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Eight magic words. Sickness route?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by johnsmithson, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. johnsmithson

    johnsmithson New commenter

    "Six months full pay Six months half pay."

    This phrase "eight magic words" was used by someone else in a previous thread to describe a way to possibly leave teaching if one is feeling persecuted or pressured to leave by senior management.

    We all know someone who has invoked WRS in a legitimate but useful way to preserve their own sanity.

    I would appreciate experiences of those who have gone down this road, and how things turned out in the end i.e. being finished on the sick or even disciplined?
  2. Abitofeverything

    Abitofeverything Occasional commenter

    You're making it sound like a choice that you might fancy taking...Either you need this desperately or you don't, no?
    border_walker and BioEm like this.
  3. 1970devon

    1970devon Occasional commenter

    As someone who has just been dismissed with notice before reaching my six months full and six months half it is by no means a guaranteed exit route. I am being instructed by OH and GP, because of very real and physical health issues, that I am not fit for work but my School decided to dismiss me. No success in appeal. Now deciding whether a tribunal is worth the hassle.
    It slightly irks me that you see it as a possible planned route. But everything irks me at the moment!
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I hope that's not the case.
    Schools will quickly become inured to the concept of WRS as meaning incapacitated, and the charge that "you have chosen to do this" will manifest itself more openly than now.
    If you want to leave, then leave.
    If you want to go off sick, do it with a view to getting better, not with a view to spinning it out so you can create a safety net for when you leave.
    It's really important to retain integrity to the concept of sick pay . So so many negative consequences if not...not least to those who do not actually choose to go off work unwell.

    No, we don't all know somebody who has tried this. Please don't try to formalise pulling a sicky as a legitimate opt out when really what you should be doing is simply changing jobs.
  5. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I doubt anyone does this because they are a bit fed up. Having seen someone go down this route because of a physical illness I just couldn't bring myself to plead sickness when my career went t***s up. My nemesis did appreciate it and did actually offer me a financial incentive to go in the end. He told me he had expected me to go off sick. What a nasty piece of work.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You do actually have to be ILL. And tell the GP you can't possibly work because of symptoms related to stress.

    You certainly could lie about that when what you really meant was that you wanted to get your own back by f-ing off and this was your way of getting some kind of revenge.

    I couldn't live with myself.

    Legitimate but useful. Not quite sure what that means. Legitimate. That bit I "get". But they're really mutually exclusive. If you were well (and who doesn't want to be well) you'd be working and earning. If you're unwell the sick pay isn't so much useful as an entitlement.

    But you could so easily be found out. And you can still be dismissed on grounds of ill health as you've just been told!
  7. 8sycamore

    8sycamore Occasional commenter

    I went off with wrs years ago. Two weeks. I went back as soon as I could, and handed in my notice while I was off.

    I want to share my experience of it because I didn't "invoke" it, think about or plan it. I was in an intolerable workplace - made so because of the management.

    One day, I snapped after being pushed too far. I walked out, got in my car and went to the Dr's. I walked into to her room, started to try and explain and broke down in huge, racking sobs. It was awful. She decided to sign me off. I didn't ask her to.

    I have been lucky enough to work in a fantastic, and a couple of not so fab but not terrible, schools since then. I haven't had a day off sick since that episode years ago.

    If you have stress, truly have stress, then I couldn't sympathise more. It isn't the same as irritation with work, or feeling a bit under the weather. It was a horrid time in my life.

    If you feel really unhappy at work, either look for another job or consider another profession. I wouldn't wish that awful experience on anyone.
  8. BioEm

    BioEm Occasional commenter

    As someone who didn’t go off with WRS due to fear of being thought of badly/being seen as someone who was on the make when the opposite was true (I really should have done and am still suffering the long term health consequences as a result, despite having left teaching) this veiled ‘easy way out’ suggestion from the OP makes me pretty angry.

