Thyroid UK
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Reduced Working Hours

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in April and after an initial blip and a change in Doctor I am about to start the 4th raise in my lactose free Levo.

The reason I am posting is I am wondering if anyone has any resources to help me. I need some back up to go to work tomorrow to ask for reduced hours. I am returning after my second bout of sinusitis in 3 weeks, still sore but getting there.

I started a new job 4 months ago and changed my working week from 37.5 hours to 40 hours, I knew it was a gamble as I was struggling each day already, by 3 o'clock I would have a violent headache and feel sick with exhaustion. Now I am exhausted, in bed before 9 most nights, my partner is worried as I was slowly getting better on my meds for thyroid but something is still off, we think it is stress from work.

I am pretty sure the 40 hour weeks have contributed to the lack of healing from sinusitis. In reality my 40 hour weeks which I do in shifts are more a 50 hours followed by a 30 hour week.

Has anyone else asked for reduced hours at work due to hypothyroidism? What was your companies reaction? Any ideas my best approach with work?

19 Replies

I'm sorry you are still not 100% but you are still quite 'newly' diagnosed as it can take quite sometime to get to a dose of thyroid hormones which make you feel better.

Hypothyroidism means a low metabolism (ie - fatigue, strength diminishes/heart rate might be slower as well as a low pulse and we try to restore with levo or levo/T3 etc.

I would approach your employer and ask if you could reduce your hours slightly as you are trying to get to an optimum of hormones which restores your metabolism to normal. As it has to be done very gradually it is taking longer than you expected.

Do you have a copy of your most recent thryoid results, with the ranges? If so, post them.

If you've not had B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate ask if they've not been done. We need all our vitamins/minerals to be optimum, not anywhere 'in range' which keeps GPs happy.

Get the earliest appointment and fast (you can drink water) and leave about 24 hours between your last dose of levo and the test and take levo after.

Your TSH shouldn't be anywhere in range it should be around 1 or lower.

Others who've been in a similar situation will respond.


My tests were as follows

16 April tsh 12

30 April tsh 7.6

28 May tsh 6.8

I changed doctors at this point as I was having major allergic reactions to levothyroxine, and doctor refused to look at alternative treatments

New Doctor put me on lactose free levothyroxine

13 August tsh 11 T4 18.5 pmo/L

6 October tsh 10 still need print out to confirm T4

I am due for another blood test this week. Doctor is keen to find right dose and does listen, unlike previous doctor. I have a thyroid scan in December as when I eat or drink it feels like I have something stuck in my throat. Also having vision problems, they are addressing that, I have fake tears to put in several times a day and if it gets worse the doctor is referring me to the eye hospital.

I will ask about the nutrient test when I go in this week.


Mrs Gracey your TSH over those periods were far too high to make you feel well. That's why I think you have had difficulties at work. You must feel awful with a TSH so high.

You are looking for a TSH of around 1 or lower. Maybe your new GP might be helpful in adding some T3 to your T4.

it would be helpful if you could also put the ranges next to results (the reason being that labs throughout the UK differ in their machines and ranges are different).

I'm glad your new GP is being helpful and is looking after you. Dry eyes etc are also clinical symptoms and some have been diagnosed with Sjogrens Disease. Remember to get the earliest possible blood tests.


Thank you. The first lot of results were from my original doctor so not comprehensive or helpful.

I am in the UK. My second results show what I have posted, they state the range should be 0.2-4.2 miu/l for tosh and 12.30_20.20 pmol/L for T4.

At the moment I have a blood test every 2months and then my meds are adjusted. I will look up the eye details you have given, I feel like I have read everything I can get my hands on but some of the advise is so conflicting.


I'd be surprised if you're on lots of Levo - what dose are you on now? It seems that your new doctor is being ultra cautious about raising your dose, which is understandable, given the bad reaction you had to the original stuff, but means you're suffering far longer than you ordinarily would!

Don't worry about the reference to disability in my post below - it's just a term, and covers (by law) conditions which can fluctuate due to autoimmune diseases and other illnesses which relapse and remit.

Have a read of this: - in particular, the section at A5.

As I said, it's a legal obligation for the employer to provide reasonable adjustments. I wouldn't go into this asking for reduced hours, actually - I'd use the words "reasonable adjustment". You want to safeguard your right to return to more hours (after all, the next raise of Levo might be the one that does the trick).

1 like

I'm on 75 micrograms


As I suspected, not a huge dose. Definitely room for improvement.

It's really good that you have a GP who will work with you. I hope things with work go well.


Thank you for your help.


email and request a copy of the Pulse Online article and highlight question 6 which you can show to your GP as Dr Toft (ex President of the BTA) gives a suggestion on the ranges to be aimed for.


Question 6?


I'm not doing very well today :)

I got interrupted and missed part of the sentence.


I know that feeling :)


Ok, so you're still very hypothyroid, looking at those results. No wonder you're coming down with other illnesses so easily.

Do you live and work in the UK? If so, you are probably entitled to push for a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010. By law, your employer has to take a disability into account when considering the hours you should work (it's not just hours - it can be things like provision of special computer equipment, supportive chairs etc - but I've stuck to hours here as that's what you've mentioned).

A diability is defined:

A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

As it's hoped you'll find the right dose of Levo in due course, it's likely that a reasonable adjustment could be put in place on a temporary basis.



Thank you.

I do live in the UK and was just looking at the equality act, I didn't think hypothyroidism was classed as a disability so was confused as to how to approach work regarding it.

Fingers crossed work adept that I am good at my job but need some support for a while until I feel brighter.


You need an increase in levo definitely.

1 like

I'm expecting another increase after this weeks blood test



I know how you are feeling I have just returned to work after 4 months sickness I do have PMR and a underactive thyroid. Feeling so tired and unable to do or concentrate on anything, normally I am never off sick.

However after persuading GP to increase Levothyroxine from 125 to 150 I feel so much better also taking a B12 vitamin .

It came on so suddenly and I never had a chance to ask for a change in working hours.I was lucky as had full pay for 3 months then half pay at present I am going to see how things go but am considering reducing my hours ,everyone is giving you excellent.

Just wanted to let you know things do get better.

Best Wishes Rose


Thank you Rose x

Hope things improve for you soon x


So I tried to go back to work today and ended up being sent home by my manager. She did Say once I return she will help me complete a Flexible Working Request to reduce my hours. So fingers crossed this will be sorted soon. Thank you for your advice yesterday.



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