Advice to get support at work: Hi, I just... - Endometriosis UK

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Advice to get support at work

ZiggyandB profile image

Hi, I just wanted some advice with what I can do in terms of support at work. HR know about what I’m dealing with and my upcoming laparoscopy but I’ve been forced to use up all of my annual leave to cover my operation and the recovery time which leaves me with no holidays for the rest of the year! HR also told me I should be coming back to full time work after my laparoscopy because I think she thinks I’ll be magically cured after it. I lowered my hours as I was finding it too painful to work full time as I have quite an active job but I’m worried I’ll be pressured to go back to full time. No one at work knows much about endo and I feel like such a burden because I’ve had to have a lot of time off with the pain and I just feel like my work are sick of me. Sorry for the rant I just don’t know what to do. Any advice is really appreciated xx

18 Replies

Your employer cannot make you use annual leave for your operation and recovery!! If this is something they have forced you to do it is a form of bullying! You need to seek help from a union. Sickness is sickness and annual leave is to enjoy. Your HR is truly disgraceful in making you do this!

You’ll need to look at your work contract to see what it says regarding your working hours. A union rep can help you with this too.

It’s unfortunate that it is HR treating you like this as they are normally in your corner.

Work is difficult to navigate when you don’t have understanding colleagues. You just have to do the best you can, be kind to yourself and never feel like a burden. You can’t help having this horrible chronic long term condition!

If I were you. I’d got off sick before my operation I’d ask my GP for a sick note to cover the operation and recovery period and that will cancel annual leave out.

I hope you find a resolution and your operation keeps you pain free

Pixie x💛x

Thank you lovely, everyone I’ve spoken to has said they can’t make me use my annual leave but they said it’s company policy. I’m going to ask for a sick note from the hospital and hopefully that will help xxx

I'd ask to see the company policy and your contract too. If they don't refer to this in your contract they can retrospectively tell you that's the policy! So sorry you're having a rubbish time with them. Totally second joining a union if you haven't already. They are genuinely super helpful for advice and knowing your rights. Good luck! x

Hi my love! By law you’re entitled to statutory sick pay! You don’t need to use annual leave. I don’t get sick pay from work (so they don’t pay me my full pay for not working) but I’m still entitled to statutory which is a lot less but better than nothing. Obvs pls do whatever is financially feasible for you because I know taking a few days off work with just statutory makes a dent!

When I returned back to work I filled out a return to work form and on it i said about me endo diagnosis. The hr lady came back to me and said that under the equality act of 2010, endo is classed as a disability due to its chronic behaviour. Because of this, I think it would be worth looking into any additional support and sick pay that they can offer you!! I’m not sure what that could be but it is always worth an ask!!

I hope you get something sorted! Remember a problem shared is a problem halved. Telling my work was quite daunting as it meant I had to accept my illness but I found it to be quite freeing! I truly hope all is well xx

ZiggyandB profile image
ZiggyandB in reply to EllaB3

Thank you so much! I’m just really confused by it all because I was sure they couldn’t make me use my annual leave. When I asked what I should do if I wanted to go on holiday later in the year I was told it would be unpaid because I won’t have any annual leave left! Xxx

Hi, I’m a HR Manager - what she’s told you is 100% wrong - an employer categorically cannot force you to use annual leave instead of time off sick. You’re entitled to SSP at least and company sick pay if it is in your contract.

Please don’t let them bully you into taking annual leave or going back full time - I would speak to ACAS for some impartial advice too x

ZiggyandB profile image
ZiggyandB in reply to b_bart88

Thank you for your reply. She said I have to use all of my annual leave to cover the time off and then they’ll work out if I get sick pay or unpaid leave after that’s ran out. I’ve made it clear that I don’t want to use my annual leave as I don’t think it’s fair and I’d rather just get SSP for the time I need off. I don’t know if it’s because I’m young (I’m only 22) and don’t know much about the procedures or if it’s because of the type of surgery I’m having and maybe they think it’s my choice to have it? I’m not sure at all, it’s causing me a lot of stress though which is the last thing I need when my lap is less than 2 weeks away! Thank you for your advice I’ll definitely look into it more! Xx

b_bart88 profile image
b_bart88 in reply to ZiggyandB

She really can’t force you to take annual leave - it’s completely illegal and discriminatory. I would call ACAS today, explain and then send an email to her and your manager explaining that you’ve had advice and you know that you are entitled to SSP as a minimum and will be on sick leave for the duration of your absence as per that advice, you won’t be using annual leave as this is a period of sick leave and not holiday. Regardless of their company policy, this is the law and they can’t change that in any policies.

