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Should we have to get sick notes while furlough is still present?

Hi I am a TA in a school with Polycythaemia vera (PV) and have been off work on and off throughout pandemic.
Since the numbers in my area have risen my haematologist has advised me to stay away from school and work from home. I was initially doing this in June however my head then told me I had to go on the sick if I couldn’t do my job in school.
As furlough does not end until next week should it not be classed as sick leave?
I’m just concerned that I’m clocking up sickness when I’m physically well and I’m only off because my haematologist and occupational health have said that I need to continue to socially distance so can’t be in class.
Thanks Louise x

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It may be worth giving your union a call or ACAS x

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Hi @Loui2e and a great big welcome, @Nichola75 has given you good advice and if you are a member of a union or your local Citizens Advice might give some guidance,.
I look forward to hearing more from you and please do let us know how you get on.

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Thanks for your response. I’ll look into it as I will be having a meeting with my head soon.
I just thought it might have been common practice to furlough CEV while it’s still on rather than making us go on sick leave.

Can I just say - you guys do an awesome job on here and it’s much appreciated thank you :blush: xx

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It’s so tough. I teach and am back in work - I have a risk assessment in place. Let me know how you get on x

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Hi @Loui2e please do let us know how your your meeting with your head goes and perhaps remember that a meeting is a two way process so you have your say too.
Look after yourself.

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Hello Loui - I feel for your situation and hope it gets rectified, being employed during a pandemic with a blood cancer has not been an easy combination!! You are right at the CEV have been entitled to furlough throughout until the scheme ends this month - the problem comes is that for those employed it is at the discretion and/or agreement of the employer - so as in your case your employer can ask you to take sickness leave, which invariably is their economic decision as furlough has involved employer contributions and quite a percentage in recent months - which leaves us in a predicament. Do take legal advice from Citizens Advice to get the specifics of your entitlements, there is something you can ask for ie a flexible working arrangement on health grounds, you mention you have been able to work from home previously so ask the CAB how to go about requesting that on a longer term to cover you thro the winter months, with a here’s hoping spring will be simpler for us all and the 3rd primary dose (if we ever get it :grinning::rofl:) will assist - all the best keep us posted

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Hi @Loui2e . It is a tricky situation and unfortunately practice does seem to vary even within one institution. Although it could be argued that institutions have to furlough CEV staff there are variations at both the institutions and the staff members request. I am a former union rep and although part time still sit on the committee and I hear different practice from different schools in the uni and different approaches to teaching, research and admin staff. We have struggled to ensure that he status of the employee is correctly recorded as we have found that when a formerly furloughed member of staff returns to work often at their own request e.g to teach on line or in person during times of low case rates, if rising case numbers /medical advice etc requires them to refrain from attending work and there is no home based alternative although CEV and formerly on furlough they are often recorded as sick and required to provide sick notes. If you are a union member you need to consult your rep who will be involved with other examples within your institution. AS @Nichola75 says what about your risk assessment what was agreed? I can understand your concern but our approach would always be to ask the institution what it thinks the situation is before we respond so ask your Head /HR listen ad write it down. Seeing you writing things down always has a moderating influence on Employers and is useful to refer to after wards. Good Luck

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Thank you all for taking the time to respond.
I’m still waiting for a meeting with my head. I know they have a lot on their plates so don’t want to keep hassling them. I know we currently have 2 staff and 7 children off with covid at the moment and my workmates have told me it’s a very strained atmosphere in school.
I’ll keep you posted xx

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I know it’s been a fight for a lot of CEV people to be classified as furloughed rather than sick so you are not alone @Loui2e . You should definitely take the advice above and consult your union. I hope this works out for you.

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