Disappointment with employer - on SSP after just 2 months

In late October I suffered an Ischaemic stroke. I am 46. I was very fit and until this point, with the exception of COVID had only taken the odd day off work.

But just five weeks after having my stroke, I was told by my employer (whom I have worked for, for nearly 20 years) that my occupational sick pay was ending and that I would be on half pay for one month and then on SSP from then on. I am fortunate in that I have enough savings that I can cope, I also know there will be people on this forum who are self-employed or work for employers even less generous than mine, but I feel hugely disappointed and let down - especially after such a length of service.

How can anyone think that SSP of just £109.00 per week is a reasonable way to treat someone or supports ‘returning to work when you’re ready’. I have spent all of Christmas worrying about this and getting stressed as well as angry. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I express my disappointment to my employer without affecting my long-term career? How do I make them understand that my stroke recovery may take many months and that financial security is a key part of well-being.

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Hello @Rufus

Welcome to the forum. Sorry you have had calls to join us.
You’ll find that there is knowledgeable and empathetic bunch here who have generally trodden the same path ahead of you and so have experienced to share.

You do seem to have been harshly treated for many years of service - You could try asking both ACAS and citizens advice about your rights and about normal treatment.
You can find citizens advice here. And ACAS here

In addition one of the forum members put together the following advice on benefits of which pip is an obvious non-means tested one Extra help and concessions and in case you’re looking for a more general orientation to your new realities here’s our common welcome post

I hope some of these will reduce your worry and provide you with some useful resources

Ciao
Simon

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My first point of call would be my union. Are you a member?
I am assuming they are working to the letter of your contract. If not, you may need to consider legal action.

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Hi Rufus & welcome to the forum. Sorry you’ve had cause to join us & to hear of your SSP situation.

I don’t know who you work for but do they have a sick pay policy & if do have they followed it? Where I work the policy is laid out & can’t be over ridden.

If there is no policy & it is down to management discretion I would be looking to find out whether this is usual practice or not.

If you’re a TU member speak with them & ask them to help. If not get advice from ACAS or Citizens Advice (CAB). They can hopefully help with the best way to approach your employer.

If you have paid NI contributions for the last 2 years you may be eligible for new Style ESA. It isn’t neans tested. CAB can advise on other things you may be entitled too.

Best wishes

Ann

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ESA is detailed here

I had what seemed a crazy situation that I had to apply for this, to be declined, so that my employer wouldn’t deduct the amount from sick pay.

The DWP have never heard of anything like this and I spent a good couple of weeks on calls etc where they were trying to be 100% sure it was the right decision.

PIP is potentially the most useful given it’s not mean tested as it may help bridge a gap between previous full time and any future part time working.

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Thanks @Nigelglos - I’ve copied your link to our Extra help and concessions wiki started by kieran @KGB too :slight_smile:

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Really sorry to hear this. In your shoes I would be livid and would send a strongly worded email to the top dog!

Definitely check your sickness and absence policies. Depending on length of service and any prior sickness absences in the past rolling 12mts (usually) you may be entitled to more of your regular pay.

Below is everything I had to do and would advise everyone who worked before their stroke.

Following this, if you’re covered for Income Protection insurance via your employer ironically this may be a life saver. It usually kicks in with a % of your normal salary after 6mts continuous sick leave and lasts x years but check your insurance. Unfortunately I was misadvised by my employer so I did not know I was eligible. If you can survive financially and don’t / can’t go back to work earlier it could be strategically advantageous financially to stay off to claim it.

If / when you return they should put you back to full pay on a phased return to work plan. The irony being that they won’t pay you full pay to get well but they will pay you on a phased return when half the time is absent. Not sure if employers are obliged to do this but mine did.

IMPORTANT! This may sound like a strange comment but make sure you have the ‘Family Legal Protection’ option on home or car insurance right NOW. If your employer does anything dodgy after the policy starts it could give you legal expense cover for a range of issues including employment.

Join a union at work or you can join online ones. Hopefully you will not need it. But they can help or represent you as mentioned.

Make sure you get assessed and support from Occ Health as early as possible if / when you are thinking of going back for any reasonable adjustments you need. I was able to return on a though I was still recovering. I say this because I went through all this.

I realise this is a very difficult time. I was there too. I hope this helps in terms of the big picture. Best wishes for your recovery.

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Hello Rufus,
Welcome and sorry that your employer is not playing ball or working with you. There’s lots of good advice here to explore. Your situation shows how poor some companies view disability. I’d be reminding HR about that. Your company should be offering phased return as you’ve been a good employee and a long term one.
Writing to the CEO might be a good idea. Start with “I’m very disappointed…” Is your manager’s hands tied by company policy? Remind them of your loyalty and good service.
Whatever you do - don’t quit, keep going. :+1:

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