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Helpful Advice Needed Please


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Hi everyone, I wonder if your combined brain power can help me? We have a member of staff whom we all consider to be too unwell to work in childcare. She has severe (I mean really severe) asthma and has been in intensive care on ventilation twice this year. We don't work in the healthiest environment with all the green runny noses and being sneezed at in the face etc etc. She has no sense of smell and very poor hearing too. She sits and does not a lot when she's in, but she's off quite a lot which puts pressure on everyone. Next year our numbers are really high and we'll all have a minimum of 11 children in each key group - we can't 'carry' her again next year. The Manager and I will be doing her appraisal when we come back after half term and are dreading it - she's in denial that she's not well enough for the job, although she's aware she can't pick children up or cope with a tantrum etc. She's been there longer than me. She says she wants more hours - we want her to have less!

 

HELP!!! does anyone have any advice for us - are we allowed to 'go above her' and contact her doctor directly with our worries and find out what his views are?

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We were having a discussion about recruitment processes now that 'they' have banned employers from asking questions about health before an offer of employment has been made. In the light of this, we thought it would be really important to identify the key parts of the job which it is crucial to be able to do in terms of the health of the people doing the job.

 

So for instance, if you want someone who can go in and haul stuff out of the cupboard every morning and put it away again at the end of the session, then someone with a bad back would not be a suitable candidate for this kind of position.

 

I wonder if this is an exercise you could do for your member of staff? If you broke down her duties and could show how her health issues prevent her from carrying these out effectively you could identify whether she could still be employed with you but in a different capacity, or with different duties. Now I know you've worked all this out anyway and are pretty certain from what you've said that you really feel it would be detrimental to her health for her to to continue in her role. However maybe if she sees it all written down in black and white (and she has been involved in the discussions leading up to this point) she will have a clearer picture of how her health threatens the smoothe running of the setting.

 

I think there are ways of dismissing employees because of poor health, but ACAS would be your best port of call because as ever you have to be very careful!

 

Good luck - I don't envy you this situation!

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Thanks HappyMaz. Some good ideas there. Is ACAS just office hours do you know? I've looked on the website and got the number, but didn't see where it said office hours.

 

We can't afford to have someone who isn't doing their job to almost 100%, we're a small team and everyone has to be able to do their part. We've been more than generous giving loads of paid time off this year which has also meant that we and the Manager have had to work overtime as well as 'adopting' her key children for weeks on end and doing their learning folders along with our own.

 

I sound really mean, and I don't mean to be, we've done everything we can, but are now anxious that we don't go through it all again next year, when children numbers are much higher and we all have quite a few more children in our key groups - what if one of us is sick too????

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That's really useful Maz, thanks. Some good stuff on there, sometimes hard to find what you're looking for there's so much - I'm bookmarking this one!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bit of an update. Just heard after she's been off this week that she's not coming back this academic year - 'hopes' to be well enough to return in September, but that's not really a huge help - if she's not going to be well enough, I need to be advertising NOW for her replacement. Chances are, she will come back and we'll be going through all this again next year, sigh.

 

ACAS were extremely kind and I couldn't have asked for a more helpful chap. He gave me lots of things to say to her at her appraisal - but it doesn't look like that'll be happening this year now!

 

I just wish she could see what a pickle she's putting us all in! This is not the best (if there is one) time to be off - we're all meeting ourselves coming backwards as it is with end of year stuff, and now I have her children's learning journals to sort out - what a mess they are!!!!

 

Can you tell I'm a wee bit peeved!?

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as she has been off for so long think you would be justified to have an interview before she returns to ensure she is capable of doing the job.. my son was not allowed to return to work until he had undergone such an interview when he had been off due to Cancer and subsequent treatment..

 

could you then use the appraisal advice given for this.. could be a way forward so you don't have to start again for the next year..

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Think you would first have to find out if there was a way to help them return to work... but do think a return to work interview would be the way to go... many companies to them so why not us..

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