New Employee Sickness

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by Andres78, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. Andres78

    Andres78 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    29 0
    So the upshot of this is that he is sick. Very sick.

    I received a doctors note signing him off for 3 weeks which I phoned to verify just to be absolutely sure. Also he sent me his blood tests. I'm no doctor he could have leukaemia from the searching I did based on his values. He's got to go for more tests this week.

    My contracts offer sick pay beyond statutory upon the discretion of the company. I am paying him full pay. We can't afford to for long though. Just the 7 days he's already had off and this next 3 weeks that he's signed off for. Upshot is I'll be working 60+ hours a week for the next month and earning very little or nothing as I'd just geared the business around taking on this new employee and one other in April when our peak season begins.

    Obviously I don't want to pester him but this guy is not very communicative via text or email. I have said I understand the situation is pretty bad but please keep me well informed as my business movements will be in conjunction with my evaluation of his condition. I.e I may take on another member of staff right away and hope he is also well enough to come back to work in the next 2 months or I may hold off. He offered to come in if he feels well enough, to which I refused on the spot as I can't plan around that, and I don't want him dropping dead on site. As an afterthought, later that evening, I asked him to speak to his GP first and if he is OK he could perhaps do tool maintenance or light duties. No response! Obviously I don't want to harass the guy but communication is really poor and I'm kinda wishing I hadn't offered full pay now.

    It's difficult when you're stuck between understanding that a person has at best, some kind of blood disorder, and at worst leukaemia but at the same time is causing your business that you've spent 10+ years working 50 -100+ hours a week building and is just really starting to take off, potentially go down the pan. All this within 3 week of hiring them full time....
     
    Posted: Feb 19, 2021 By: Andres78 Member since: Feb 21, 2013
    #21
  2. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,285 3,347
    You are probably right refusing him coming back in without doctor agreeing. No one wants to make someone who is sick, worse.



    Previous place I've worked where I had to submit medical notes the policy was HR would contact partway through the note and after end of the note - keep in touch, update records but also not harassing the sick person. And meant HR would know well in advance to expect another sick note or not.
     
    Posted: Feb 19, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #22
  3. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,127 807
    As an employer you can expect to request info and take into account such things as...
    • how long it will take them to recover
    • how certain it is that they will recover (with some illnesses, like broken bones, it is clear how long it will take but with something like stress it can be uncertain)
    • how easy it is to get cover for the job
    • whether the job can be kept open, remember if they have a disability it is a minefield. Take proper advice in such cases.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
    #23
  4. Mattymoomoo

    Mattymoomoo UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    26 10
    Someone with proper HR experience im sure will correct me, but if hired within 2 years, you can fire, just don't give a discriminatory reason.

    The situation sux for everyone, but don't take on his burden. You are a business not a charity. Be nice (three weeks additional full sick pay is enough including notice if you can). If it is cancer, this will go on and on and wont bring smiles or productivity. The reason we all pay tax is to cover this situation though the govt and hopefully he has health insurance.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Mattymoomoo Member since: Sep 15, 2020
    #24
  5. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    15,095 4,093
    It doesn't matter what reason you give. What matters is the reason for dismissal.

    Cancer is one of the confitions that means someone is automatically considered disabled. Dismissing someone because you believe they have cancer is unlawful.

    Dismissing someone because their absence, caused by cancer, causes the employer impossible problems, that cannot be alleviated would be lawful. But first you would have to consider all reasonable alternatives to dismissal, such as covering their absence with a temp.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #25
  6. Andres78

    Andres78 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    29 0
    I'm not going to dismiss him whether lawful or not because he has cancer. But he will have to go to statutory sick pay after his fit note expires in 2 1/2 weeks as is within the contract. I specifically contracted for full sick pay to be discretionary to avoid, not this, but the opportunist who fakes a bad back to get full pay for a year. Had he not just started I probably would try and help him for longer with full sick pay.

    If this goes on and on then statutory sick pay is not the end of the world. I assume though, that accrued annual leave would entitle him for full pay for those days accrued but I'm not sure on that yet. Again, situation is bad for all concerned but I'm looking on the bright side. SSP is not extortionate.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Andres78 Member since: Feb 21, 2013
    #26
  7. Mattymoomoo

    Mattymoomoo UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    26 10
    Thanks, Useful to know and at this stage if it were my business I would engage a professional such as your self for guidance and backside covering.

    For interest sake, if for example, 1) it was earlier on and the business didnt know about the illness would it have been ok to just fire them; & 2) If the employer kept the information from the employer through the interview would the situation be different?

    Cheers,

    Matt
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Mattymoomoo Member since: Sep 15, 2020
    #27
  8. Andres78

    Andres78 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    29 0
    He definitely did not know prior to starting. Blood tests were dated from a few days ago. Also, had he a suspicion, joining us would not have been any use as his contract is SSP with full pay at our discretion so getting a full time job, cognisant of pre existing health problems would be of little use to him.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Andres78 Member since: Feb 21, 2013
    #28
  9. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    15,095 4,093
    An employer can dismiss an employee at any time for a valid reason. DUring the first 2 years there does not have to be a valid reason but the employer cannot lawfully dismiss because of a protected characteristic. If the employer is genuinely unaware of a protected characteristic (and could not be espected to know) they cannot have dismissed because of that characteristic.

    An employee is not required to disclose health details at interview and should not be asked. They can be asked about their attendance record in previous employments Deliberate lies to valid interview questions is grounds for a gross misconduct dismissal.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #29
  10. Andres78

    Andres78 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    29 0
    How can this be? In our business a person's health, or lack of, can be hazardous to those around him. Risk assessments could not accurately be carried out without knowing of any/all health conditions.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Andres78 Member since: Feb 21, 2013
    #30
  11. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

    27,285 3,347
    Then perhaps ask at application stage. Or as a pre employment check.
    Some places do both, including referral to occ health for a report.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #31
  12. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    15,095 4,093
    I was talking generally. If there is a valid health and safety reason of course you can ask. But a blanket question is unacceptable. Do you hold a valid HGV licence, for example, would be better than tell us of all and any health conditions you may have.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
    #32
  13. MBE2017

    MBE2017 UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,127 807
    I know of a council worker who was swinging the lead regarding a bad back, looking to go on longe term sick leave. The council suspected what he was trying on but struggled to prove anything, they ended up asking him to declare he could not perform his duties and managed to get rid of him along the lines of being unable to carry out his duties anymore. All legal and above board

    Employment law is a real minefield, best use professionals before painting yourself into a corner.
     
    Posted: Feb 20, 2021 By: MBE2017 Member since: Feb 16, 2017
    #33
  14. Talay

    Talay UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    3,927 857
    Sack him now, save your cash, don't care what disease he "might" have. He can't sue on the grounds of speculation or non diagnosis.
     
    Posted: Feb 21, 2021 By: Talay Member since: Mar 12, 2012
    #34
  15. Guy Incognito

    Guy Incognito UKBF Regular Free Member

    229 35
    We had a similar situation with an employee a couple of years ago. She was probably off about 1 day a week on average (usually a Monday or a Friday).

    We put up with it for longer than we should have done but got rid of her. You cannot run your business with unreliable staff.

    Get rid. It will only get worse.
     
    Posted: Feb 21, 2021 By: Guy Incognito Member since: Aug 2, 2016
    #35