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ESA QUESTION AND RESIGNING FROM JOB DUE TO LONG TERM SICK

Hi my name is Sue and I have a very urgent question to ask 

I have been of sick from my job since Oct 2016. I have exhausted my SSP and am now claiming ESA. 
My doctor has just signed me of for another two months and I know that long term I will not be able to go back to my role. 

I have RA , Osteroprosis, and osteoarthritis which causes great pain. 

If if I resign will I still be able to claim ESA , I already get PIP

many thanks 

Sue 

Replies

  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,732Administrator Scope community team
    Hi @Sue52 if you need a quicker answer, it might be worth you calling our Scope helpline on 0808 800 3333 
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • dogfatherdogfather Posts: 61Member Connected
    Sue 
    I am not an expert on this subject but  think you need to provide some more information before making any decision.  Do not just resign from your job your company may or should be able to help you. 

    The questions i would like to ask are:-
    Re your job what is the size of the company you work for?
    Do you have a company pension scheme? If so have you explored the possibility of ill health retirement. Lots of factors involved  however it may give you an additional stream of income.
    Does your company have an Occupational health advisor or access to one?
    If your condition has been on going for a long time,  assuming they company has one they should have referred you to OH.
    If you have a long term health issues what reasonable adjustments has your company made so you could potentially return to work. Either at work of from home?
    This issue  is covered by the equality act 2010,  Acas has some very useful information you can also google equality act 2010,  depending on the size of the company you work for they have to make every effort to do reasonable adjustments maybe even changing your role without reducing your pay. 

    All I  can say is PLEASE DO NOT RESIGN FROM YOUR JOB  before you have explored every avenue open to  you.

    I hope this info helps the benefits advisor may have more additional info.

     
  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 77Member Courageous
    HI Dogfather, In  answer to your questions. 
    I work in finance and my Company are worldwide so extremely large
    We do have a company pension scheme , I have only worked for them for three and a half years. 
    I have had two meetings with OH, and they advised returning to work on a reduced hours basis whilst we were waiting for medication to start working. ( recently started HUMIRA) as other medications were having no effect. 
    My doctor also advised back in December on my sick note to return to work on reduced hours for three months. When I advised the HR Manager of this, her response was. " we dictate your hours to you , you do not dictate them to us and it was dismissed .. 
    Prior to going of sick, one of my colleagues would help me with filing as the files are to heavy for me to lift. My supervisor stopped this stating that I was taking up my colleagues time.. Even though OH had advised that this would help me... 
    My supervisor would make things really difficult for me, even so far as having to prove that I had been to the hospital to a steroid injection to reduce a flare up, she even wanted to ring my doctor and speak to him.. I then provided her with the proof, every time I had a consultant appointment I would then give them the copy of the times etc and also the letter that they would send me after. 
    We have a new HR manager now and she is pressuring me to go for a welfare meeting to see what could be done, but she has already told me that my role is a full time one and there are no other roles availible. !! 
    I have contacted Shaw Trust who can help me retrain in another job and would like to do this going forward as a desk job just does not suit anymore. 
    Lastly, I have been advised (rightly or wrongly) to ask for 

    TERMINATION OF CONTRACT UNDER MUTUAL AGREEMENT DUE TO ILL HEALTH 

    I suffer from RA in both wrists, osteporisis, and osteoarthritis in my lower back ... 

    Any advice ice would be fantastic 
    kind regards 

    Sue 

  • dedusdedus Posts: 25Member Connected
    I would think if it's a mutual agreement you leaving , then you would be eligible for e s a under special circumstances , as long as you are not making yourself redundant , but I would tread carefully , I think you would need some kind of written prof from your workplace as to them agreeing to let you go on medical grounds , 
  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 77Member Courageous
    Thank you Dedus, the job centre has said that I will still be entitled, I need to leave my current role so that Shaw Trust will help me into a new one.. As you said I need to tread very carefully so will not rush responding to HR's email 

    many thanks again 
    Sue 
  • dogfatherdogfather Posts: 61Member Connected
    Sue

    sorry more questions, did you have these conditions prior to your employment with the company. If so were they aware of you conditions when they gave you a job? 

    Are you you a member of a union? If so they should be able to offer some very practical help. 

    My limited understanding of the equality act 2010 is if you have a chronic condition (one that has been on going for more than a year) your employer has to offer reasonable adjustments so you can carry on working.  As you work for a large company they need to get OH involved again, come and see you at work the difficulties you have. OH can then make suggestions of changes to your role sor equipment that could be purchased so you can carry on working in your current role. 

    You said you have seen the specialist, has your employer written to your specialist asking about your health issues and the long term prognosis? If not why not. 

    My suggestion to you is arrange another meeting with HR, quote the equality act 2010 to them and say what reasonable adjustments / additions to my working environment are you going to make so I can carry on working in a job ( you love)

    You can take a friend to the meeting the friend maybe the union rep if you are a member or even the health and safety officer. ( what happens if you cause an accident by dropping heavy boxes) 

    Another thing to consider is if you left there Employment what is the likelihood of finding another job, even with help. Will the money / benefits be as good as your current employer? 

