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Returning to work after bereavement

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by pinarello, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. pinarello

    pinarello New commenter

    My mum died suddenly last week after a very only being ill a week. I can't think straight and I'm in total shock Not worked since, but can't afford to go without pay much longer considering the Christmas holidays are coming up. I do a combination of day to day and short term and have a handful of regular schools. I was in a short term role ( up until Christmas) in one of my regular schools when my mum fell ill. The school have been great, but I don't know what to do. On the one hand I need to go back from a finacial point of view, but I'm not at all sure I can cope. Anyone else been in a similar situation?
  2. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. The time of your message shows that work really is out of the question for you at the moment. (My issue is simple insomnia).
    You must go to your GP and get signed off as unfit to work.
    You must then apply for any benefits that your are eligible for. That might be Universal Credit in your location or it might be specific sickness benefits.

    Are you living alone? Do you rent?You could be eligible for Housing Benefit and Council Tax relief.
    Lara mfl 05 and Corvuscorax like this.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    good advice, although the time of posting doesn't necessarily mean anything, the buses leaving my area at this time are so full you can't get a seat! that includes teachers on their way to work.

    lots of people do go back to work this soon after a bereavement. That doesn't mean its right or wrong, or that you have any choice in the matter of whether it is right or wrong for you, but you might be fine.

    good luck, either way xx
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. pinarello

    pinarello New commenter

    Not eligible for any benefits, as my husband is working. I'm just finding it so hard and I'm not sleeping. I took two weeks when my dad died and I was in my own job then. I found losing my dad hard enough and he had been ill several years. This is worse, not because I feel more for my mum than my dad, but simply because it's my last parent and it's so sudden and unexpected.
    On the one hand, if I go back now, at least I'll be in a school where I'm known and have friends rather than somewhere random.
    BertieBassett2 and agathamorse like this.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As already said everyone is different. A sudden death, as my father had, left me 'in a bubble', totally out of touch with reality.
    it is possible working with known colleagues and having some form of structure to your day, may help you, or it may not. You may have to play it by ear.
    pepper5, sebedina and BertieBassett2 like this.
  6. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    What you have in your favour is a familiar workplace. My mum died when I was on long term supply and I took two weeks off. I went back to work because I wanted to and really liked the school. I suppose my case is different because my mum was 95 so it wasn’t really unexpected. Could you try a phased return to ease you back in? Take care.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You may still be eligible for some benefits if you have paid enough National Insurance in the 2016-2017 and the 2017-2018 tax years. It's the Contributory benefit, rather than the means-tested one. You pay the premiums (NI) ofthe State insurance policy and you claim on it when you cannot work or cannot get work.
    It is paid irrespective of your household income and irrespective of the level of your savings. It's around £73 per week. Not great but better than nothing.You alos get an NI credit to keep your record updated for future State pension etc. I used to work at a Jobcentre.

    It used to be called Incapacity Benefit and is now Employment Support Allowance.

    The various teaching Unions should also have benevolent funds for members suffering illness, hardship or bereavement. Those will have their own rules on levels of savings. One does not pay out if you have over £4k in savings for instance.
    pepper5 and sebedina like this.
  8. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    When it comes to complex emotions like bereavement, you have to let your own body decide. You need time to process the shock and on average it takes around 3 weeks off before you can begin to process things normally. In a job like teaching, where it is so unpredictable, it's best to take the time off.

    As much as you need the money, it may be better to work out how to cope with at least another week off work. Also Christmas is a very emotional and familial time, so memories, good and bad, will come flooding back.

    Put you first and take time to process what has happened.
    MissGeorgi and pepper5 like this.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Sound advice from catbefriender.
    pepper5 and catbefriender like this.
  10. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I completely agree. It does not matter what role you do you need to go back at the right time and only you know when that is. My mother died suddenly three months after I joined a school as HT and two weeks after an Ofsted inspection. I took 3 days off but went back far too soon and I should have taken more time.

    I appreciate that the financial aspect is a major factor but only go back when you feel that you can cope. I would possibly ask the agency for a one day assignment and build up from there.
  11. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    God's prayers and blessings with you.

    I think you are in shock. It is a terrible shock when we lose a parent and this can take weeks just to get our heads around such an event.

    If I were you, try and re-structure your finances so that you can grieve. Bring a lodger into your home, or do balance transfers or whatever you need to ease the burden.

    You need to take care of yourself and not rush back to work. It is the most difficult time of your life so you need to be gentle on yourself.
    pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. pinarello

    pinarello New commenter

    Thankyou for everyone's support. I did go back this week, but only because this week is the last I have guaranteed work at a school where I have lots of friends and support. It's been difficult, and I've no doubt that if I'd been on contract I'd still be off. Seriously considering not working next week. Can't cope with somewhere different. I'm sure I've gone back too early, but I'll see the week out and take it from there. Dreading Christmas.
  13. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Focus on the positive, more dough in the bank!:)

    And re Christmas, take it one day at a time. As I said, 3 weeks is when things begin to settle. What you are going through is a normal process.

    Re going to a new work environment, isn't a good idea.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.

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