How can employers deal with mental health sick leave?
Yes, your doctor can sign you off work by issuing a fit note. However, you can self-certify the first 7 days of being off work.
If you need more time, you can pay a visit to your GP or hospital doctor to sign you off work for a few more days depending on the assessment and your condition, meaning if you just need a few days more or long-term treatment.
It seems like an obvious tip, but in the moment, if you’re nervous about what you’re asking, any preparation you’ve done will come in clutch.
“It’s important to prepare what you’re going to say before you reach out to human resources or your supervisor,” mental health activist Dior Vargas suggests . “It’s important to be in the mindset that you are deserving of a mental health day if you’re overwhelmed. It also helps to word your request as something that would benefit the company. An example might be, ‘I wanted to discuss taking a mental health day. Since working on our current project, I’ve been feeling that my productivity isn’t at the level that I would like it to be at. Taking a day off would help me refresh and better achieve the goals I have for this position.‘”
Its five answers to five questions. Here we go
1. What do I say when Im calling in sick for a mental health day?
I am a firm believer in using a sick day as a mental health day, when I know Im not leaving my coworkers hanging. What do I say when Im calling in sick, but Im not actually sick? Am I supposed to lie and say that Im sick? I am a part of a fairly small, close-knit team, so I hate coming back to people asking if Im feeling better, out of genuine concern. On the other hand, I dont want my coworkers to think Im taking advantage of our generous policy just because I felt like taking a day to stay in my pajamas and watch Netflix.
With mental health days meaning a day that you take off to relieve stress/avoid burnout or when you just cant face the world say that youre under the weather or a bit ill. You cant really call up and say, I cant bear the thought of coming into work today, but you also shouldnt make up a hacking cough. It fine to just be vague.
2. Will it be a problem that Ive never worked in an office?
Im in my mid-twenties, and Ive been working freelance ever since I graduated, in the arts and media sector. The jobs I do are typically now freelance positions, but 5-10 years ago they were always entry-level in-house positions . Ive actually gotten pretty good at what I do, my income isnt so bad, and Im satisfied with how things are progressing.
3. People keep asking the origin of my name
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Under the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty to provide reasonable adjustments for an employee who has a disability, which can include a mental health problem if it has a substantial, adverse, and long term effect on normal day-to-day activities, Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, tells metro.co.uk.
Typically, when it comes to mental health problems, these are small, inexpensive changes, such as more regular catch ups with managers, change of workspace, working hours, or breaks.
If your boss isnt supportive and HR arent much help, give Minds legal line on 0300 466 6463.
When you call up your boss and ask for the day off, you dont need to exaggerate or downplay whats going on, make excuses, or defend yourself. Youre not doing well, and youve made an adult decision about needing to take some time out of the office. Thats fine.
Sick days can and should be used for a mental health problem, just as for a physical health problem, if its severe enough that someone needs time off, says Emma.
Your need for a day to yourself is acceptable, normal, and nothing to feel guilty about.
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There are a few ways to express how we feel:
You cannot be fired for having severe or chronic anxiety. It is a protected diagnosis under federal law . The Americans with Disabilities Act protects chronic conditions that limit “bodily function.” Because anxiety alters the body’s functions of thinking and concentrating, it is covered as a disability in most cases.
However, your company must be a private employer with more than 15 employees to be covered by the ADA. You should also keep in mind that at-will employees can be let go at any time for no reason.
If you feel you have a strong case for wrongful termination due to your anxiety, then you can talk to an employment law attorney for free . In most cases, however, it can be hard to prove you were fired because of your anxiety in the workplace, so prevention is the best approach.
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Todays blog post emphasises on what to say when calling in sick for depression. We begin our discussion with a brief overview of depression. This is followed by understanding the stigma around depression, especially at the workplace. We then move to taking into account the various things that need to be considered if one needs to take a few days off for dealing with depression and lastly we try to answer the question, what to say when calling in sick with depression with the help of a few practical tips.
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Most of the fit notes are issued for physical health conditions such as having a bad back, but they can also be used for mental health illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and work-related stress. Your GP needs to assess your current situation and why you need a fit note to be able to issue it as specific as possible for your employer.
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The biggest issue with requesting sick leave for depression is that employees refrain from doing it because they dont expect to get days off. Even today, theres a lot of stigma around depression and anxiety, and employees fear the employer wont believe they have it or that it affects productivity.
Still, the law is clear on thisits a valid reason. When calling in sick, you should preferably do it via email or text to avoid a difficult conversation that would add to your stress levels.
When writing your request, you should:
Let your boss know about your illness as soon as possible. If you are feeling very ill the night before and know you wont make it in to work, you can send your boss a message that evening. Otherwise, tell your boss first thing in the morning.
Keep it brief. Dont go into great detail about your illness. No one wants to hear the specifics of your flu or stomach virus. Keep your message short and to the point.
Let your team know. Consider sending another message to your department or team letting them know that you will be absent. This is especially important if you are working on a team project or have a deadline coming up. Make sure they know you will not be available that day.
Explain your availability. Let your employer know if you will be able to respond to email or do any other work while you are home sick. If you are too sick to check your email, say so.
Mention any important information. Similarly, let your boss and your team know if there is any information they will need to know for that day. For example, you might tell your boss, I am sorry I am missing the staff-wide meeting at 2 p.m., but Ellen should have all of the data from our department. This kind of information will keep others from struggling in your absence.
Follow up. Make sure you know whether your company requires you to complete any sort of follow-up documentation. For example, some companies require employees to bring a doctors note to prove that they were ill.
