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Grrr I am so annoyed I have had to start a new thread re pressure to return to work full time.

When I came out of hospital my HR department arranged a meeting with me,my manager and my area manager at my home. I gave them tea, coffee, biscuits and allowed them to be savaged by my dog - very gently! They sympathised and admired my shaved scarred head and told me they were here for me and not to rush back to work!

 

I have gradually been phasing back and am up to 25 hours per week. I have a job that could cause severe problems should I make a mistake hence my slow return. (I am a Pharmacy checking technician)

Today I have been told by my immediate manager that head office have told her that phasing usually only lasts about 6 weeks and when am I going to be back full time? Bear in  mind that I have only been paid for the hours I work since the end of May with a paltry £15.00 per day SSP for the rest = £15.00 on top of my hours per week!

 

They said at my home visit they would write to hospital and ask for a phased return plan, did that happen? NO! They said that my health was of the utmost importance, do they seem to think that now? NO!.

Well I shall be fighting them! I want to return for longer hours but not at the expense of my health. I would like to know how many other of their employees has had a SAH, not many considering their 6 week phasing presumption. I would have loved to have been back after 6 weeks and so would my bank balance!

Grrrrrrr! Rant over! Sorry!

 

Clare xx

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Hi Clare
I share your frustration mine was only a 4 week phased return and then I had to use holidays to take extra time. I am now back to my 9.15 hours over 4 days with mostly the expectation that I am fine, I think for serious health issues should be longer phasing. I do struggle but cannot afford to reduce my days yet.

 

Hope you do get it sorted but mine just stated the policy, they were a bit kinder because they did accept I could reduce hours temporarily but my job can be unpredictable if a safeguarding concern needs dealt with or funding application needs to be in you have to deal with it, so I did not want to cut pay and still do hours. Fingers crossed you get it sorted x

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Hi Clare

 

So sorry to learn that you are feeling frustrated by your employer`s attitude to your return to work progress. It is disappointing that a health orientated business can adopt this stance. Surely they must agree that failure to provide you with written confirmation of your phased return discussions at the outset is bad practice

 

You have a strong desire not to let work problems affect your health and work life balance and I do hope you can get them to take a realistic approach given the severity of your illness. Twenty five hours a week is a great achievement so far given it is still early days for you.

 

Keep positive

 

Subs

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Well Clare,

 

I'd invoice them for time and coffee and dogs hairs you gave them, let alone bicci's.   

 

Tell them you are not allowed to be upset, I mean you could be doing my pills. !

 

Seriously have a chat with them and tell them you want it phased over a period that suits you and your health xx

 

Don't worry about it now just go away and relax and enjoy hols with hubby xxx Do not let Them spoil your Hols xx

 

Love

Broken nail VVin xxxx  Sun, Sand,Sea and swimming pool and bar  lol

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Hey Clare. Firstly well done for what you have acheived so far, I personally have yet to get past twenty hours but I and my employer have accepted that is all that is acheiveable for me at present and so that is now my working arrangement and I have accepted a role on that understanding.

I think the key is communication , open and flexible attitudes from both you and your employer. Whilst They are right in saying most phased returns are quicker, (although 6 weeks is pretty accelerated) they equally must appreciate that each circumstance regarding health is different and that's why you must put plans in place so both parties understand what you are aiming for.

Do you have occupational health support? If not then I suggest possibly putting in place two week check ins with your line manager to talk about the previous weeks how they have gone and put plan in place for next two weeks and regular checks to make sure you are coping with the progression and increase of hours. Whenever you increase try to tack on some extra breaks in the day if they allow this. This collaboration helps the business and It helps you. It doesn't sound like theg are being unreasonable they just want to make plans and understand what may be possible.

