Do employers have a right to cut pay and change conditions?

My husband was diagnosed with Wegeners in October, after 3 months of being very ill. He needed 6 weeks off work, for hospital investigations and to start his treatment (daily oral steroids and IV steroids and cyclo every 2 weeks). He returned to work a couple of weeks ago and was exhausted by the early starts and traveling time (1 hour + each way). His GP then gave him a FIT note recommending reduced hours. His employers have agreed that he can work fewer hours but have stated that he will only be paid for the hours he does, and not his full salary, even though the FIT note is only for 2 months, As the main bread winner of the house, this is really going to hit us hard, especially on the run up to Christmas. His employer also wants to move my husband out of his office and give him "project work" to do, rather than his usual role. My husband does not want this - he is capable of doing his job, but due to the disease and chemotherapy treatment, he just needs a few more hours sleep and less travelling. We can't afford for him to take more time off work completely, as he has had his maximum allowed by the company and will not be paid full stop. So, after all the rambling, my question is - are my husband's employers allowed to dock his salary, change his job role and essentially make him feel like a spare wheel just because he needs some time to recover from this condition?

6 Replies

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  • I guess it all depends on the contract he has with his employers and possibly on how long he has worked for them. Does the company have an occupational health physician? If so perhaps your husband ought to ask for an appointment to discuss matters.

    These are hard times for companies but this is certainly not the sort of agro your poor husband needs when he is battling vasculitis, chemo and the rest of it. Do they really know what medication etc he is taking? Do they care?

    It's a long time since I needed a sick note, and things have certainly changed in the past 10 years or so, but can't the GP give him a full sick note for the two months so that he doesn't have to go to work during that time, and if so would your husband still get his salary less the amount he'd get from sickness benefit? I don't think, but I don't know, that they can make major changes if he is officially on sick leave, but I think you need proper advice.

    Maybe the Citizens Advice people might be able to help.

    PatriciaAnn

  • AS Pat has said your husband terms and conditions will be dictated by legistation and the company policy as well as any special arrangements in your husbands terms of employment contract. Most company's have a policy about how long someone can have off and how they will be paid. Some allow a longer time than others. Mine was 50 days days and as I had had 5 days off sick before the treatment stated then it was only 45. After that I went on state sick pay rates which were very little compared to normal pay.

    You have not said how large the company your husband works for is but typically the smaller the company the less formal their HR policies are so they mey not have a formal one.

    As well as speaking to Citzen Advice perhaps you or your husband should to the HR Department. They are not typically there to support the employees but rather the employer but they could claify the sick pay policy.

  • Hi

    WhenI was working full time for a large company, I was under the impression that if there are any changes to a job description, i.e. a significant change to the nature of the job your husband is doing; then this has to be agreed by both parties and a new job description agreed and signed and it's a whole different ball game if your husband is moved to another 'job' and another employee then takes up his previous job. It may depend on whether this is a temp change but I agree with previous comments and it's best to get expert advice from OH and citizens advice.

    OH interviened in my case in order to find solutions ie adapted working conditions but my pay was never affected but then I didn't change my hours but was given more breaks.

    Best wishes.

  • I to have wg and have recentkly went back on part time hrs to build back up to normal hrs. Like other have said depends on company policy some empolyers are flexible and understandin others arent If with union contact them for advice

  • Shame on them for putting you through this at a time like this! I think by law when a person has a disability (and I'm sure anyone with WG would meet the criteria for that) then they have to make 'reasonable adjustments' regardeless of what the contract states but that I think that cannot be changed without agreement and prior notification but best to check it out with someone apart from the company. Is he in a union you could try them. Company advise tends to be a tad biased so don't rely on them at all . Sounds wrong what they're doing to me. 'Reasonable Adjustments' can be all kinds of things like reduced hours, changes to working environment/equipment/chair and many other ways too. If you live in an area that have a Law Centre or there is some way you can get free legal advice to check out where you stand legally then do that so that if things do not improve at least you know where you stand from the beginning. trust me you need to know just in case. You may have a form of 'Legal Protection Cover' on a household insurance/contents/building policy or car policy and so would be entitled to free legal advice and even legal costs should you need them on that . Also if any of the household are in a union through work then try them too as sometimes other family members are covered too. You could also try the - 'Disability Law Service' -

    dls.org.uk/Advice/Index.html - they have an advice line for this

    Telephone: 020 7791 9800

    Textphone: 020 7791 9801

    Monday to Friday, 10.00am - 5pm (there is an answerphone for out of hours calls)

    These people are experts in this specific field whereas CAB tends to be a bit generalised. There is quite a lot of help out there for this kind of problem.

    Both myself and myself and my husband have WG and both been through this and both eventually lost jobs even though we shouldn't have done. You have to look after yourself at times like this. Clearly the employer is showing no loyalty to your husband so you need not show them any either. Maybe they will have to learn their lesson the hard way! Let's hope that once you can show them you know you're rights then they'll see sense and do the decent thing and do what they're supposed to do. sometimes small companies just aren't aware of their obligations under the law as regards disabled members of staff. Some staff don't even realise they are classed as disabled.

    If you're entitled to 'Working Tax Credit' then make sure that your husband gets the 'Disability element' added to it too (not many people are aware of this and the tax office won't remind you either normally so you have to ask), it makes all the difference. They will ask if he meets the criteria but you can check that on online, I'm sure he will but you make your own mind up.

    I understand how awful this must be for you and you certainly don't need this. The word 'heartless' springs to mind. Shame on them. We should send the Boss a humbug! Do you think he'd get my point!

    Do let me know how you go on. Hope it works out ok and take care.

  • Wegener's is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. You may find this link useful with information concerning employment rights and the DDA. Regards.

    nidirect.gov.uk/employment-...

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