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Well, frankly, no. If theres no work-related reason for you to disclose it, then you dont have to open up about any mental challenges you are facing. If, however, your state of mind is affecting your ability to complete your work, your attitude towards it, your relationship with your coworkers or any other issue related to your work environment, then a conversation may be necessary.
According to Tanisha Ranger, PsyD, a psychologist who has helped many patients decide whether or not to bring up their mental health issues with their boss, the right decision really depends on the particular situation.
If you know your boss well and have a good working relationship, I think it could really be beneficial to tell him/her about your mental illness, says the Nevada-based therapist. Understanding what you struggle with and how it can impact your work, can give you and your boss the opportunity to tailor your environment to optimize your chances for success. It can also reduce the stress you might experience at work . That kind of support can decrease the likelihood of experiencing negative symptoms that could negatively impact you, your work environment, your co-workers, and the business overall.
What it all boils down to is knowing that at your boss wants you to perform to the best of your ability when youre at work whatever industry youre in, whatever skill or trade you have, it makes no difference.
Employees who work full time in corporate sectors or any other sector are often confronted with this question, what to say when calling in sick for depression? when they are dealing with depression or any other mental health condition, whereas they may not be confronted by such questions when they have to call in sick for a physical condition.
Here are a few ways in which the employees can tackle the question what to say when calling in sick with depression and help them inform the office authorities accordingly.
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There are lots of ways to approach telling your boss that you cant come into work, but at some point or another, youre going to have to give them a reason. It should go without saying that not all of these reasons are as good as the others.
Here are a few examples of good reasons for taking off work:
Getting a fir note for depression really depends on the assessment or evaluation from a health professional. This is why it is imperative to contact your GP as soon as you feel you need a fit note to stay off work while you feel better. It is always important, to be honest, and forward with your doctor when he/she makes questions regarding how you feel. This is needed so they can have a clear understanding and build a picture of your mental health status.
If the doctor finally determines you are not fit for work, they will issue a fit note. The note can either say you are not fit for work or fit for work taking into account advice. This last reason will include some notes and advice so there can be adjustments made to your workplace to make you feel better when you are there.
Some of the changes may involve a gradual return to your work duties, changes to the specific duties related to your job or suggest a change in your working hours/schedule. If youre off work with stress or depression, these changes can really helpdiscuss them with your employer. If your employer is unable to make the changes, however, the note will be treated as if it simply says not fit for work.
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Once you’ve decided who you’ll contact, your next question is how to do so. You’ve got three real options phone, email and text and each one has pros and cons.
A phone call, the traditional method, adds a personal touch and a sense of sincerity, so it is a good option if there’s a trust gap that needs to be bridged. There is a risk, however, of getting sucked into a lengthier conversation than you bargained for, which isn’t ideal when your main priority should be rest.
Given that, a text message might seem appealing. It’s certainly an easier option than picking up the phone, but it could be construed as overly personal and unprofessional. Unless you’re on particularly good terms with your boss, it’s probably best to rule it out.
That leaves email. This is the safest choice for sick-day correspondence. You can send it in at any time, keep it concise as you like and have no fear of being seen as unprofessional.
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When we discussed what to say to the doctor to get signed off work, we mentioned that the best thing to do when having a conversation with your doctor is, to be honest, open and try to answer all of their questions in detail so your doctor can actually have a clear picture of what is happening to you. If he/she decided you need time off work, they will issue a fit note so you can get some time to recover and if they send you recommendations, make sure you follow them.
Anxiety is a very serious mental health issue and you need to make sure you take care of your mental health, not just ignore it and pretend it is not there or someday it will go away because it wont happen like that.
In this section, we will discuss what to say to the doctor to get signed off work with depression, what happens if you feel too depressed to work, tips on what you can say to your doctor to get time off work due to depression and some additional recommendations.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has also changed how employers and employees alike approach sick leave. Coming to work with a cough or a fever may not be merely inconsiderate, it could be dangerous. What’s more, sick leave policies at some companies have shifted to allow time off for mental health needs or to care for sick family members.
“It’s become a new landscape for every business out there,” says Amy Mosher, chief people officer for isolved, a company providing human capital management software.
To navigate this new normal, keep reading for answers to all the following common questions and concerns about calling in sick.
— What to say when calling in sick.
— What are good excuses for missing work?
— Can I call in sick if I’m a remote worker?
— How should you call in sick? Can you text in sick?
— What your boss is allowed to ask.
— Can you get fired for calling in sick?
— Can your boss force you to go home if you’re sick?
— How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting sick leave?
What to Say When Calling in Sick
“You don’t have to get into details,” says Debora Roland, vice president of human resources for CareerArc, a social recruiting platform. It is good form to explain why you won’t be coming in, but you don’t necessarily have to share any specifics of your illness.
It’s also a mistake to provide lengthy explanations as to why you can’t come to work. That could actually give the impression you are exaggerating or lying.
What Are Good Excuses for Missing Work?
Unfortunately, the debate over mental health days is still prevalent in many companies. Meaning, what you say to your boss is important.
In terms of mental health days at work, I highly encourage using sick time to take care of mental health, Hampton says.
How to go about taking a mental health day can be tricky. I encourage everyone to determine what specific company policy is before saying anything about mental health. Not all company policies consider mental health a viable reason to take a sick day. In this case, it would be preferable to simply ask for sick time in a way that is consistent with company culture, she says.
It may be frustrating if youre unable to directly explain why you need time off, but as long as youre honest in that youre sick, not specifying its for your mental health is fine.
When youre requesting time off, its OK to be brief. You dont need to go into detail about why youre taking a sick day or mental health day , but dont feel like you need to justify or explain it to anyone.
Note: There are some reasons why a person wouldnt have to tell their employer why theyre taking a day off. This is the case if the reason is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act .
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