I have just returned to work after sickness due to a long term chronic illness. The occupational therapist suggested I have some homeworking, but this was refused by my employers. I have now been told that I have to do on call as well after being told seven years ago that I no longer had to do it and that it would be removed from my contract. Looking at the last copy of my job description in 2015 I can see that on call working was never removed. Where do I stand and does the fact that I haven’t done it for so many years give me a case?
With regard to occupational heath (OH) professionals the Department for Works and Pensions advises: “The decision about whether to implement any recommendations made in a Return to Work plan remains for you (the employer) and your employee.” The Department would also encourage all parties to act on the recommendations of Fit for Work.
The decision may even be one that needs to be made by a GP rather than the OH using this as a recommendation, so it might be worth going back to speak to your GP on this to get their guidance.
With regards to your query with working on call, if this is still in your contract you are still obliged to work this type of rota. I would suggest you speak to your manager and explain that you have not worked on call for such a long period of time and you thought this had been removed. You can argue that as you haven’t done it for so long it makes the part of your contract redundant, but legally you can be expected to work this. You will also need to check to see if you receive any on call allowance or how this would be paid if you did work it.
You shouldn’t be made to work more than a 48 hour week, if you didn’t wish to do this, which also includes your on call hours. If you did wish to work more than 48 hours you need to inform your employers in writing to opt out of this.
I would also speak to your GP if you choose to see them about your OH’s recommendation, if you feel you are unable to work on call due to your sickness.