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Stress! WRS! And Interviews for non teaching posts

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by daisydayz13, Oct 24, 2017.

  1. daisydayz13

    daisydayz13 New commenter

    I’m off work with stress due to both family issues and also WRS. I cannot see me returning to teaching due to both of these stressors are not going to go away and my family and my health needs to come first. Upon reading my schools absence policy I discovered that at the request of occupational health, there could be an option for deployment either within the school or within the local council. I tracked down an ex-colleague who I knew left due to stress and was told that with the help of their union they were redeployed as a TA.

    Another dilemma. Whilst I’ve been off sick I’ve been applying for other non teaching jobs. I’ve secured two interviews for the start of November. Starts dates TBC. However, my sick note runs out end November. Because the jobs are non teaching, I’ve put my line manager and another member of staff down as my referees with the request that my referees aren’t contacted unless I am offered one of the jobs.
    So, the dilemma is....do I just resign now and gain my freedom? Or do I hang fire, see if I am offered one of the jobs and suffer the consequences from SLT when I resign and ask to be released early??? Or do I cancel the interviews and try to go down the redeployment route. As a single parent and sole breadwinner this isn’t exactly helping my stress!
  2. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    I've just seen this post, and another, on the end of another thread.

    Here's something you need to consider - you cannot go for an interview whilst off sick, and that's even for a non teaching job. You're signed off, the HT gets a call that you need a reference for a job you've been offered - not good.

    I think, from what I know of your situation, you might be best going with what OH have suggested. You can be in work, and apply for other jobs. At the moment, you are not well, and I would take their advice.
  3. Wotton

    Wotton Lead commenter

    You will also need to consider the resignation dates and notice periods.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Apologies, but your advice is incorrect.
    You need to contact HT and ask for permission to go to interview.
    Absence in this case is work related stress, so the sense in getting a different job is quite clear!
    A HT is not stupid, they can see this too.
    If your HT refuses to stand as referee in this instance and despite the above reasons, you do have grounds to present this to the union, who can make noises about it. You are making an effort to improve your health, let's put it that way, and a refusal of your HT to assist in this is clearly not helpful to the situation. As you have not resigned, it could be seen as particularly unconstructive-they would in effect be forcing you to stay there out of pragmatism, despite the illness that the workplace is causing. That's the line you need to take.
    They could refuse to allow you to go to interview, but they would be quite aware of the lack of cooperation this represents to you, and how you could feasibly have recourse via your union. It is not the standard HT thinking to choose a course of action leading to maximum resistance.
    Contact them and ask. Do not simply go ahead with interviews without telling though, because that way your absence and integrity can be called into question.
    Take to union if they refuse. Indeed take to union if unsure how to word the sentiment as I describe above.
    JohnJCazorla and daisydayz13 like this.
  5. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    If a doctor has stated you're not fit to work - you're not fit to go to an interview.

    So rather than contacting the union, you're better off contacting your GP.

    If they say you're still not well - that's it.

    A HT might say yes you can go to the interview. But if you're well enough for that, they might expect you to return to work afterwards.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Again, that is not factually accurate advice. It is pertinent to consider the nature of being ill. True, you need a GP to certify this, and this you would then present to HT.
    If say, you had WRS in a teacher workplace, you could seek work in a place which does not carry the same sort of stresses.
    The advice is to talk to HT and see what they say. It is absolutely not true that being off work automatically assumes you to be unfit for interview.
    It's called communicating with somebody who has the capacity to understand where you are coming from despite their authority over you.
    It happens., and to state that it cannot happen is misleading advice.
    dog_walker likes this.
  7. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    Fine. I bow to your greater wisdom.

    Forgive me for thinking that being signed off (which is a legal document) could cause problems for someone if they go to an interview.
    Not fit to work generally means that. For any job.

    So yes, best to go to a GP before calling the HT.

    But clearly you are right.

  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't have anything like as much wisdom as you @CWadd, but I fear on this one you may not be completely correct.

