phased return to work after cancer, employer being a **** need help

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anythinggoeshere
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Hi everyone. So I'll start from the beginning but try to be precise/keep it short. Please help me.

TLDR: phased return to work agreed in HR meeting I'll use my holiday entitlement for the hours I don't work so I'll get full pay. Received a letter from them today asking me to sign to a change of contract of 12 hours a week and holiday entitlement based on pro rata, something In direct contradiction to what we agreed ( and of course then I won't be able to use my holiday pay if i'm only contracted 12 hours) Only received the letter today and I return on monday. I won't sign it of course but can someone with knowledge give me advise?

About 8 months ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, had the operation to remove the testicle followed by chemotherapy, and also another major surgery called rplnd (effectively open heart surgery but on the stomach) as the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes at the back of my abdomen and needed removing. Left me with a huge scar and a pretty rough time in hospital, including getting sepsis (such a rare and serious complication, just my luck) which finally passed after 10 days.

Anyway, i'm doing ok now, finally started doing light exercise 10 weeks after (the operation destroys your core muscles) and I am due to be returning to work this monday (it's been 10 weeks since surgery).

So i had a meeting with HR last friday (with my mum) to discuss the phased return. 4-6 weeks gradually building up my hours and days. that's fine.

Because I had accrued holiday ( you get this while on sick pay) we specifically asked if we can use this holiday for the hours I don't work so I still will get full pay. For example first week I work 12 hours, so take 28 hours as holiday so i'm still getting paid for full time. HR had agreed to this and also said any leftover holiday we can pass on for next year.

Now I was supposed to return last monday but my line manager was on holiday so they asked me to come a week later, but take the week off as holiday so I still get paid. Fine.

Received letter today asking to me to sign to a change of contract to 12 hours ( so then I cant use my holiday pay) and for them to only pay me the 12 hours. Ridiculous, especially as they wouldn't have been able even send the letter had I started last monday as planned.

Please help me here. From reading online, as I'm paid as a salary, the employer should pay me full pay during my phased return and I shouldn't even use my holiday? I dont mind using my holiday for the hours I don't work but wanting me to sign to a change of hours so they won't have to pay me is disgusting isn't it? What can I do?? (btw I work in a call centre).
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
...........
It could just be that right hand doesn't know what left hand is doing in HR. Just go in on Monday and explain that the contract wasn't what was agreed in the discussion you had with X, whenever. If possible, talk straight with X and explain you've been sent a new contract, which isn't necessary. If they give you any trouble at all, ask for immediate leave and then go and see the Citizens Advice Bureau and Macmillan. Both should be able to explain to the employer that theiraction is unacceptable.

Well done on your recovery.
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lizolove
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
Hi everyone. So I'll start from the beginning but try to be precise/keep it short. Please help me.

TLDR: phased return to work agreed in HR meeting I'll use my holiday entitlement for the hours I don't work so I'll get full pay. Received a letter from them today asking me to sign to a change of contract of 12 hours a week and holiday entitlement based on pro rata, something In direct contradiction to what we agreed ( and of course then I won't be able to use my holiday pay if i'm only contracted 12 hours) Only received the letter today and I return on monday. I won't sign it of course but can someone with knowledge give me advise?

About 8 months ago I was diagnosed with testicular cancer, had the operation to remove the testicle followed by chemotherapy, and also another major surgery called rplnd (effectively open heart surgery but on the stomach) as the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes at the back of my abdomen and needed removing. Left me with a huge scar and a pretty rough time in hospital, including getting sepsis (such a rare and serious complication, just my luck) which finally passed after 10 days.

Anyway, i'm doing ok now, finally started doing light exercise 10 weeks after (the operation destroys your core muscles) and I am due to be returning to work this monday (it's been 10 weeks since surgery).

So i had a meeting with HR last friday (with my mum) to discuss the phased return. 4-6 weeks gradually building up my hours and days. that's fine.

