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Tactics employers use to get you back to work when you're on sick leave

Updated: Jan 30

A woman lying on a bed in pain holding her stomach

Some employers may use covert or overt methods to coerce sick workers into returning to work before they are ready.

Here are 5 cunning strategies employers may resort to:

1. Employers may try to make their workers feel bad about taking time off by making them feel responsible for the negative effects their absence is having on the rest of the team or the business.

2. Some companies will reward workers with bonuses or promotions if they recover swiftly from illness and return to work.

3. Employers may imply that an employee's job security is at jeopardy if they take an extended period of sick absence.

4. Employers may insist that workers present substantial medical documentation or proof of illness in order to take sick days.

5. Fostering a culture of presenteeism by emphasising the value of "toughing it out" or "not letting the team down" may encourage employees to show up unwell to work.

Nobody really wins if an employee is pushed back into service before they are physically and mentally ready to do so, it will create a negative and untrusting relationship, reduced productivity, and as we now know after COVID a flu can spread to others in the workplace.

If an employee is ill or injured, their employer should let them take the time off they need to get better.

Here are some options employees can do to protect their health and employment rights:

1. See a doctor and acquire a note confirming that they are unable to work. This note can be used to convince an employer that further time off is necessary.

2. Ask for help: Until the employee is fully recovered, they can ask their employer for help in the form of temporary leave, decreased hours, or other responsibilities.

3. If the worker is a union member, he or she should seek guidance and support from the union's designated representative.

4. Consult a lawyer: If an employee believes that their employer is engaging in illegal conduct, he or she may seek the counsel of an attorney.

Examples of unreasonable conduct on the part of an employer:

1. Denying the sick worker sick leave notwithstanding their illness.

2. Putting too much pressure on the worker to return to work before they are ready.

3. Retaliating in some way against an employee who takes sick leave, such as by termination or a promotion, is prohibited.

4. Failing to ensure that employees are working in a place free from hazards that could cause them harm.

It's worth noting that companies are obligated to make reasonable accommodations for workers who are unable to do their jobs because of health problems. An employee may have legal options if an employer violates these responsibilities.

Extra safety measure for employees who work alone:

Whether you're recovering from an illness, not feeling too well or work alone, the stress of worrying something can happen when you're working your own can be overwhelming.

My SOS Family has created a lone worker emergency contact service to help protect you if something happens when you're at work, it's a simple to use lone worker app that contacts your work colleagues, manager or if there is no-one who you can rely on at work, can contact friends or family.

My SOS Family emergency alert service for Lone Workers is free 30 days and therefore if you're recovering from illness and recently returned to work and want that extra support for the first few weeks, it's a perfect companion.

If you decide to purchase , it's affordable given all the features at only 1.67 per month and if you have more than 10 employees that use the service and contact My SOS Family at there are bulk discounts available.



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