Will I get sacked?

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hello again guys!

I have had a bad episode with my arthritis as I have been taken off my last medication methotrexate around 7/8 weeks ago and have really struggled to live my life.

I have been in and out of work for the past 3/4 weeks but have had tome off previous to this as well and my absence score is quite bad at work. I know that if I was in medication still I would be able to work and I have done everything I possibly can to speed up the process of getting my new medication but unfortunately I don't control the nhs!

I went back to the hospital on Tuesday and theu confirmed that I could start my new meds and would take around 2/3 weeks but in the meantime gave me steriods to take to help with my pain and she found alot of swollen and tender joints when assessing me.

My manager has sounded really annoyed with me over the past few days this week and everyone else has been supportive saying the manager is in a bad mood this week and everything will be fine when I get back but I really don't think it will.

I don't want to lose my job I'm only 23 years ild and it's not just my job I will lose it's my life. When I'm ill I can't do anything it's not just work, I can't go for food with friends or go out with friends like every other normal 23 year old does and it completely takes over my life when I have a bad episode and I don't think work understand that.

I know that arthritis is classed as a disability and I am part of the union but I just wondered if any of you guys could help me with some advise or similar stories? As I'm really scared a tthe moment!

I have worked for this company for 5 years and I recently moved to another city but still in the same company. The old city I worked in although they of course needed me back in work my manager was helpful and supportive. This manager isn't at alll and seems moody with me on the phone. He never keeps me upto date with what's going on at work and he never says I hope you start to feel better or anything. He also this morning asked my for a sick note for 5 days, mon-fri this week, as I had last Thursday and Friday off holiday and don't work weekends. Is that correct do I have to provide a sick not for that?

Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks!

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Laura, I had to deal with work while ill. Long story. In your case. I would discuss with the union and see if they can offer any thoughts on how you should handle things. You should probably cooperate as much as you can. Hope things work out for you.
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  • Posted

    I'm afraid i can't help you with the question of the sick note. I just don't know.

    But it does look as if your boss's unfriendly approach wouldn't be helping you much with all that you're already going through. People with RA do not need extra stress on their hands, and this sounds like a super stressful situation.

    Maybe next time you go into work, take all your medical reports and ask to sit down with him and just in a very calm way explain your situation and show him the reports if necessary, and tell him that his support would probably speed up the chances of your return to work.... something like that.

    I feel for you. You are far too young to be deprived of a regular young person's life with this condition. But take heart... with the right medication and care, things really should even out and get you back on your feet and leading a normal pain-free life again.

    It just takes patience.

    That's why we're called patients....Because we must be patient!

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    • Posted

      I called my doctor after searching online regarding sick notes and my doctor said I don't need one for 5 days and when I called my manager back he said it was his mistake and that he didn't need one until it was over 7 days so that's one problem dealt with!

      Thank you for your replies! It's nice to have some support from somewhere at least!

      I have gathered my last three medication reports from my RA doctor that was sent to my GP explaining everything about my visit so I am going to take them into work and tell them to photocopy them and keep for themselves. I also have a leaflet for my new medication that I have ready to give them so they can understand what I will be taking. Sometimes I just feel like I have to justify myself like they think I'm lying! And I just don't think it should be like that! I guess it's just hard for someone to understand when they have no idea?

      Patience is the key!!

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  • Posted

    Hello Laura, sorry to hear of your plight. It's bad enough having RA, especially at your age without some prat of a boss giving you a shedload of stress. Jeez, I've got no time for these types of people and have put one or two in their place in the past - no messing!  Obviously this doesn't help you as you are not in a position to do so and my manner of approaching things is not for everyone and could make matters worse.  Rant over!

    Don't think I can help much with your situation as I've been retired for 10 years so am not up on current employment laws. However, what I would do is get the sick note your boss has requested ASAP to cover yourself. It used to be, and I think it still is, that employers could not sack you for a six month period if you were absent from work. Not sure how things stand with intermittent absence as in your case. As previously mentioned - get some advice off your Union as that's what they are there for. If finances allow, it might pay you to go on permenant sick leave until your meds have been sorted  and hopefully get you back to somewhere near normality. Can I ask what new medication they are putting you on?