Because I had accrued holiday ( you get this while on sick pay) we specifically asked if we can use this holiday for the hours I don't work so I still will get full pay. For example first week I work 12 hours, so take 28 hours as holiday so i'm still getting paid for full time. HR had agreed to this and also said any leftover holiday we can pass on for next year.

Now I was supposed to return last monday but my line manager was on holiday so they asked me to come a week later, but take the week off as holiday so I still get paid. Fine.

Received letter today asking to me to sign to a change of contract to 12 hours ( so then I cant use my holiday pay) and for them to only pay me the 12 hours. Ridiculous, especially as they wouldn't have been able even send the letter had I started last monday as planned.

Please help me here. From reading online, as I'm paid as a salary, the employer should pay me full pay during my phased return and I shouldn't even use my holiday? I dont mind using my holiday for the hours I don't work but wanting me to sign to a change of hours so they won't have to pay me is disgusting isn't it? What can I do?? (btw I work in a call centre).
Are your normal hours part time or full time?
In any event your employer should allow you time to adjust (if it is reasonable) - in the circumstances, I'd say it is reasonable.
They can't force you to sign it, so whatever you do, don't. Put it to them that they have to make reasonable adjustments.
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anythinggoeshere
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
It could just be that right hand doesn't know what left hand is doing in HR. Just go in on Monday and explain that the contract wasn't what was agreed in the discussion you had with X, whenever. If possible, talk straight with X and explain you've been sent a new contract, which isn't necessary. If they give you any trouble at all, ask for immediate leave and then go and see the Citizens Advice Bureau and Macmillan. Both should be able to explain to the employer that theiraction is unacceptable.

Well done on your recovery.
Hi, thank you.

Unfortunately It's the same HR advisor I met with who sent the letter. Am i right in assuming they're doing this so they can only pay me 12 hours and not full pay? (even though i'd be using my holiday pay to get myself up to 40 hours). I'm also concerned I won't be able to bring forward the holiday i haven't used into next financial year, although she said we could in the meeting.
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anythinggoeshere
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(Original post by lizolove)
Are your normal hours part time or full time?
In any event your employer should allow you time to adjust (if it is reasonable) - in the circumstances, I'd say it is reasonable.
They can't force you to sign it, so whatever you do, don't. Put it to them that they have to make reasonable adjustments.
Hi, my normal hours were full time (40 hours a week). Yeah, reading online it says most good employers should just pay me full pay during phased return as it's only temporary. Are they doing this so they don't have to pay me my holiday pay? Because i have like 20 days left.
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
Hi, thank you.

Unfortunately It's the same HR advisor I met with who sent the letter. Am i right in assuming they're doing this so they can only pay me 12 hours and not full pay? (even though i'd be using my holiday pay to get myself up to 40 hours). I'm also concerned I won't be able to bring forward the holiday i haven't used into next financial year, although she said we could in the meeting.
Yes, I think so (can't be sure without seeing contracts etc). There shouldn't be any change in contract on a phased return to work. Do you have a fit note from your Doctor describing what they think the phased return should be? That's pretty difficult for employers to ignore. There are a lot of online resources out there - have you seen this for instance?

https://fitforwork.org/

Whatever you do, it doesn't sound right that you should be signing a new contract.
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anythinggoeshere
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Yes, I think so (can't be sure without seeing contracts etc). There shouldn't be any change in contract on a phased return to work. Do you have a fit note from your Doctor describing what they think the phased return should be? That's pretty difficult for employers to ignore. There are a lot of online resources out there - have you seen this for instance?

https://fitforwork.org/

Whatever you do, it doesn't sound right that you should be signing a new contract.
Hi, yes my GP has been good and gave me a fit note with phased return 4-6 weeks on.

Thank you for the link, viewing it now.

tbh I'm just so livid right now. You think after being 22 with cancer a company who portrays itself in such a good manner and helping the community wouldn't treat their own employee like this. Just makes my return on monday difficult because i'm going to have to go in with my mum because i don't know what to do and it just makes it more difficult.
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lizolove
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
Hi, my normal hours were full time (40 hours a week). Yeah, reading online it says most good employers should just pay me full pay during phased return as it's only temporary. Are they doing this so they don't have to pay me my holiday pay? Because i have like 20 days left.
They can't force you to sign a new contract. Whatever you do, don't sign it.
As a full-time employee, you have rights. They are obliged to allow you to phase back in light of whats happened. Obviously nobody on TSR can advise you because we're not qualified lawyers (and even if anybody was, they'd be quite dozy to advise online openly).