    There’s a big difference between wanting to leave teaching and the job stressing you out so much that you get genuinely ill. Leave teaching if you want, but don’t muddy the waters by claiming to be suffering from WRS just to get a payday. You might not get it and you won’t help the cause of your colleagues who are genuinely going through hell if/when you get found out.

    If I’m misreading the OP I’m happy to be put right.
  9. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    If you want ‘revenge’ (like I did when I was bullied in a teaching job, many years ago now, and accepted a civil service job) I suggest you :

    * resign 2 weeks before Easter (with one month’s notice!) stating categorically you are not coming back

    * forget to mention to SLT you had ‘volunteered’ to teach the department’s exam revision classes over the holidays as your dept colleague (2 man dept, just me & the HoD) had booked an overseas holiday to attend a family wedding !

    • reassure your HoD that you would teach these revision classes as a goodwill gesture and mark of friendship “you can count on me, last thing I want to do is let you down, as a mate and all that” (despite the HoD being a bigger prik than the SLT) !

    * ‘forget to attend’ the revision class, which 22 kids turned up for to find no teacher and were left unattended for an hour and caused havoc on the school site !

    * ‘forget’ to mark your set of coursework submissions prior to the HoD moderating them (just 2 teachers in the dept, the HoD moderated mine and I moderated his) !

    * act shocked that the HoD can’t access the resources & lesson plans you left on the shared area on the school server for the school cross-curricular Enterprise Day you’d planned before resigning ! (or did I accidentally leave most folders empty!)

    * remind the visiting business speakers, careers service, armed forces recruitment teams, local education business partnership etc to attend, and assume the SLT / HoD would do it ! “their contact details were on a spreadsheet in the resources folder on the shared area on the server”

    * refuse the offer of a week’s supply contract to set up and run the Enterprise Day when panic finally set in ! “we’d like you to run the day despite you leaving six weeks ago, it was always our intention to keep you involved”

    * Or fail to stifle the chuckles when you hear friendly ex-colleagues share stories of the chaos caused when some of my invited visitors turned up on the day (one with armoured vehicles and mobile commando assault course) to find the event had been cancelled and usual classes going ahead !

    Reading this back for proofreading before pressing the ‘post reply’ button I hate myself ...!!! (Slightly ). The school went into special measures, my HoD went on long term sick leave with WRS but my exam results that year were one of the best in the school ...!!

    We, as teachers, are sometimes too nice for our own good. Maybe we need to stand up for ourselves more !
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  10. lizzyshep

    lizzyshep New commenter

    Did you really do all this??? I am gobsmacked.
  11. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I don't know anyone who has invoked sickness absence to teach a school a lesson.

    I do know people who have gone sick - one because she was incapacitated with ME, another who had a nervous breakdown due to a stressful divorce- but not someone who has done it to give the school a payback. Both returned, were properly supported on return. The first colleague has now retired, the other still teaching and happy.

    This post, like your others, implies you have a fixed idea of schools and are fishing for comments to support your view. You're either ill or you're not. And if you go sick when you aren't, you could find yourself out of a job pretty quickly.
  12. pleasemiss__

    pleasemiss__ Occasional commenter

    I don’t know of anyone going off for that length of time. People I do know who took time off due to mental health concerns were at near break down point. I can see why someone might be tempted to manipulate the system but, for me, id rather cut my ties with my stressful work place as soon as possible. I’m fortunate to be able to do so, of course, without financial worries. I’d be happy to be released without pay from my current role, (well, after October pay- I earned that!) rather than have to wait until Christmas.
  13. Robberto

    Robberto Occasional commenter

    I did it. I took three months full pay in the end after reorganisation and sackings ongoing for three full years. The atmosphere was very dog eat dog and I clung on watching everyone I respected leave or get booted. When it was my turn, I applied for an was offered another role. After two days and the first meeting I realised I wasn't a dog eat dog person and gave up.

    Three months later I found another role and resigned. I regret 'having' to do it. And technically that's not true...it was my choice but for three years that place was like living in a war zone and every day you never knew who would leave, resign or get escorted off. I just thought stuff 'em. Something I never thought I would do.