Lastly, and this is a tough one honey. They aren't obliged to keep you on sick pay for ever, at some point a conversation has to be had about whether you have reached a plateau of what is manageable for you physically, emotionally and preserves your capability to work whilst respecting your other interests and responsibilities outside work. At that point if you can do no more it may be a change of your contracted hours through a request for flexible working , temporary or permanent, or last resort, a parting of the ways which would hopefully be done in a structured and amicable way.

Please don't get cross, it's not personal and also the stress isn't good for you. Think about what you want Clare. Where are you aiming for? For me, I wanted to know what I could do, I wanted the purpose of work ( the money too!) but most importantly I needed to know what was possible or not but I knew I probably wouldn't get back to full time, my doctors agree with the cognitive defects I am left with :( .

I was quite a bit different in circumstances as I was off work for over16 months before medically I was considered fit to even start back and It's taken me a long while since then ( 18 months) but in that time I have found new limits , gone past them,, found new ones again within my other life demands and I am lucky to have been able to negotiate and have support to make that work for me. I know not everyone can take that time and their employers firms can't absorb it but flexibility is key on both sides. I am still aiming to increase things and my hours but I will do it slowly.

Talk to them Clare. They value you, help them to understand.

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Hi Clare,

 

You have my sympathy - returning to work is tough! Well done for getting back to the hours you have managed thus far. It is an excellent achievement.

 

I have also had some issues with my work place with this. When I spoke with my head they said that a 10 week phased return is all I could be offered as that is what they could offer to everyone. This could potentially be extended once I was on it but that there would be a finite point to it.

 

I am currently under an OT who is working with me on the return to work and she has said that a 10 week phased return is not suitable after a brain injury of the level I have had and the cognitive and physical issues I am left with. She does not think I will return to full time hours within that time so what she has put forth is that I remain on my sick note at the moment but go into work to do none contractual tasks (I was a teacher before all this so like you need to be on the ball). I will use this to build up my stamina and then start on the phased return. This is good in some senses as it gives me more chance to get back to near full time work, but obviously I am also losing out on pay etc.  

 

This has managed to extend it out somewhat but I know there will a point where I need to sit down and decide what I can do. As Daffodil has said it is not nice but potentially you might have to face up to accepting part-time hours for a while. I have also spoken to my work place about this and they have said that if it comes to that I could potentially have an amended contract and that if in the future I wanted to try and do more I could try. I know it is difficult to come to terms with but it might be worth sitting down with your employer and seeing exactly what your options are.

 

Good luck with it all

Gemma

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Thanks everyone for your comments. Things got worse today so I am glad I am off for a week. Mind you it will mar my holiday slightly having the worry. Daf I am not on company sick, that ran out in May, I am on Statutory sick (government sick pay) for 1 day a week and then get paid for the 24 hours a week I work. I am not costing then any money and they aren't even covering me for the hours I am not there any more.

 

I had a plan with my immediate manager that eventually I would like to return to work for 4 days per week on my old hours and have one day off (Wednesday) to enable me to recharge my batteries - 2 of those 4 days are 9.5 working hours. I was therefore going to be losing hours - 19 per month which is quite a salary drop. I then asked if I could work one Saturday morning per month for 4 hours as I knew my colleague wanted to give it up. Good plan my immediate manager thought, not so the Area manager, he says no.

 

No reason except he doesn't want a Checker working Saturdays. The rate of pay is exactly the same so it does not make sense. Had a big row with him and have now been told he will think about it and let me know.

I am so angry, I am offering to give up hours which would help the budget they keep on about, (they would not replace me for those hours) but there has to be a limit to the amount of salary drop I can take.

 

I work so hard for them and prior to the SAH never had time off sick. It has made me seriously think about moving jobs. I have made them an offer that would suit all concerned but no, for some irrational reason they have refused. Sorry to go on, so glad I can come her and rant!!! :angry:  :angry:  :angry:

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That is very frustrating Clare - feel free to rant away!