I'd say they are probably offering you a lower hours package so they can avoid paying you phased money back. Immoral but not illegal. I think
that's their way of saving money. If you sign it, you're essentially taking away your own rights. They're not doing anything illegal, but obviously you wouldn't think to go to a lawyer, so I imagine they think they can catch you out.

I know that when you go 'part-time' your holiday entitlement goes significantly lower (understandably) and if you're on a zero hours contract (which
I don't think applies here but it's relevant to state anyway) you are entitled to none. I'd say they probably know you will need more paid time off and they want to avoid paying it, so are going to sign you up as a part-time person so any future time you take off, they don't have to pay you for.

(take this with a pinch of salt as I am not a qualified lawyer, nor am I in any way an expert in employment law)
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anythinggoeshere
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(Original post by lizolove)
They can't force you to sign a new contract. Whatever you do, don't sign it.
As a full-time employee, you have rights. They are obliged to allow you to phase back in light of whats happened. Obviously nobody on TSR can advise you because we're not qualified lawyers (and even if anybody was, they'd be quite dozy to advise online openly).

I'd say they are probably offering you a lower hours package so they can avoid paying you phased money back. Immoral but not illegal. I think
that's their way of saving money. If you sign it, you're essentially taking away your own rights. They're not doing anything illegal, but obviously you wouldn't think to go to a lawyer, so I imagine they think they can catch you out.

I know that when you go 'part-time' your holiday entitlement goes significantly lower (understandably) and if you're on a zero hours contract (which
I don't think applies here but it's relevant to state anyway) you are entitled to none. I'd say they probably know you will need more paid time off and they want to avoid paying it, so are going to sign you up as a part-time person so any future time you take off, they don't have to pay you for.

(take this with a pinch of salt as I am not a qualified lawyer, nor am I in any way an expert in employment law)
the dirty *******s, after everything i've been through. they lied at the HR meeting. I'm not signing it and this will get escalated if they don't sort their act out immediately. what do you recommend i do it's tomorrow
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lizolove
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
the dirty *******s, after everything i've been through. they lied at the HR meeting. I'm not signing it and this will get escalated if they don't sort their act out immediately. what do you recommend i do it's tomorrow
Again, take it with a pinch of salt, I'm not legally qualified, nor have I studied employment law - I am basing my knowledge from general experience.

I'd just refuse to sign it and tell them they are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for you, and the fact that you had surgery of this nature (which I hope you're recovering from well!) is certainly a good enough reason.
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anythinggoeshere
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(Original post by lizolove)
Again, take it with a pinch of salt, I'm not legally qualified, nor have I studied employment law - I am basing my knowledge from general experience.

I'd just refuse to sign it and tell them they are legally required to make reasonable adjustments for you, and the fact that you had surgery of this nature (which I hope you're recovering from well!) is certainly a good enough reason.
yeah thanks.

if they've done phased returns for other people, and not asked them to change their contract, would that constitute discrimination? ( i am protected under the equality act 2010 due to the cancer).
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lizolove
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(Original post by anythinggoeshere)
yeah thanks.

if they've done phased returns for other people, and not asked them to change their contract, would that constitute discrimination? ( i am protected under the equality act 2010 due to the cancer).
You'd be best asking a lawyer. Although I know that the equality act covers physical or mental disabilities/disorders. Depression constitutes a mental disorder so you'd be covered for that - if you have any long-lasting effects of the cancer I'd say so. I'm not sure whether you'd be covered if doctors advised you had an all clear prognosis (although again, not a lawyer, so worth checking!).

If you've not got your results yet, then definitely you'd be covered. (It's a physical illness, so it constitutes it for as long as you have it at the very least).


Was your meeting today?
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