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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Am I entitled to anything from work? And if I cut my hours do I cut my entitlement? Urgent, meeting Monday morning!!!

Dear all, does anyone have any experience of this please?

I am a teaching assistant with over 12 years working in the same school on the original part-time contract [15 mins off full time].

I keep being off sick and triggering a Stage 2 meeting which is reviewing how things are going, what they can do to help and whether I can manage.

It will not stay at Stage 2 and I have alerted my union to my need for support but have thought of this question and won't have time to resolve it [I think] before my meeting tomorrow. Stage 3 is looking at the final steps I believe.

I am so bad at this stuff but have been trying to apply myself.

If I reduce my hours, say cut out Wednesdays, I may be able to continue working for longer, and feel more able to cope - the reduced pay won't be good but probably better than nothing!

However, if I keep my hours the same and reach Stage 3 I do not know what benefit there would be owing to me. From what I can make out there is a Medical Retirement - which I was offered when it was only migraines 2 years ago but has not been mentioned since - whereby the length of work x hours is paid to you, but if I cut my hours the new hours x length of service will be taken into consideration?

Is that right?

Is that how it works?

Does it have anything to do with Pension payments?

Can you see what a pickle I am in? What do I do now? I told my union I do not need anyone tomorrow but I am not so sure - I have been told others are also having the same meeting, but that does not mean I am okay. Just not singled out.

I will definitely need a union rep with me for stage 3. But what if I agree to something before that which I later regret - such as the fewer hours? Maybe I should not discuss that bit tomorrow and ask for an adjournment so a rep can be there if the subject comes up?

I was fine about this meeting, but now it is tomorrow I am frightened. Should I be?

Your advice please? I accept that most of you won't have legal knowledge, and I cannot ask that of you. I cannot hold you to account anyway, so please do not be afraid to tell me of your experiences too.

I would like to sleep tonight. So I will sign off now to give you a chance to read it. I hope to pick it up in the morning. Sorry about the short notice.

Soft hugs

6 Replies

Hi Hun

Sorry to hear of your predicament. I work part time in a school. I have ME so have had to have time off because of it. I have been offerred a meeting with the council Occupational therapist to discuss any 'reasonable adjustments' that could be made to enable me to continue to work. Some of the help I have received has included a lift key as my school has three floors so i now go up in a lift instead of staggering up the stairs. i have reduced my hours and think I will have to do so again, Do you have a council Support helpline?? Some do and they may be 24hrs. A phone call to the Human Resources dept at the council (you will probably need your payroll number) may help too. Hope it all goes well at your meeting but if you have time before it you may like to see if any of these suggestions can help. Best wishes.


Thank you the support line sounds good. Already see Occupational Health and work have already done a lot, ramp, fire door widening, lift keys, electric chair [through Access to Work - you should contact them if you need help getting into work] and Oc H say work cannot do anything else for me! I didnt like her attitude and complained. Have also asked for a past offer of an office chair in class to be allowed and will be presenting them with that tomorrow - so hope to keep going!

Good luck to you too Wenjay, or Wendy I guess?

Soft hugs and thanks for your help


Hi Sarah-Jane, if you are on a final salary pension that will eventually be paid on the hours of work at the time you leave so if you do retire early this could be an issue.

I left work on the grounds of ill health with the NHS and was refused my pension initially. I could have taken it but it would have been reduced and probably wouldn't have been worth it. I fought my case through the Pensions Advisory Service in London and won the right to leave on a tier 2 pension which means they pay me in full what I would have had if I had worked until I was 60.

It sounds right what you are saying about getting a reduced pay if you reduce your hours and then go on to stage 3 of sickness absense I almost made that mistake before I left work, I was at the point of reducing my hours knowing that I would probably have to give up work in the near future. Not only was I going to reduce my hours but I was going to consider dropping my banding too. You have to be very careful what you agree to if you think you will get to stage 3 and have to leave. Dont agree to anything tomorrow until you speak to someone with more knowledge in these areas. You can always say you need time to consider your options and will get back to them. If they think you are eventually going to have to leave they will be looking for you to drop your hours so they dont have to pay you so much.

Hope it all goes well for you. Love Angela xx


Hi Sarah-Jane, I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Without going into my own experience--a nightmare--I would like to echo Lynn-FA's advice and urge you not to go to the meeting without Union rep, for all the reasons she articulated. xx


Hi Sarah

You have been given all the information you need already. I used to be a Union Rep and agree with all that's been said. The best thing for you now is to have a good nights rest, cancel your meeting until you have time to go through all your options with your rep.

Best wishes Fi x


Thank you all very much! Strangely my newly appointed rep contacted me just after 10pm [urgh! - fortunately I was up] and we agreed that postponing the appointment would probably be best and I have just done so. Coming on here and seeing all your wonderful advice backing this up really helps and if I had not done so I would be postponing now. I do feel better and I think went to sleep planning to cancel in the morning so I slept well.

I need time to talk to my doctor too so it makes sense on several points.

phew! lets hope I don't get so stressed when I do have my appointment.

By the way, I do not have a pension as work failed to keep up my instalments through my pay packet and I failed to notice! I was told I would need to pay all of the back payments to catch up and get the full pension but do not have that kind of money!

Soft hugs and grateful thanks!


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