    Sorry, I can't be of much assistance. Just hope things work out for you.

    Make sure you see your Union ASAP,  It might help if you could get a letter from your consultant to show your manager. Though this could take time as they are busy people. If all else fails make an appointment with Citizens Advice Buaraeu.

    Good luck


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  • Posted

    Hi Laura

    The NRAS do a booklet for employees  called I want to work.

    i found it useful when I was struggling to get into work at one point  just to know where I stood. RA is a disability and employers have to consider how to enable us to continue work. For me , my boss was ok for me to phone and come in a bit late if I had a flare- but I did try my utmost not to miss work, even if I came home and basically crashed out. But it seems to depend on having a sympathetic boss and knowing where you stand with illness and absence. Great you found out about the doctor s note not needed! 

    Though I haven't used it NRAS has a help line too and could give you advice on where you stand as an employee. Better to find out now than to leave it to the next tricky situation.

    best wishes


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  • Posted

    Hi Laura - been in a similar situation to you - does yourcompany have an ooccupational health department? If so, either get your manager to refer you or refer yourself if you are able - you may find them helpful and they may make recommendations to your manager about how to make it easier for you to work.

    Also ask your rheumatologist if you can see an occupational therapist. They will help you with equipment and techniques that will make every day tasks more manageable. They may also make recommendations to your manager.

    Employers have a duty of care to their employees and if you have a disability they are obliged to make "reasonable adjustments" to make it possible for you to continue working.

    Also if your manager fails to follow the advice of an OT and an occupational therapist it will make your case stronger should your absence lead to any kind of disciplinary action.

    I hope this is helpful, but remember that stress can make RA worse and maybe look around for something else job wise as I discovered Iin the end , I would rather have less money and less stress than be fighting for my survival in a job with unsupportive management.

    RA is hard enough without adding extra stress into the mix.

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for your replies and helpful advise!!

    I am not looking forward to work tomorrow as it is always nerve racking going back after being off a couple of weeks but I'm also still in a lot of pain!

    My new medication is going to be Enbrel and methotrexate together.

    I think we do have occupational health at my work but I would have to check up on that. I desperately need some help from work as I do not want to lose my life and give up work at my age. I also cannot afford to do so or go on kong term sick as I have my own home and have for the past 5 years and have to pay for bills etc so would struggle to live and this is another reason why I want to get ack to work incase they stop paying me for being off.

    I have tried my best to get in to work and always do but since I have moved fron one city to the other but in the same company, they will not let me come in and work the afternoons or if I'm aving a bad morning but feel better later in the day they make me take the full day off.

    I have all my letters ready to show my manager when I'm back i work tomorrow and hopefully this will help them understand what I am going through.

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  • Posted

    I was on enbrel + methotrexate. I started feeling the benefit in just 48 hours after my first injection, and as I recall, felt a lot better within a week or two. This is why I asked what meds you were starting. Obviously there are no guarantees it will be as quick acting for you, or even work at all, but it  is not uncommon for people to get a rapid response with enbrel. .

    It saddens me when I hear of someone trying their best to work and are hampered by an unhepful management - they/he should appreciate your efforts. Anyway, I'm sure you know the best course of action in your own situation and showing him letters from your doctors etc is a good move.

    Hopfully enbrel will get you back to somewhere near normality as it did with me, and things work out for you. Do let us know how you get on.

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  • Posted

    Hi Laura,

    How stressful for you. I echo the other very sensible replies you have had regarding contacting your union etc. If you can have a quiet word with your boss and educate him regarding the nature of the disease and reassure him that once your meds are sorted out then there is every chance that the disease will settle he may cut you a bit more slack. I also understood that some companies have a staged return to work programme. If your company hasn't got one then the occupational health department may be able to help. You haven't said what your job entails but long term it might be worth looking for something less hard on your joints.  Good luck with the new medication and don't panic. You will find something that works.

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