 

Hopefully your area manager will come back and allow you to work on the Saturday. The only other thing I can suggest if they are still being awkward is to potentially contact the hospital where you were treated to see if they have any rehabilitation specialists that they can refer you to. I was treated in London and they have a rehabilitation department that deals with returns to work, including the legal side of things. Potentially a letter/phone call from someone like that would help your case?

 

Good luck! xx

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Deep breathing just remember when you get there you'll be with hubby and you, no worrying and do not let them spoil your break.   Oh he isn't taking it lol xxx

 

You both deserve a holiday with the years you have both had.  We had it but they walked every step with us and were scared.

 

So What I say to you Clare is bleep the job and enjoy yourself you both deserve a good break.

 

Now get packing and  ENJOY yourselves,  laugh, run and swim and have a GREAT Time xxx

 

Love ya Pal now holiday !!!!

 

Win xxx xx

 

Thought I put about his chicken hat lol  as I typed  ...  Oh he isn't taking it..  Okay Okay lol  !!!

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Clare. Good advice from Win. Enjoy the holiday. Enjoy the break and try to chill and have some fun.

Employers do have to consider your request for flexible hours or amended contract hours seriously but realistically the consequences upon them of refusing you are small and its pretty hard for the employee to chase so maybe use your break to think about what you would like to do longer term. if he's really refusing your very good suggestion then working for an inconsiderate employer could be more stress than it's worth.

I realised you are on SSP but that doesn't continue long term either so worth putting your suggestion in writing to them, detailing it properly and asking them for a response and then if they say no to that offer them the alternative of how long it will take you to get to full time, be realistic though and ask them to reply. Just sharing my view.

Gemma, sounds like you are getting some good support and I know you have had similar challenges to me with the cognitive issues. Keep taking it slow as much as they allow, it pays off. Occ health is so right about the brain injury taking much longer.... used to be no one who had a stroke or brain injury could go back to work, but we have learnt so much more these days that the brain can heal but it has to do it slowly and without extra demands and not too much sensory stimulation to contend with but work can really help and of course pays the bills!!! That's hard for employers to understand, accommodate so I can see why it falls down so much. Frustrating though!

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Hi Daff,

 

Yes I have been very lucky with the level of support I have received. I literally have no idea how I would return to work without it. Everyone who has an SAH should have this help in returning to work - but I guess it is a postcode lottery on what help you get.

 

Like you I attended the SAH workshop at the NHNN in London, which was useful in helping me get to grips with all the cognitive changes. The one-to-one support from the OT has also helped me work around my issues. I am lucky that at the moment my work place seems happy to take the advice of my OT and work with me to return.

 

I find the uncertainty the most difficult thing to contend with. I had my work assessment on this Monday just gone where my line manager and OT watched me teach a lesson (the first in 8 months!) and I did ok on that so I know I can do the job, it is now just a matter of building it up and working out exactly how much of it I can do. Time will tell I guess.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Good news on this thread while I was away in Spain. I have been told that I can work the hours I suggested including the 4 hour Saturday morning. Not sure what made the Area Manager capitulate, may have been HR at Head Office having a word with him.

 

Anyway I now have to work up to those hours and intend starting next week. I will attempt 9.5 hours on Monday and 6 hours the other 3 days and see how it goes. Will have an hours lunch break and hopefully be able to get some peace during that. Used to always go and sit in my car as our staff room is non-existent but as I am still without a licence I may have to sit in a friends!

 

On the licence matter I rang DVLA medical department on my return from holiday. They say they have heard from the hospital but are unable to make a decision so have passed it on to their medical advisor. Could be 9 weeks! At this rate I'll be lucky to drive before Christmas! Anyone else who had an EVD have this problem?

 

Clare xx

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Hi Clare,

 

Glad to see that you are getting somewhere with work. I hope that the new hours work out well for you and give you the work-life balance you are looking for. Let us know how they go.

 

I am also still banned from driving, which is quite annoying as I live in an area with no public transport so when my husband is at work I am stuck at home.

