Turned down for reducing hours due to chronic illness

I have asked my work to reduce my contracted hours due to a long term chronic pain illness and they have refused stating the reason they are on a recruitment ban. I was previously put on amended duties due to my illness so was working 16 hours instead of 24. I have slowly worked back up to 24, but was told if I had any issues I would be able to go back to amended duties. Whilst on amended duties I have been receiving sick pay for my other hours. I put in a request to reduce my hours permanently to 16 hours to save me causing disruption to the business on a frequent basis as my illness is unpredictable. Also doing this would mean they no longer had to pay me the partial sick pay, thus saving them money. I don’t know where I stand as I am physically unable to do that many hours. I’ve explained I will be forced to hand in a full sick note until something can be sorted which will leave them short the whole 24 hours. What can I do? I don’t want to give up my job or be on full sick as I need to manage what will be a life-long illness and I want to stay in work.

I would check that your illness comes under the Disability Discrimination Act 2010, which I am sure it does. It needs to be a ‘long-term’ illness which  means you will be unwell or have been unwell for 12 months or more. If this is the case I would make it clear to your employers that under this Act they need to support you when making reasonable adjustments.

Employers can’t reject a ‘reasonable adjustment’ if this is regarding disability. They can, however, reject a request for flexible working for general business reasons if your illness isn’t counted as a disability.

It would make sense and save money for the business if they allowed a reduction of working hours rather than you working part hours and part absence. You could always ask for a temporary reduction and see if it can be reviewed in a few months again.
If they will not allow you to make adjustments and you are covered under the DDA then they are in breach of the Act. If you do not come under the DDA Act then you would need to go back to your doctor to see if they are able to provide you with a work certificate to say you are not fit to work as your company won’t let you reduce your hours and you can manage working your full hours due to being unwell.


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