Returning to work big dilemma

Hi all,

Hope you all are well.

So my husband is looking to return to work in Jan after his TIA early November.

There are obstacles though…

The main one being is that his job is about an hour’s drive from our home and he is still experiencing issues when driving on big roads. He has spoken to his consultant who feels anxiety is playing a part in this & wiĺl be getting some therapy also in January. He will speak to his employer to see what options are available but it’s a tricky one as, medically, he has been cleared to drive and resume “normal life”. Well the new normal, anyway. There is no way id feel comfortable him driving that distance, and neither is he. A train would take 2.5 hours ajd isnt really viable.

I have no idea how accommodating his employer will be or has to be. He works for a large car manufacturer in sales, which he finds stressful to say the least. Should we expect them to he understanding and accommodating to some degree in this? I have no idea on legalities.

We feel stress from the job was a big contributor to him having the TIA. Ultimately he may have to look for something less stressful I guess, in order to prtoect his health to some degree.

Any thoughts on the above?

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Hi @Karenemma has your husband had an occupational health referral done? If not it would be worth him asking for one.

Employers are required to put reasonable adjustments in place for people with disabilities. What is reasonable depends on the employer.

I would contact ACAS for advice on what he can expect his Employers to do.

Alao have a look at Access to Work as they can help with travel to work costs & other adjustments. For example I can claim taxi fares to and from work.

Could your husband work from home? Perhaps he can fo back on reduced hours initially? Could they adjust his role temporarily?

Does your husband belong to a TU? If so get them to help.

I would suggest your husband has a meeting with his employer to go through any adjustments, his capabilities etc. Get a FIT note from his GP with a list of adjustments on it.

His health has to come first but don’t let them push him into something he isn’t happy with or to force him to leave. Let them ill health dismiss if necessary but hopefully it won’t come to that. Please do seak to ACAS.

Hope this helps a little.

Good luck.

Ann x


:+1: yep Ann @Mrs5K has given you the Rolls-Royce of advice - there is an obligation to make reasonable adjustment - although that’s a term to be determined by the parties.

ACAS and any trade union or staff association and large employer occupational therapy department and HR department will be able to advise. You might also use citizens advice as a backup but ACAS are really the place to go


I hope your husband has had a positive response from his employer. I can really empathise with his concerns about returning to work, especially one that is stressful. I know employers have to make reasonable adjustments but some jobs are stressful by their very nature - this is my single biggest concern about returning to work, as like your husband I believe stress was a major factor in my stroke and I know it will be hard for changes to be made that will reduce that stress. If he is anything like me he will have considered the nuclear option, a change of career, but that in itself is a pretty stressful thing and easier said than done. I hope he finds a solution, as my doctor keeps telling me, your health should come above everything.


Thank you for the above replies, they are really helpful.

I took your advice Ann (thank you) and spoke to Acas last week. My husband has spoken to his employer and they are arranging for him to have meeting with Occupational Heath, hopefully he’ll have that in a few weeks.

Sorry to hear about your situation Rufus. Its tricky as my husband doesn’t want to put himself back in a stress-fuelled environment. He wants to protect his health but also earn a decent wage. My wage is quite miniminal and we have 2 yoing boys, so he is bread winner as such. I know there are such things as stress counsellors who give you advice and tools to deal with stress so perhaps thats worth looking into. At the moment he’s no idea wherher he’ll have to start again and, like you said, that is stressful in itself. He is 57 and didnt really want to look at changing career path now. I guess people do it though.
Best wishes to you Rufus.


@Karenemma glad you have managed to get some advice from ACAS & that your husband will be getting an occupational health assessment. That should help him & hus employer find a way to help your husband back to work. Make sure he is open about his issues & any support he might need.

Good luck.

Ann x


Good to hear your husband is getting back to work. I just wrote a reply on this issue of returning to work and you may find it useful. I’m hoping you can find my comments from my username or here…

It doesn’t sound like an ill health retirement situation as he is well enough to start back at work. Otherwise employers opt hastily for a dismissal on capability grounds (which may be unlawful). I do not agree with previous advice to consider this unless you have sought and considered full legal advice. I’m not sure that a TIA would qualify as a ‘disability’ in terms of employment rights but his employer certainly has a duty of care and should heed any warnings about things that have caused work related stress and reign those back.

If he can do management / administrative work, change of duties or job share with a colleague, work remotely or aim for 1 day in office when he feels more confident driving these are very sensible and practical adjustments. Be prepared to think about what the work could look like as this should help his mgr and HR work out a Return to Work plan. If this is recorded in his Occ Health report all the better as employers typically carry out the Consultant’s recommendations.

I say all this hoping that his employer takes a proactive and supportive stance. You are right to treat it seriously and look for ways to make changes in work and lifestyle. Good luck!