 

I also had an EVD but then later had a shunt fitted so my ban is actually 6 months from the date I had that done. By my calculations that should have been up in August but I am still waiting for the DVLA to make their decision. They have also told me that it could be a number of weeks before they do make a decision. Unfortunately I do not have much advice to offer - only sympathy!

 

The only thing I can suggest is that you offer to sit a hazard perception test to show that your reactions have not been affected at all. The rehab centre I go to has said I might need to sit one to get my license back. The DVLA can request it themselves or you can sit one before they ask and pass on the result. Apparently it costs around £50 to do but if the DVLA request it then they have to pay.

 

My husband and I decided that we would wait and see what the DVLA said before paying for anything that I might not need to actually do. Maybe you could contact the DVLA and see if they do want anything like that as evidence? Good luck with it all!  

 

Gemma xx

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Hi Gemma

 

The hospital told me that my 6 months was from the date the EVD was removed which should have been 17th August. I reapplied at the end of May and here we are nearly October! I am lucky unlike you in that I live in the city and have access to public transport with my free bus pass. I also ride my bike a lot, my husband has now got me some lights seeing as I will be riding a bit longer

I will just wait and see, my daughter is happy anyway as it means she gets my car until she goes away in November!

 

Clare xx

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Hi Clare,

 

Yes it is annoying - I also reapplied at the end of May thinking I was doing it quite early on and that I would hear back quite quickly. With what I know now I should have done it even earlier! Hopefully you will hear from the DVLA soon.

 

Gemma xx

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I'm so very sorry for what you are going through. Since I'm in the USA (and have problems understanding things) I don't totally understand the issues you've mentioned. But I can tell you I've heard horror stories of how USA companies have treated their employees after a brain injury.

I actually worked for The HUMANE Society of the United States (HSUS) and when I returned to work they put me into a brand new position- one that I had NEVER done before and then they were shocked when I couldn't do it!! I pretty much failed my neurhphysc eval and thats when I decided I could not take the stress that HSUS was putting on me. I left.

I pray you get what you want and deserve out of your job.

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Hi,

I am well aware of little support at work. I did have a few that truly cared but my HR dept was the worst! Cared all about the paperwork and policy and laws. No feeling or caring involved. I stay as far away as possible to my HR.

Iola

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Following my SAH (and associated clipping surgery), I was off work for about three months.  Nobody even discussed phased return - basically I was told the aneurysms were fixed, go live your life. 

 

So, I went back full time, with a full time commute to go with it.  No one ever said anything about not driving; guess it is different here in USA.  Anyway, it definitely was a struggle. 

 

Within three months, I was so exhausted I tripped over a metal hammock stand on the deck, broke a bone in my foot, and had to take a little more time off! 

 

My job involved processing applications and renewals for structures on State waterways; I never was caught up with my work again, no matter how hard I tried, or how many hours I worked. 

 

One year ago today I changed jobs and haven't looked back except to say "Thank God". I know jobs can be hard to come by and I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to switch to something I truly love, but sometimes I think you just have to make up your mind that the switch is needed.

 

And wow, Ponigirl, you were treated that way by HSUS??  That brings my future ability to be a supporter into question.....

 

Oh, and I have been told, Iola, that HR is there to protect the company, not the employee.  Crazy world.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi there
Just been reading through these postings and I guess i am very lucky

I didnt have any contact with my employer until 8 weeks post SAH
And then I was informed that due to the severity of my unfortunate condition, occupational health department would not interfere with my consultant, which basically means it will be up to him as to when I will return to work and not before

Although I have a stressful job, my phase return will prob be 4 hours a day for 3 days a week over a month
And then 4 hours a day 5 days a week over the following month
And then full hours 3 days a week for month
Then back to normal hours and days including my shift work

So even when I start back it will be 3 months until im up and running full tilt

Feel very privileged when I read or hear others issues with their employer

Best wishes to you all

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