deal with this sort of stuff!
  4. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    Absolutely and categorically do nothing unless it is with the consent and advice of your doctors, midwife and union. You are only in this situation in the first place because it seems likely that your school has wilfully ignored health and safety legislation and placed you and your baby at risk. It is unconscionable that you should volunteer to put yourself back into that situation.

    Your health and your baby's health must come first.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Which bit of doing as you're told on a medical matter by a medical professional are you not understanding here???

    You have been signed off.
    You have an appointment with OH.

    You stay off until your note expires.
    You then seek your doctor's advice once again.

    You certainly don't go back before the 25 days are up!!
  6. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    You must put yourself first. In 20 years you will desperately love your child but this school will be a distant memory. They sound ridiculous. Why is the head so desperate to get you back for a matter of weeks?

    You have my sympathy. I am also heavily pregnant and I don't think there's been a risk assessment done. I've been observed and there's a book scrutiny next week. I am used for form covers far away from the classrooms I teach in and I'm nowhere near a toilet!!! I am going at Xmas and just trying to get through until then. There isn't much concern for pregnant women, in my experience.

    Please, please don't go back until you've seen the GP and OH. NO guilt.
  7. emmysparkle

    emmysparkle New commenter

    I would definitely speak to your GP again and go back after your OH appointment. I had mine today and they were very helpful. OH health will see face to face whether you are ready for work and if so in what capacity and with what adjustments etc. I was worried about mine but I'm glad I went. It showed me that I am no where near fit for work. Don't feel guilty, I have spent most of my time off feeling guilty and I'm realising it helps no-one! You need to do what is best for you
  8. ElizabethElizabeth1

    ElizabethElizabeth1 New commenter

    Thank you. It was exactly that for me too with pressure. I was expected to mark 120 books in a day (I moved secondary to primary this year), I was awaiting a lesson observation in maths (my weakest subject) which was giving me nightmares, I don’t have a TA & desperately need one to teach Maths effectively. I was caught marking some books in a lesson & got told off. I asked to be excused from an event that finished at 8.30pm, was told no & given things to present: the list could go on as I’m sure yours could. It’s a nuisance it’s all being dragged out though but they left calling OH until now...
    agathamorse and 8sycamore like this.
  9. ElizabethElizabeth1

    ElizabethElizabeth1 New commenter

    Mine is over the phone- I hope it will be as helpful! I’m glad yours was. I know it makes sense to wait for that really. I’m not sure if that’s what the school expects me to do. It seems silly to go back full time & then be told a phased return is best.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Apart from anything if OH recommends a phased return and your HT denies the recommendation and then something goes wrong they best have a damn good reason for ignoring the medical advice.
  11. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    Just think, you have something amazing to look forward to. Many of these people have no lives outside of school!
  12. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    You must put yourself and your baby first. You do need to be aware that there is a point, I think at around 36 weeks pregnant, when if you stay on sick leave then your maternity leave will be deemed to have begun. This may mean your maternity pay from your job doesn’t last as long.
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You stay off until after your OH appointment. And maybe off after then.

    Why on earth are you feeling guilty? You are off sick with stress which could cause problems with your pregnancy. Your school care so little about you and health and safety laws they haven't even done a risk assessment! Seriously, listen to the medical experts.
  14. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    No, it needs to be in place before you go back. Something to do with insurance I think. Honestly, I would follow your GP's advice and don't worry about the HT. Pregnancy is a protected characteristic under the equality act and the school has a duty of care towards you and your baby which is why your GP is saying no to you going back until conditions are right for you and why HT has now contacted OH. I understand your guilt but you and your baby come first at this time. The school is playing a dangerous game as you could theoretically hammer them for discrimination if anything happened to you or your baby (god forbid) because of this. Please follow your GP's advice and take care of yourself and your little one. Good luck!
  15. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    Doesn't need to get anywhere near that far (thankfully). There are already grounds for a pregnancy discrimination complaint to be made in respect of failure to risk assess and make appropriate workplace adjustments.

    Good to hear the union is on the case.
  16. ElizabethElizabeth1

    ElizabethElizabeth1 New commenter

    I didn’t prompt for a risk assessment- I probably should have but this is my first pregnancy and I was kind of leaving the business side of things in their hands. I gave them plenty of notice. The anxiety about going back is awful so I really hope they don’t try to throw me in the deep end.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Er, they should be doing a RA without prompting.

    Your doctor does not want you returning.

    Listen to them! Please!
  18. peapicker

    peapicker Star commenter

    It's not your responsibility to prompt for a risk assessment. It is the employer's legal duty.

    Why are you even considering going back against medical advice and knowing your union is being supportive of you?
  19. ElizabethElizabeth1

    ElizabethElizabeth1 New commenter

    I honestly don’t know why I’m doing it to myself- guilt I suppose for my team! Also I feel so flakey as I said I’d come back after being signed off for 2 weeks (one was half term anyway) so they expected me but my GP said no. Then I tried to go back after that 2 weeks phased & the school didnt want that so I’ve been off another 2 weeks. I assumed I’d go back this week after my GP appointment & told them I would as my sick pay would run out (I was wrong-it won’t) but now I’m waiting for this OH call. No idea of the schools expectation of when I return & whether it’s before the OH because I said I was coming back- not that their expectation counts really. It’s all just very limbo like & I’m cross with myself that after nearly 5 weeks off I’m still torturing myself & freaking out about going back!
    agathamorse likes this.

    ROSIEGIRL Lead commenter

    All of which implies that you're not really ready to go back.

    Take your time. Go to OH.
    agathamorse likes this.

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