Not being able to work can present many problems. Having to sign yourself off work for a period of time can bring on a huge amount of anxiety and worry. There are many reasons why a person may need to be signed off work, be it stress, depression or even because of an accident. These issues in themselves are hard enough to deal with, let alone having to deal with the stress of uncertainty regarding the stability of your job and your income.
If you are facing an uncertain period, due to being signed off work, read on the find out more information about your rights and how best to go about your situation to ensure you are safe and protected.
Go to Your Doctor
Firstly, you are going to need to go and see your doctor. Whatever you are going through needs to be diagnosed by a doctor so that you know what treatment you need and so that your doctor can tell you how much time you need to recuperate and recover. If you are dealing with extreme anxiety, stress or depression, then this can be a tricky situation to navigate for a doctor in terms of letting you know how much time you will need to work on yourself and get yourself back to good health. As mental illnesses are becoming much more well documented and talked about these days there is absolutely no shame in admitting that you are not coping very well. Your doctor will be able to talk you through the treatments available and will be able to give you a doctors note that you will be able to take to your employer and talk them through your situation.
If you have been involved in a car accident and your recovery is a physical one, then the same applies. Perhaps you have suffered a personal injury and have no other choice than to spend time at home recovered until you are physically able to go back to work. In this situation the same applies. Going to your doctor, talking through your recovery process and then going to your employer to talk through your situation is always the best place to start.
Your employer has a legal obligation to make sure that they are working within the health and safety act perimeters and that the welfare of their staff is of paramount importance. If you have recently been signed off work, for any reason, your employer has a duty to take reasonable steps to ensure your health is being taken care of.
Work related stress due to work overload or being given an unmanageable amount of work, takes its toll on the best of us. If that is what has been the driving factor in your high-levels of stress then your employer is legally bound to take responsibility for that. At times distress is a result of external circumstances such as a bereavement, recent disability, serious accident or relationship. The disability or serious injury may be yours, or someone that is dependant on you such as a child. All of these situations fall well within the rightful brackets of needing to be signed off while for a certain period of time. When this happens you do have rights.
Your employer will need to hear about the specifics of your situation in order to understand you and to understand if they are in any part responsible for the situation you find yourself in. You will therefore need to be very open about any stress that has been put on you in the workplace, as otherwise your employer can raise a defense that they were not aware of the stress that you were under. Be firm and state your case in a way that clearly demonstrates why you need the time to recuperate and bring yourself back to good health.