    I went for a teaching interview when off with workplace related anxiety. My doctor was clear on the fit to work thingy that the anxiety was caused by the workplace, not the idea of working, nor the profession. We were also in the early stages of negotiating an exit strategy, which would include an agreed reference and me not bringing a grievance.

    My union contacted the head for me and asked permission, given the above, for me to apply for posts elsewhere and attend interview if invited. My head was only too happy to agree and my GP thought it was the best possible solution.

    I think it possibly depends on the nature of the illness and the cause.
    However, definitely do not even start down the route of applying without the permission of the head.
    Pomz and sbkrobson like this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Work with your union to successfully and professionally terminate this employment.
    Start to look for new work elsewhere.
    Dixie_Stamford likes this.
  10. felicity5183

    felicity5183 Occasional commenter

    I was advised by the union that if the doctor has explicitly said that you ARE fit enough to go for another interview but you are NOT fit enough to go to work, then that is a medical opinion. The head has a duty of care to respect a medical opinion, especially in the case of WRS.

    If the school require written confirmation from the GP, ask him/her to provide it. (Providing of course that they actually said you are fit enough to attend an interview).

    As previous posters have said, getting a new job will drastically improve your health by getting rid of the factor that is causing it - your workplace.
    daisydayz13 likes this.
  11. lyme

    lyme New commenter

    I was told by the unions that you can attend interviews (without the asking the HT) whilst off if the role is outside of your current role. This would,be deemed as you trying to address your situation and make the changes required.
    felicity5183 and daisydayz13 like this.
  12. daisydayz13

    daisydayz13 New commenter

    Thank you for all of your responses so far.

    I have spoken to my union as they have just looked at my case. They have suggested a couple of things as a way forward
    1. yes, i can go for interviews whilst off sick. if i was offered a job, then the union would negotiate a termination of contract to allow me early release from my contract.
    2. the union can put forward a request for a settlement agreement whereby i can also also attend interviews and accept a new job.

    Based on the fact that due to my family circumstance I cannot see me continuing in teaching option 2 looks like my way forward.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I really would take care here. Theere are, as others have said, conflicting opinions on this on the Internet, but I have yet to see one that comes with any real legal expertise. I certainly would not rely on any TES posts! It strikes me as possible that going to an interview while on sick leave without permission could be counted as gross misconduct.

    However, the school gets nothing from being awkward, given your situation. I think the best thing is to learn from @caterpillartobutterfly and ask for permission.
  14. lyme

    lyme New commenter

    I did and got the job
    sabrinakat, Pomz and daisydayz13 like this.
  15. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    No advice to give, really, but just wanted to wish you all the best and hope you recover quickly from your WRS. Take care!
    daisydayz13 likes this.
  16. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    I had an interview whilst off sick and it was for another school.
  17. daisydayz13

    daisydayz13 New commenter

    Update...school have said yes to a settlement agreement but do not see the need for an agreed reference. I'm meeting my union rep to go through details. But I've said I would prefer an agreed reference just for peace of mind.
    Gong for an interview today for a non-teaching job...yes, only 5 weeks Holiday, but looking forward to less stress and a balanced work-life balance. Wish me luck
    sabrinakat and skellig1182 like this.
  18. skellig1182

    skellig1182 Established commenter

    Did your current school know or did you have to get GP/ union support?
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The Employer agrees to provide the Employee with a reference, and when responding to a written or verbal request for a reference from a prospective employer, will do so in a manner which is consistent with the agreed reference.

    It's very common to include an agreed reference and, for your peace of mind, I encourage you to hold out for that.

    Draft a reference yourself and suggest that this be the agreed reference that will be adopted. Ask the employer to peruse it and edit if they feel so inclined. Then review the document together and enshrine it within the contract.

    They really should have no hesitation in doing this and you can make it even easier for them to comply by writing one yourself!
    Piranha, daisydayz13 and MehreenQ like this.
  20. daisydayz13

    daisydayz13 New commenter

    Thank you for this information @grumpydogwoman

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