"Reasonable" time off work

Hi guys its been a while since i popped in so i thought i would just say hi to everyone & because its now December - Merry Christmas!

I had FCR a while back and other than normal fatigue i have a pretty healthy life and good remission. I work full time and my job is quite demanding as im in management so i understand its important im at work every day. A few months ago i got shingles and had 8 days off, although my boss turned up with the contents of my office and i worked from home as much as possible. This week ive managed to get norovirus from the grandchildren and have had 2 days off because of the sickness.

I think earlier in the year i had a couple of days off with Manflu so ive had 12 days for the year but worked from home for half the time.

My boss has now had a complete rant at me on the phone so my question is (forgetting the law or my legal rights) what is reasonable? what is fair? Should i expect them to make allowances? I have even changed my check ups to 6 monthly so they dont affect my work.

There are people who have had far more time off than me but im told they are not managers so thats ok.

Any thoughts or experiences?

14 Replies

  • Hi grizzlebear,

    First thing that I would ask you is do you have a contract? And if so, what are the terms concerning the amount of sick days allotted to you or vacation days that could be turned into sick days?

    If you don't have a contract, your manager could do as he/she pleases with your sick time as long as it follows the labor laws of your country. I would also check with them as well. Your manager can also ask for a dr.'s excuse to prove that you aren't making up your illnesses. The dr.'s note can designate that amount of time off that you would need to get better as well, and that's tough to argue from a company's point of view as it can look like harassment on their part if they don't follow the dr.'s orders.

    I know that you said that you have been working part time at home when you have been ill, Have you sat down with your manager, face to face, and ask if this is a possibility in the future if your boss feels that you are taking too many days.

    I have always been under a contract with set sick and vacation days. I usually had 12 sick days per year and vacation days varied as I earned more each year to the total, which I could put toward retirement health insurance if I didn't use them. For those people who went beyond the designated days given in the contract, their pay was deducted as a way to keep them at work. If a doctor's note was asked of them due to absences from illness, the company followed the order given but it would be discussed what the outcome was if lengthy illnesses and time away due to them was a constant occurrence.

    This is about all I can say with my experience. But I did have a contract that spelled out what missing work expectations were.


  • I have no personal experience grizzlebear, I was retired during treatment but I am sure you deserve and should be treated better than you have been. You have made more than enough effort to accommodate and satisfy their business needs, they should be helping you now with time off work to recuperate and get fit. I believe that legally they are required to give you seven day uncertificated sickness leave regardless of whether you have seen a doctor or not. I would suggest contacting their HR department and talking to them, I’m sure they or your department can arrange some management coverage for you while you are off work.

    Hoping things work out for you, take care.

    Kevin – Essex, UK

  • I have a contract that uses the word "reasonable". I have been there 15years. Although i get paid sick time i have offered to take it not paid or off my holiday entitlement. When i had shingles my GP went mad because i had worked.

  • Legalities aside I think your boss has 'issues' and is a complete tosser quite frankly.

    Hope this helps?...probably not but....well...🙊

    M x

  • I agree with Maria. Sounds really unfair to me.

    These people are good for support.


  • Hi Grizzlebear,

    I'm afraid I agree that your employer is as described by London Girl and would fair badly at an Employment tribunal. Your sickness isn't excessive even for an able bodied employee but he's required to make additional and reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee (as we are classified under the terms of the Equality Act).

    This link has a wealth of information contained within it including the Employment Statutory Codes of Practice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. I believe within that are guidelines on what constitutes 'reasonable adjustments'. He's failing in his duty of care to you both morally and legally in my view and I spent a long time being responsible for these matters with my large staff group.


    The fact that you've taken work home when you were ill should be taken into account and whilst I can appreciate you don't want to escalate and aggravate the situation, he has to realise he's probably on very sticky ground with his unreasonable and insensitive response.

    If you get into difficulties, there's a contact number on there to ring ACAS for advice.

    Great to hear you're doing well though after your treatment. That's the important thing. Oh norovirus! Had that this year and it's ghastly!

    P.S. In view of subject matter, you would be advised to restrict your post to the community I reckon. Too many identifiable factors to be exposed openly to the net.



  • It seems to me you've made a supreme effort to carry on. Your boss clearly does not appreciate you.


  • If you wish to restrict your post to the community as suggested by Newdawn select the downward arrow at the bottom of your post and click on “Edit”. You will see an option called “Who can see my post”? It is currently set to “Everyone”, just click on the “Only followers in my community” to lock it.

    Kevin – Essex, UK

  • When I was first diagnosed and went through FCR (for the first time, as I had to do it again three years later), I was able to take a 10-week Short Term Disability leave from my job. But this is not what I wanted. I wanted to take one week off each month during my three consecutive days of chemo sessions each month for six months. But the insurance company did not have such an option, which was rather ridiculous, but that was that. So, I took the initial 10 weeks off work, which was good to get over the initial trauma of diagnosis, testing, scans, and the first round of chemo, plus I really was falling apart. But I was really fine after the first few weeks of beginning treatment, so my Short Term Disability (STD!) ended up being a bit of a vacation. But then I had to take sick days, or personal days, or actually work on the days I received chemo for the remainder of the 6 months or FCR.

    Then when I had to do FCR again, I just kept working and didn't take another Short Term Disability because I didn't want to be seen as a problem employee. In hindsight, I wish I did take more time off because I had to deal with an awful unsympathetic boss anyway.

    Anyway, I always feel that if you can carry on your life as normal as before, then you should do so. Don't let CLL define your life...define your own life as you please.

    (By the way, I had Shingle, too, and that really sucked!)

  • The inflexibility of your insurance company is pretty absurd - of course, we are more vulnerable, and need to avoid people, in the week or so after chemo... I saw your recent posts - good luck for the future.

  • Thanks!

    Yes, if the insurance company was flexible in giving me one week off each month for a six month period instead of a straight 10 weeks off, it would have been a win-win-win-win from them, me, my company, and the treatment of the disease. You would think they would know better.

  • Hi Grizzlebear - first of all being a newbie here I think you've done remarkably well just being off 12 days in one year - I work in occupational health for a big university and it's not high at all believe you me.

    Sorry to hear the reaction of your boss but here's what happens with our system - there is a trigger point for sickness absence - not sure but I can check if you like. Managers in the uni are trained to contact occ health by way of referral and they effectively ask our team if the member of staff is fit enough for work. Reasonable adjustments etc may be recommended. Referrals come from the manager direct or human resources. You can also self refer. Sincerely hoping you have an occupational health team as it sounds like a large business you work for?

  • Sorry forgot to say that if there isn't an occ health team in your company you could ask human resources whether they can arrange an independent assessment with a private occ health physician. You are covered by the Equality Act. Sounds like your manager doesn't know the score - best to deal with HR if you can - best of luck 🙂

  • Would possible contagion of the entire work force be an acceptable excuse?

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