    Depending on on your age & the terms of your companies pension scheme ( I assume you pay into it)  if you end up on long term sick, and all the medical evidence points to there being no chance of a recovery, Ill health retirement may be a possibility. Your HR website / union rep may have more details, I think this is the last resort as I believe it is nearly as rare as rocking horse droppings. 

    Good on luck please just don't walk away your company is trying to get rid of you the easiest & cheapest way.
  • dogfatherdogfather Posts: 61Member Connected
    Sue 

    Apologies i did not take into account  the bit about you been of sick since Oct2016.

    i would have  thought your employer would have used OH in ever effort to get you back to work. 

    Have you seen the OH reports that have been sent to your employer? Normally the OH letter states whether the condition will be covered by the equality act 2010. 
    Has your employer contacted your GP and  Specialist to ask about your conditions and  our recovery in the long term?

    I thought that some financial institutions  had an additional sickness scheme so once your  six months at full pay ran out they gave you half pay for a  longer period of time?

    I suggest you contact the employer and ask them to meet you at your house or somewhere where you are happy to meet them ( your terms not theres) 

    You need to take a friend, Union rep or health and safety officer to the meeting. 
    I would  ask your employer what reasonable adjustments  they have undertaken so you can successfully return to work. ( this is a large company so saying this is only a full time role and nothing else available  is not a good answer if this ever went  to court) 
    You explained earlier that people used to carry  think for you  as  they are to heavy to lift, why hasn't your employer made amendments so you can carry one working. Sticking their head in the sands and saying hard luck is not an acceptable answer. 

    I suggest you give them a letter of changes that need to be made so your are able to return to work. ( things that need to go in the letter, potentially short working hours, adaptions to your workstations,  that may help with your  conditions.  Can they find you a different role ( if they find you the role i don't think they can reduce your money)   At the bottom of the letter  ask if there is any possibility of ill health retirement especially if your Specialist / GP  prognosis is not good. 

    Ask HR to reply in writing giving them a timescale to respond, i think there is quiet a lot of work for them to do here so two maybe three weeks I would think is reasonable timescale.

    Tell them that you are making no decision regarding your future until you have received their letter and asked a solicitor / CAB to have a look at their  response re reasonable adjustments and the equality act 2010.   

    Hopefully you will make better progress adopting this strategy.  Do not let them walk all over you. They have a duty of care to look after  their staff and if the are a large multinational financial institution they can afford to do so. 

  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Posts: 2,679Member Pioneering
    Hi Sue52,

    I'm going to concentrate on the benefits side of this and leave the employment rights for now, but as dogfather has said, it's possible your employer isn't doing enough to help you return to work, and this may be worth looking at.

    As far as benefits are concerned, I'm guessing that you have not yet had a work capability assessment? This is a test that decides whether you are fit for work, and if not, whether you might be in the future, or are not likely to be for some time. The test may be done just on the basis of a form (called an ESA50) or you may be called for a face to face assessment.

    If you 'pass' the work capability assessment, then you don't have to worry about the circumstances in which you left work. Your work and the reasons you left may be relevant if you have a face to face assessment, as you may get asked about what you used to do. But once you have passed it, then it's fine, and you can continue to get ESA. It doesn't matter if you resign. What matters is what you can and cannot do in a workplace context, and whether work is a risk to your health.

    If you have more questions about the assessment, have a look here.

    You might know there are two types of ESA. Because you've been working, you'll probably get the contributory type. This lasts for 52 weeks, unless you are placed in the 'support' group, when it lasts indefinitely. The 'support' group means that you're someone who isn't expected to return to work soon, and you don't have to do anything to prepare to return to work. Whether you're in the support group is decided by the work capability assessment.

    It's worth checking if you can get income-based benefits too - you can use the Turn2Us checker for this.

    Finally, if you leave your current job and get ESA, then when and if you get another job via the Shaw Trust it's worth checking if you can start off doing 'permitted work', which doesn't affect your ESA. You can ask us about this nearer the time.

    If you do want further advice about the employment rights aspect of your situation, you could try Citizens Advice or the Equality Advisory Support Service.

    Will
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • RSISolutionsRSISolutions Posts: 83Member Connected
    Hi Sue52

    I am very sorry to hear about your predicament. I can sympathise with you wholeheartedly.

    Can I ask why this job is no longer suitable? Is it because you have to use your hands on the computer and this is because of your rheumatoid arthritis etc. Are you saying that you cannot use the computer any more full-time?

    If so, then I would like to recommend that you contact companies who specialise in technology for people who have problems using their hands on the computer. Unfortunately, my own experience is that occupational health physicians do not know anything about this technology.

    Such companies can come in to your workplace and assess you, and then write a report to say what reasonable adjustments they recommend. This report can then be presented to Access to Work who can pay up to £40,000 for reasonable adjustments. So for example they might  come in and recommend hands-free use of the computer using Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software, and training in how to use the software. They could also recommend ad hoc support that could be provided remotely by logging into your computer. Ad hoc support and training is crucial to the success of using voice recognition software. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImlKOA1MhlI

    I use the software all my time myself and it is superb. 

