work!!!: Having a bad day!! When I returned to... - LUPUS UK

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Having a bad day!!

When I returned to work last year they made me do a risk assessment with HR and management, the first point they covered was that I must learn to manage my illness better, to do this I had to tell them when I could feel myself going down hill and my manager will arrange for me to take emergency annual leave to stop it affecting my sick record. All well and good on paper!

I woke up today feeling awful and knowing the warning signals I know I'm headed for a flare so came into work, told my manager and asked to have emergency leave for Thursday and Friday as per risk assessment. I managed to get tomorrow off after sorting out my own cover but apparently Friday is a bad day to be off so if I want that day off I will have to go sick, if I dont want to go sick I have to be in work as usual. Considering this is the first time I have tried to use the risk assessment to my advantage and call for a bit of support I'm just left feeling uterly p****ed off that yet again I get limited or no support from the people who claim to put staff welfare first.

Sorry for the moan but I'm just not in the mood to deal with this rubbish :(

12 Replies

How annoying for you, like you say you did as was asked by your employer and now your not getting the support that you deserve. I am off work still and im into my seventh month off work and will hopefully be returing in September and your point in case is just what I am dreading!!! I'm so sorry to hear that things didn't go to plan and hope you are feeling better very soon, xx


Is the emergency annual leave coming out of your set annual leave (i.e. the amount your are contractually obliged to)? Or does the emergency annual leave come under emergency leave i.e. I think some companies give a certain amount for carer's leave etc. If they don't give you the emergency annual leave, unfortunately you are not being able to manage your illness any better than prior to the meeting you had with HR. It sounds to me as if you are being asked to do things on their terms and then they are blocking your attempts to follow their requests through. Strange. I would love to know what disability groups would think of disabled people managing their disabilities better - do they think your disability is self-inflicted. Look after yourself. I really feel for you.

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I've found that my boss isn't very supportive either! I started my new job in January, and got diagnosed in February then had/still having a massive flare up so I'm in my 2nd month off, leading to my 3rd as I'm still no better. I've been asked "If I actually plan to return to work at all in the near future or am I just going to sick" - Well sorry I can't control my body! To make it worse, I was a home carer, so doubt I'll be able to return anyway as it's too manual and I can't cope, I was struggling when I started, but didn't realise how much it would effect me and my work (naively).

Hope you get it all sorted out soon! Good luck!

Em xx


This is exactly why I don't understand the new claims the government have put into place. I have managed to get through my assessment after a long battle, but my point is who will possible employ someone with a chronic condition, you never know when you are going down and in work they say they will support you but in my experience they soon get fed up of you being off. I struggled for a year to get back to work and it was obvious long term it was never going to happen and the people at work were having to carry my work load which to be honest isn't fair on them but also makes you feel worse. I bet you look even healthier when you having a flare I would have the redest of cheeks every one would say you look well. I knew different. You need to go straight to the top bet they will change there tune then. Good luck and so feel for you, you don't need the pressure. Xx


Sorry to hear you are having a hard time. I completely understand the feeling of frustration and not wanting to fight anymore.

I can empathise having had a very hard time myself with work.

I asked my employer for a similar plan to what you have in place, I bought one weeks extra holidays to facilitate, however they wouldn't even consider it, as when you are sick you are sick. Frustrating. However, you have this plan in place, is it in writing? If so do they mention that if you fall sick at a busy time the plan will be void?? Do you a union? If not contact disability work helpline. I would advice you to actually just use your sickness, if you have Lupus you are covered by DDA and can be expected to have higher sickness levels than non disabled colleagues. I get the impression you haven't had a terribly bad sickness record?. Has your absence from work reached a level were they could consider termination? You need to get professional advice and know your rights. Have a read of your employers policy and understand where you stand. In my experience managers don't always know the policies themselves. It's hard to keep fighting for your rights when you are feeling low and if you are anything like me the stress just exacerbates the illness.

You need to take care of yourself, your health is your wealth,stay strong and good luck xo


Hi, how awful for you, maybe ask the management for the sickness, disability policies that your company has in place. This may nudge them into viewing it themselves, I would also suggest a referral to occupational health and arrange a further meeting with your management.

In my case, I learnt to put the emphasis on them, asking how they could support me, as stated earlier you do fall under the DDA and your employer has an obligation to manage your health/disability.

All said and done, anyone who has experienced such difficulties in work know the reality is often quite different to policy, and it never stopped me from feeling guilty - because of course being ill is totally my fault, lol.

All the best, hope you feel better soon, and try and take things easy as we know how stress affects us and our health.