    There does come a point where extreme bullying, even in the form of legal reorganisations, takes its toll and I no longer play by the preferred 'moral' game. It took me three years. But I did it. And very glad I did.
  14. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    Yes. I was off with WRS for 4 months in the year leading up to my resignation and 2 months the previous year. I was ill and in a dark place, definitely not fit and well enough to teach. The school were unsupportive, ignored the proposed return to work plans put forward by occ health, kept dismissing how ill I actually was and threatened an informal action plan when I initially returned from WRS leave. I hated the school SLT (bully boys) and my HoD who knew I was genuinely ill but was simply an SLT puppet. I found out the HoD had interviewed for my job (to start the following Sept) but both HoD and SLT denied it. “was just a chat with a friend of mine to see if he could help IF you were ill again” I was being pushed out. If I hadn’t left, I would have been managed out. So I applied for jobs out of teaching, got one (references were out of this world, amazingly) but school insisted I had to see out the academic year. I called their bluff and just resigned (the new job wouldn’t wait that long). Thinking back now, no regrets, loved the chaos I caused, they deserved it ! X
  15. mollyhog

    mollyhog Occasional commenter

    This is obviously a wind-up to get people's backs up. A bit insensitive to those who genuinely do suffer from WRS. I think myself extremely lucky that I have never worked for more than one term in a job that was stressful enough to make me ill - but I came close. The one term I did spend in that situation nearly drove me to a break-down - I was VERY lucky to be offered alternative employment before it came to that. Anyone who suffers WRS really, really suffers.
    We should be here to support each other, not undermine those who are suffering.
  16. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Whereas I am disgusted.
    I have been off two or three times in my career with WRS and in each case was simply too ill to work. I could no more have gone to work than fly to the moon. It was not 'legitimate but useful', it was lifesaving.

    I think I am nearly as appalled by this question as the idea that one causes chaos and leaves without giving contractual notice as 'revenge'.
    In all cases, when recovered I returned to work. A bit like most illnesses really.

    The only person I know (in rl) who has been off long enough to go on to half pay, was off having cancer treatment. They were off for over a year, but the school kept them on half pay for longer than six months as a goodwill type gesture and they also returned to work once recovered enough to do so.
  17. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    Pleased to hear you returned to work after spells of WRS. Your school clearly supported you through the illness and your return. Mine didn’t. If they had I doubt I’d have felt angry enough to seek ‘revenge’. I was leaving anyway, whether I instigated my departure or the school had to. I suppose the school got what they wanted. The kids didn’t suffer (my exam grades were strong) only the HoD & SLT priks. No regrets - I hope you are never pushed to a position where leaving chaos behind you seems therapeutic !
    mordrid, agathamorse and Fluffy_Koala like this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Only in one of them, where they couldn't have been more supportive.
    The second I left shortly after in the usual way of things. They weren't really supportive or unsupportive.
    The third I left without quite completing the phased return with support from my union and a settlement agreement. They were actively nasty and bullying.

    However, in none of them would the kind of revenge you describe have ever crossed my mind.
    monicabilongame and Pomza like this.
  19. AnotherDayTowardsRetirement

    AnotherDayTowardsRetirement Occasional commenter

    As I say, I was on my way out of the school one way or another. It wasn’t planned revenge, but I knew by not doing certain tasks would likely cause chaos. I just wanted out, and fast - but the school didn’t share my plans and made work life especially difficult for me. Starting a new job with just two weeks left of term meant not every loose end was tied up and I only the tasks on the ‘leaving plan’ given to me by SLT. I knew lots of key tasks were left off the idiot list but I disliked their hostility so didn’t remind them or just get on and do them. Any chaos was caused by bullying SLT oversight. “Not my fault, I did all the tasks on the list you gave me”. Does it make me bad if I still chuckle about the therapeutic impact of my ‘revenge’ ?!?
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Unprofessional, yes.
    Pomza likes this.

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