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Off with stress and anxiety letter received from work ..... Advice needed

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by minicooper53, Jan 9, 2016.

  1. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    Hi everyone

    Have been signed off since December with stress and anxiety related to work. I have received a letter from work stating that I either return to work after my sick note runs out or sickness and absence policy will commence starting with a visit to my home ... This has got me in even more anxious and cried so much. Please anyone with any advice ? I'm going to see gp next week .
  2. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    Get on to your union immediately, if you have one.

    Better informed posters will be along shortly with the details of how wrong, even possibly illegal, this is. Can you bring your GP appointment forwards? They may want to renew your note straight away.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  3. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    You don't have to have anybody in your home who isn't welcome. If a meeting is necessary then it can sometimes be arranged at a mutually agreed neutral location.
    Get your union up to date with recent events and so that they can make sure they can attend when/if a meeting is arranged.
    Have you got a copy of the absence policy? If not, you need to request one so that you and your union can refer to it and make sure that your school are compliant with it.
    Given that your absence is relatively short and that your school are stepping things up then union advice is your most important route at the moment.
    In the meantime try and find some quiet and calming activities to help you find a bit of inner peace. I know it's difficult but it's important not to get into that place where your mind is going around in circle. We write it often on here but your health is the most important thing at the moment, not your school.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  4. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    I can request a copy of the sickness and absence policy They said, also that the meeting can take place in a mutually convenient place.

    I rang Union yesterday before I got letter so will be on first thing Monday ... I just feel that I have to go back now I'm a wreck
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Who, exactly, was this communication from? I'm interested to know which numpty at your school thinks that threatening to come to your house (did they say "We'll send the boys round", by any chance?) is an appropriate or professional way to conduct this matter.
  6. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    You must only go back to work when your doctor thinks you're well enough.
    I know it's very upsetting to get letters like this but try not to overthink things. Your union will be able to help on Monday.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You do not need to go back if you are ill.

    All this means is that now you have been off for a while, then school needs to find a way to manage the long term absence and will be following the policy to do so. This is a good thing, compared to them ignoring the policy entirely!

    The policy will definitely not say they have to come to your house, nor make any mention of doing so.
  8. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I am glad you have your union involved. You do NOT have to go back if your doctor has signed you off as too unwell to work.

    I really do not like the sound of what you have explained to us. I would class such an approach to a sick employee as bullying. They cannot insist on a meeting in your home. Your employer has both a statutory and contractual duty to ensure that you are not made ill as a consequence of workplace stress.

    @TheoGriff has a helpful template of a letter that can be sent to tell the HT that you are ill and should not be contacted.

    GPs are often good at writing firm letters to employers stating that you are ill and must not be harassed.
  9. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    My sick note runs out next week and so in the letter it says that when I return I will have an interview if not then I have been given a date that the head will come to my house or arrange to meet elsewhere ?

    It also states I must inform the head of my gp appointment next week and the outcome asap
  10. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    So maybe your GP will think you need another one?
    ONLY if your GP's assessment is that you are well enough to have a meeting. You do NOT have to accept the Head coming to your home.

    You should tell your employer if the GP signs you off for a further period. You do NOT have to tell the Head the outcome in respect of diagnosis, treatment or prognosis. That is sensitive personal information and is none of the Head's business. The Head will know only what your GP writes as the reason for absence on your sick note.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How distressing for you! But you must (a) get your union on the case (b) see your GP pronto so that you can tell her/him about the demands being made, get medical agreement that you shouldn't be involved, and send this letter.

    Only if it is true, of course.


    Dear X Date

    Thank you for suggesting a meeting to discuss my on-going absence from my duties at school. I appreciate the fact that you are trying to support me during this period of ill health.

    However, I am afraid that the advice from my GP is that I should not attend any sort of meeting at present, either on school premises or elsewhere, as this would be prejudicial to my health and thus further delay my return to work.

    You will understand that in order to ensure that my health improves and I am therefore able to return to my duties as soon as possible, I must follow the clear advice of my medical practitioner and not undertake any work at all related to school, nor deal with queries from you as Headteacher or anyone else.

    I would therefore be grateful if you would ensure that all my colleagues are aware that they should not contact me about school matters. Thank you for this.

    I am sorry that you are being inconvenienced by my absence, but I am hopeful that by following strictly the advice that I have been given, my health will improve sufficiently to enable me to resume my duties at the end of the current predicted period of absence.


    Best wishes for a period of peace to regain your health.

  12. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    They wanted to know why I was off and over the phone I said I didn't want to discuss.... In the letter it states that they are concerned that I am off with so called stress and I haven't bn in the job long and that they made me fully aware of the challenges when I started .... It makes me feel like a failure
  13. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Please create a log of all these communications, (content and tone) so that you can give this to your Union . In a similar situation (although I wasn't signed off sick) my union rep offered to state that all communication with me should be via them ( it didn't come to that but knowing that was an option was very helpful
  14. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Good advice here from other posters - l'd just add that when you are fit and we'll and back at school you may wish to consider whether this SLT is one you actually want to work for- they seem totally inconsiderate.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I always ask this (!) but is there any possibility that you are covered by disability discrimination legislation - perhaps as a consequence of a long-term condition?

    Teaching is an inherently stressful job and employers are entited to expect that most teachers can cope with the demands of the job until or unless they are told that the stress is making you ill. Your employer has both a statutory duty and a contractual duty for your health and well-being. It is just NOT the case that your employer can tell you that you just have to suck up the stress.

    How DARE they refer to it as 'so called stress'!!!!!
    Mrsmumbles and notsonorthernlass like this.
  16. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    I just keep re reading letter , also as I was off ill the last day of term they want to know if I was fit for work over the holidays if not they want a back dated sick note ... Or it will go down as another absence ...

    Apparently I was off ill because I was tired ??? I never once said that to anyone when I rang in
  17. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Another thing to go into your log.
    Try not to re read the letter. From what you have said, they seem determined to 'shoot themselves in the foot' . Your Union should be able to deal with this. (If not there are experts on here who can advise you how to get the support you need.)
  18. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    I just keep crying , it states that they would appreciate a call after my gp appointment to discuss things ...
  19. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Once you have seen your GP, assuming /she signs you off again, just write Theo's letter or ask your GP to write for you. Be sure to tell your GP about the pressure your school is putting on you and how it is making you feel.
    notsonorthernlass likes this.
  20. minicooper53

    minicooper53 Established commenter

    My Union stated before that I do not have to make any contact with them other than sending in sick note before other one runs out .... I feel that I am under pressure to return and that if I do return things will not change . I am having to restrain children regularly and dealing with behaviour is a massive part of my job... I don't feel like I am teaching at the moment . In the letter it says that before I went off ill they were going to discuss an action plan and support for me but that I went off sick before this happened ...: I told them before I went off sick I was at breaking point and they said they didn't want me to get to that but it was too late .

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