Slowmo x


If you are in a union, you need to see your union representative. If not get in touch with ACAS who will be able to advise you. There are also Disability Employment Advisors in Jobcentres who are there to help newly disabled people to keep there jobs by advising employers how they can support their employees. Keep a diary as this will help in the future, if things should worsen. Your first step should be to contact your HR department and tell them you don't feel you are getting the support that was agreed to and they should act appropriately in your favour. I know it is stressful and this doesn't help how you feel but you do have rights and you need to get the support from others. If all else fails and life becomes too intolerable in the future, constructive dismissal under disability comes to mind. Hope it doesn't come to this but that is why you need to keep a private diary. No matter how small the incident make note as it builds up a picture. Good luck and take care x


Just a comment. Following an employment ruling in the European Courts (Stringer et al) Some employment law advisers suggested that it was inadvisable to insist that a member of staff take annual leave instead of sick leave. This is because it could appear that the employee may be being "treated less favourably than other staff", because other staff are free to take their annual leave exactly when they wish. It was also suggested that this may lead to tribunal claims of "less favourable treatment" and even more so if the employee is disabled in some way. Agree with what everyone else says about looking at your company's policies, and getting some advice. Every little helps and good luck.


HIya, first of all your manager should not be suggesting that you take emergency annual leave for something that is clearly sickness. I totally understand why a risk assessment is put in place however it doesnt seem to be effectively put into practice. I work as a HR advisor and am fully aware of what your rights are in terms of sickness levels etc. Even more so as a lupus sufferer of 8 years. The fact of the matter is that our condition is long term and will have an impact on the workplace. Its inevitable therefore any manager should not be suggesting that leave entitlement is used for this purpose. I agree to an extent that our condition should be managed but in the real work, this is easier said than done. If you are sick then you are sick. Take it off as sick and get the rest that you need. HR will go through the standard process with you and you will be monitored as per any other member of staff. But realistically youa re covered by DDA and cannot be discriminated against for your illness. And any employer who may decide to take you down the disciplinary route or even termination would have to have a very strong case in place but they would be ill advised. They need to desmonstrate that the support has been in place and it sounds like it hasnt in your case. I am in the process myself of having a flare in Feb, being highly medicated to treat this on a daily basis again (20g steroid, 400mg hydroxy, 3g immunosuppressant, plus two other tablets) and most recently antibiotics for a chest infection, I feel like rubbish and have to manage my job with being a mum to an 18 month old toddler. I am completely frank with my colleagues about how I feel and how I am affected because they never really understand or appreciate Lupus. Ive had to take time off sick, for my hospital appointment which are now weekly (rhemy, kidney doc and eye specialist) and i suppose i am quite demanding in that i expect a level of flexibility from my employer under the circumstances but that is purely because in the past ive tried to cover my sickness with taking holidays etc and i realise now after years, whats the point. The sickness will not go away and we can expect these flares to cause havoc. Employers have a right to provide a level of support that is practical and worthwhile. I guess the point i am trying to make, after this long post, is that regardless of whether you have a poor sick record, the absences are linked to a condition that is covered by DDA. You can manage it to an extent but realistically you are most likely to need time off. Take it as sick leave and get yourself well. HR have a job to do to ensure that you are treated the same as other staff members and they should make reasonable adjustments if possible but they will also be aware that they ahve to be slightly more flexible with how they manage your record and whether any action should be taken. Anyway, hope this helps and i hope you feel better soon.


My mgr was the same. Is trying to use the capability route to get rid. Hr dont seem helpful even though covered by law. So i say fighgt everyone here will help


Just to update, I spoke to my line manager on Thursday about having Friday off as I knew the one day wouldnt be enough, she refused to let me have it off so I told her I had no other option and I will be speaking to my union to try and protect myself...

My union rep was brilliant, she is newly trained so insisted on speaking to her branch manager to double check that she is giving the right information, according to them my manager is breaking health & safety laws by going against their own risk assessment, not complying with DDA or the equality laws. They are also breaking company policy on H&S, leave, sickness and capability. Funnily enough I was given the Friday off!!

Also the union said it should be recorded as authorised absence not sick leave or annual leave!!

I've managed to come in to work today, but not sure if I can manage the whole week, still feeling very fragile, I'm tempted to just take a couple of weeks off to try and sort myself out, I know this will go down a lead balloon but to be honest I'm past caring.

Thank you for all of your advice, it was well worth that conversation with the union reps.



Hi this is the first time posting, I've been summoning up courage.

I've just had my contract terminated by a local authority, through ill health, after a year on the sick.

I've seen the Occupational Health people four times. The last one stated that I wasn't eligible for early retirement through ill health,(I'm 55) but that my 'condition' ( oesteo, inflammatory & Lupus) is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, but could possibly improve at a later date!

Local autorities are supposed to be encouraging disabiled workers, but I get the feeling one way or another, competancy and durability would come into play.

I wasn't in a union having been stitched up by one re- redundancy a few years ago.

Then to add insult to injury, I get a 'limited capability to work' form to fill in!! If the local government is saying I'm not fit to work, why is another department trying to say I am. I've had sicknotes to cover the whole period.


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