    Some companies that I would recommend are http://www.talkingpoint.uk.com/, http://www.pcbyvoice.com/. Talking point in particular sell software which puts a new interface on whatever software you are currently using to make it easier to use using your voice. They have several case studies on their website which should inspire you.

    If there are problems in sitting down for a long length of time, your employers could purchase a desk where as you could change the height of the desk and then you could alternate between standing up and sitting down.

    Another example of a reasonable adjustment which you are entitled to under the 210 Equality Act would be to have somebody at work to help you for some of the more difficult tasks. Access to Work would pay for this. This is no different from a person who is deaf who has somebody with them the whole day going to meetings and performing sign language for them.

    If you are experiencing difficulties in driving, using the bus, or walking to public transport Access to Work can also pay for a taxi to and from your work, this would also qualify as a reasonable adjustment.

    I would also suggest that you, your manager and the people who work around you and with you receive disability confidence training as it seems that they and you are not up to speed with your rights. This can be requested as a reasonable adjustment. Hopefully after receiving the training it would enlighten them and reduce the amount of inappropriate comments.

    https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/how-we-can-help/training/disability-confidence-training

    Reasonable adjustments are not only the responsibility of your manager but they are also the responsibility of everybody who works with you and around you. So for example, if you are using voice recognition software then you also need a quiet environment to work in because the microphone that you are using would pick up the background noise. The reasonable adjustment in this case would be a request for a quiet environment. Your colleagues would also need to be involved in facilitating this adjustment.

    One method of getting around this in an open plan office would be correct noise cancellation baffle boards around your desk and also to ensure you have the best background noise cancellation headset.

  • dogfatherdogfather Posts: 61Member Connected
    RSI solutions, great info re the reasonable adjustments that could take place. I think Sue works for a large financial institution, they should be able to pay for all these adjustments without having to use access to work! It's good to know that this help is there for all people, even if their employer can't afford to pay for reasonable adjustments.
  • Sue52Sue52 Posts: 77Member Courageous
    Hi all, sorry for not being here, have had lots to sort out..
     
    I spoke to my HR department about my role. ( includes long periods on the computer, lots of excel work, and lifting of files etc). I actually resigned on the 21st June. They then came back with that " they were sorry to hear of my resignation". 
    They then confirmed the following : 

    They were not able to put in reasonable adjustments, this included working part time until the medication started working. 
    It was not a part time role, but a full time one, and they could not offer me a part time role within the business, bearing in mind this a a world wide Company .
    I just gave up I must admit, and handed in my resignation. HR then came back with the following.  
    I was entitled to revert back to full pay from the 21.06.2017 - 30.07.2017
    I was also entitled to 15 days holiday pay not taken for 2017 
    Totally unexpected ( maybe a typo error) I had not paid entitlement holiday pay for 2016 ( 25 days) so they are going to pay me that as well !!!.
    We shall see !!!
    Moving forward, i had to resign in the end, i could not go back to the Company, it was toxic and had a bullying attitude and as we all know when you have a long term illness it brings your confidence down. I just felt in the end i would not cope with working with this company.
    I had a assessment today with the ESA people , soul destroying lol.
    Moving forward I would advise people to go to SHAW TRUST, they are there to basically re-train you because although you are classed as "disabled" you can still work. I am hoping to re-train as a counsellor of some sorts . Not using my hands so much for computer work. 
    Not sure If i made the right decision but I have to go with it... 
    I was talking to my nephew yesterday, and he actually said " You have always worked for the big Companies, maybe it is time to give back to the community and that is what I am going to do ( god willing). 
    My father years ago was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and i gave up work to look after him, i would like to do that again for others . 
    I have learnt that Big Corporations do not look after you even after long service so am moving forward and going into the community to help xxx
  • RSISolutionsRSISolutions Posts: 83Member Connected
    Hi @Sue52. I'm sorry to hear of your resignation.

    Actually, working less hours is also a resonable adjustment under the equality act too. See here :- 
    https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/multipage-guide/reasonable-adjustments-practice

    The fact that they denied you this doesnt not look good. I'd suggest talking to a legal advisor to check to see if you can take them to a tribunal. You should be able to do this over the phone during a 10min chat for free. 

    Going forward it would still be good for you to learn how to use Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software. You will need it to retrain and write those essays at college, surf the internet, write emails etc.  However, if you don't have a job, or an offer of a job, or going to college - getting the funding for this is more of a challenge. 

     But trying to learn how to use Dragon hands free as well as learning a new job/going to college is not a good move. Try to get the funding a few months before. That way you can become an expert at using the software before using it when you're really relying on it. 
  • dogfatherdogfather Posts: 61Member Connected
    Sue 

    I agree totally with the comments made by RSIsolutions you need to speak to a legal advisor and make a claim for unfair dismissal as your previous employer refused to implement reasonable adjustments. 

    Re the holiday pay Thais is correct, if you are on long term sick & do not return to work of take any holiday prior to you leaving their employment, you are entitled to all the holiday pay you accrued during your absence. The rules changed on 2012, details are on the ACAS website. 

    I eidh you luck and hope you win a big claim form your previous employer because they failed to implement reasonable adjustments and you were forced to resign.
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