You are also covered under the Disability Discrimination Act as you have a long term chronic illness that has affected your day to day activities for more than a period of 12 months so they actually need to to make adjustments for you wherever possible and not treated any differently to another colleague.

Maybe call ACAS and then drop me a message and I could help you write an email to them if ACAS can’t help with that part?

I know it must all be so tough for you and it does sound like they’re playing on you not knowing anything because of your age but employment law is on your side with this one! Xx

ZiggyandB profile image
ZiggyandB in reply to b_bart88

Thank you so much, I’ll look into ACAS and speaking to someone today and I’ll let you know what they say. Again, thank you so much you’ve been so helpful ❤️❤️

Hi Ziggy there is some really useful information here from Endometriosis UK:

It's aimed at the employer but gives you a good idea of your rights etc.

I believe having endo does not automatically mean you are disabled, it depends on the effect of the illness on day to day tasks (although it does not have to be every single day, if you get what I mean). I would suspect though if you have had to reduce hours etc in the past then this might count. One way forward might be to request a referral to occupational health, who should be able to assess the impact of the illness on day to day work tasks and suggest reasonable adjustments.

I do believe though that your employer should not have made you use annual leave and that you are entitled to SSP.

Hope that helps!

RedA28 profile image
RedA28 in reply to RedA28

Oh and fully echo what others have said about talking to your union if you have one (or joining one ✊), and ACAS is another great option too for impartial advice. I know it can be really exhausting to fight and it helps to have support in your corner!

ZiggyandB profile image
ZiggyandB in reply to RedA28

Thank you! I’m still talking to HR about it, I’ve asked if I can just recieve SSP and keep my annual leave but I don’t know if they’ll accept this. If I’m forced to use my annual leave to cover my operation, any days off I have for the rest of the year will be unpaid so I’ll be losing money which doesn’t seem fair

RedA28 profile image
RedA28 in reply to ZiggyandB

Not just unfair, probably illegal!

AtomicHair profile image
AtomicHair in reply to ZiggyandB

ZiggyandB,Just to echo what others have said, it's not legal for them to force you to use annual leave to cover time off for an operation or recovery.

Annual leave is a legal requirement which is clearly defined as being separated to sickness. In fact if you are in leave and are taken sick your annual leave should be cancelled and put back to your allocation and the time logged as sick.

Please check the ACAS site if you're not a union member.

Hi! I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with Endo. As far as I am aware you shouldn't have to use all your annual leave. I had to self-isolate 2 weeks prior to my laparoscopy and then got another 3 weeks sick note post laparoscopy so in total was off for 5 weeks and didn't use a single day off my AL allowance. Make sure you look into it and I hope you can get your AL back asap.

Thank you, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get it back because it’s ‘company policy’ so basically they can do what they want. I’m still going to ask for a sick note from the hospital to cover however long I’ll need off. It just means I’ll be losing out on my wage later in the year if I want to go on holiday xx

Just thought I’d post a little update - HR has said I MUST use all my annual leave to cover the time off (including when I need to isolate) and then I’ll get SSP once my annual leave has run out. When I asked what I should do about having holidays later in the year she just said if I go back to full time, I’ll get more annual leave entitlement so now I feel pressured to go back full time. Basically if I don’t go back to full time work after my laparoscopy I won’t have any annual leave for the rest of the year and any holidays I want to have will be unpaid. I’ve spoken to ACAS but they said if it’s in the policy then there’s nothing much I can do but I’m feeling really deflated. My colleagues are going on holiday and I’m being forced to use my annual leave for an operation. It just doesn’t seem fair. Sorry for the rant I’m just very annoyed. Thank you for all your lovely replies ❤️

Hello ZiggyandB

Thank you for providing an update. Have you seen the company policy for sickness? It should be freely available for you to read. I just can’t believe they’re making you take annual leave before SSP. It’s truly wrong!

I hope b_bart88 can provide some support as she’s a HR Advisor 🤞🏻

I hope you can get this turned around


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