- 4 years ago
I work in a practice where we have students for 8-9 months of the year. We have been told that we can’t take holidays during that time, which is fair enough. It’s a very busy time (in fact, I had a breakdown earlier this year due to extreme workload and no support. I had a short break when the students did in an attempt to unwind. I also saw a psychologist through the EAP. I didn’t claim work compensation although I could have, I just took annual leave).
For the other 3-4 months, we have one practitioner. I’ve now been told by my supervisor (who works at another practice 3 hours away) that we have to ask for permission to go to appointments (me and my colleagues normally work it out between us and what’s happening at work – we have never had to ask anyone about making doctor’s appointments. We cover for each other in these instances). And also that if we don’t book or around the practitioner’s schedule, we won’t have our sick leave approved (barring emergencies – which by my understanding is things like admission to the ER). While every effort is made to work around the practitioner, it isn’t always possible – especially when GP’s and specialists are so hard to get into – you have to take what you can get, especially when they only do certain things (like consults) on a particular day.
What this means is that if we get sick and it’s not an emergency (gastro, colds, flu, shingles etc) and it happens to fall on the day the practitioner is working, we won’t get approved for and paid our sick leave. Me and my colleague already feel pressured to come to work when we are sick because we don’t want to let our small team down (we have no backup and aren’t allowed to call someone in to cover). I need to have surgery next year, and it’s not an emergency. But it’s quite likely that either the surgery or recovery time will fall on days that the practitioner is working. I have to work around the specialist and take what I can get in regards to surgery. Also, according to our employment agreement, we are not allowed back to work until after the date on the certificate from the doctor – which, as far as what my supervisor said, if that falls on the days that the practitioner is working, I won’t get paid! Also according to the employment agreement, you don’t need a certificate for sick leave unless you’re away for more than 3 days.
I am so angry! We already have to book our holidays in the remaining 3-4 months, now our sick leave (planned or otherwise) has to be ‘planned’ around the work schedule!
Is this even legal? My SIL was shocked when I told her (she works for the same organisation in a different department) and was going to run it by her supervisor. The practitioner advised against taking it to HR as it will create waves and make trouble for myself – but my rights have essentially been taken away! I have never called in sick (due to not wanting to let the team down). The only sick leave I have taken is for appointments.
Help me out here Bees. Is it okay for supervisors to tell you when you can have sick leave?