Am I within my rights to ask my employer for help?

I work in a young children's classroom so it would involve a chair that doesn't cripple me, something to sit my laptop on with wrist guards, ergonomic mouse, etc.

Am I also entitled to support in terms of my attendance? When we return to work we have to declare if any part of absence was related to a disability. Is this a disability or just a 'condition'? I'm off sick at the moment as passing a kidney stone has led to my first flare so I've lost a lot of working hours.

Just really don't know where I stand...if anyone can help I'd appreciate x

10 Replies

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  • Hello Mrs C, I'm afraid that I don't have answers for many of your questions but I think I would advise you to contact the occupational health team at work for some support. If you work in a state school then you should have an Education Authority team that you could approach. Do you belong to a union? If so they too should be able to help you. Employers are expected to make 'reasonable adjustments' to support your return to work but you might have to negotiate with the school as to what these might be. Good luck! Jane x

  • Super...thank you. Il speak to my employer in conjunction with the agencies. She desperately wants to keep me (I love what I do passionately) but at the end of the day I don't want to disadvantage the kids I teach x

  • Hi Mrs Cats,

    A few months back my employer arranged for me to have an assessment done by the job centre/department of work and pensions - access to work they were called - not sure if came they go by this name in your area. They came in measures me and my chair, discussed the issues I had with pain and then recommended adjustments to make it more comfortable to work and passed these along to myself and my employer. In certain situations they might even help towards costs - not sure if this is still the case or if they are still doing these assessments, but they might be able to help. You do have to bear in mind that they are only recommendations that they give to your employer, your employers arn't legal requirwd to carry them out.

    I personally work for a charity that relies on funding as a income and they have agreed to get me a new chair - just not with all the additions the assessor suggested like headrest and memory foam seat etc.... They did suggest it might be a case though of having to get voice activated software as an alternative to a mouse, but am currently trying to re-train myself to use keyboard shortcuts instead of using mouse - very painful - as. Way to save money. Any way I hope this information is of somw use to you and makes some sense!!!!!! Take Care xxx

  • I'm a teacher in a High School and have had FM since before I started teaching. I've only ever worked in the same school and up until April I've had few problems. In April I was sent home because I was in so much pain. My doctor wanted to sign me off for two weeks and I stupidly woul only agree to 1. I had yr 11pupils to get ready or their exams. In my absence I was deemed inadequate and ever since I've been having observation after observation. In the summer term I asked for OH to come in and I was told that FM is a disability under he 2010 Health act and that I am entitled to 'allowances and adjustments'. Our personnel person just sniggered when the suggestions were made! Of the 3 hours that were suggested they agreed to one. Big deal! I've since had more observations and last week I was presented with a letter to say that HR were coming in to talk to me. This all stinks of constructive dismissal to me and as you can imagine I'm thoroughly hacked off. Oh, and at the end of the summer term my line manager told me she 'didn't care' when I asked her to take my condition into consideration. How professional!

  • My god that's awful and totally violates everything I've read! Have you got a union? X

  • Hi BenLes, If you do belong to a union I would strongly advise you to take a union representative with you to the meeting. I think you are going to need their support from what you say. Good luck! Jane x

  • I work for local authority and after 3 months off last year, I also had an OH report completed. We do come under the equalities act (previously disability discrimination act). They have to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to carry out your job. I have a new desk, chair, keyboard, phone with headset and they are currently looking into a new lighter tablet for me to take on visits. Also changed base to a nearer one to home and am lucky to be able to work from home if I need to. In addition, I changed my hours too. There is also an access to work fund that can buy necessary equipment.

    If advised to put in measures, they must make reasonable attempts to do so and if not, need clear reasons why they have not done so. Have you been given a reason for all your observations and why, ask for their reasons in writing. I would consider putting in a grievance for the lack of support for your disability, take it to education department at local authority and hr department. Definitely get in touch with union if you are a member, if not seek advice from a local disability service. In this day and age people should not be discriminated against due to a disability.

    Good luck

  • Unfortunately i have been retired now due to ill health, But before your employer can do this, They HAVE TOO - BY LAW be showing themselves to be helping you in every "reasonable" way possible to stay in your employment x

    They should make the arrangements for you to see occupational health and liaise with them to see what can be done to assist you in staying in your employment and to keep you from being absent x

  • It's now having the guts to say all this when I do my return to work interview. I lack so much confidence but I know my employer is kind but I'm just anxious. I can't imagine not teaching but I don't want to let down the kids :-S

  • I wish you all the luck in the world x I am still devastated over my job, but i worked on eau at the hospital so as you can imagine, hectic! So although they did try to help me, i understood, but with the right help, fingers x'sd you can carry on x

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