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Diabetes and medical/sick/disability leave

Discussion in 'Jobs and Employment' started by Kaha, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I am bringing this issue to the forum members to get the opinions of forum members .
    We all know that diabetes is such a condition that can easily be controlled through diet, medication, exercise etc...and live a normal life and be employed at regular jobs.
    I am putting here a scenario like this: I am a T2 non insulin based patient for last 8 years, had been managing my diabetes with medication, exercise, diet etc...
    Recently, I am reassigned to a very remote and difficult duty station where it would be difficult to chose food ( only cafeteria serves regular food), extremely hot weather causing dehydration, lack of exercise facilities and limited scope of walking due to security risk, the overall work environment is full of employment and security related stress . I can not leave this job at least without serving for 1 year. I will definitely not be able to control my diabetes under such conditions. My job involves both field and desk related tasks.
    My question is probably such conditions of employment will in long term might cause harm to my health particularly diabetes related complications might develop.
    My question is whether such situation enables me to be declared medically unfit/disabled for employment and subsequently qualify me for medical/sick leave . As per my service terms and conditions I am entitled to certain period of sick /medical leave with full or half pay status or even without pay. But, in any case I need to be declared unfit by medical professionals . What are your views on this scenario? May be there are some medical professionals in the forum who can explain it
     
  2. copepod

    copepod Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Do you have to live at the "remote and difficult duty station"? I'm guessing it's not in UK, as you state "extremely hot weather causing dehydration"? Is there any exercise equipment at all? If walking scope is limited, then it may be a case of repetitive, boring walking within the security confines. Exactly what food is supplied by the "only cafeteria"? There may be some options that are suitable for you - I'm assuming you prefer low carbohydrate? If they offer suitable drinks eg water, tea, coffee, diet soft drinks, then that's OK. If they only offer presugared tea or coffee or fruit juice, then that's difficult. Could you take some of your own food eg tins / jars of veg etc that you can eat cold?
     
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  3. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    My question was whether my conditions from diabetes perspective can qualify for leave on medical ground or not
     
  4. copepod

    copepod Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Depends on your country - employment laws are different in different countries. The only clue is Canada in your profile. But location of station also matters. This is a UK based forum, so there's no point me explaining the situation in UK employment law.
     
  5. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    No, I am not working in Canada but in Africa. I think a medical professional would be more familiar with the conditions those call for break in service on health ground.
     
  6. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    I would sa it
    is incumbent upon you to manage your condition as best you can and not to speculate about what could happen. I doubt an employer would give anyone sick leave, just in case conditions made them poorly. Can you imagine the queues at the medics' doorways?

    In UK, your employer is expected to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate diabetes, but if that means you are unable to fulfil the material duties of your employment, there could be some tricky conversations in the offing.

    Have you served in this place before, or would this be a first time?

    As a manager, I would likely be unsympathetic to your plight in the first instance, without a robust case from you.
     
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  7. misswhiplash

    misswhiplash Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    If it were me (UK) and I felt the way you do about not being able to control my diabetes in the new situation, I would definitely question the reassignment. Is the company not large enough that you could be redeployed elsewhere rather than signed off entirely? If it isn't, then the situation is obviously rather different, but if there are options about where you are deployed, I would expect an employer to be understanding and make concessions where necessary.
     
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  8. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I can not change my place before 1 year as per contract
     
  9. Sarah69

    Sarah69 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I would never use diabetes as a way to take time off sick, it gives diabetics a bad name!
     
  10. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Of course you are considering normal working conditions . But imagine if you are in an African desert with frequent sandstorms, living with the threat of terrorist/rebel attacks , staying in tents or containers with limited maneuvering space or scope of exercise/walking, shortage of diabetic friendly food and water ....and so on. A life full of stressful events. Do not you think, job is much less important than health and life??
     
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  11. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    I'm assuming you are not in a conscription situation then? Somewhere along the line, you voluntarily signed your contract?
     
  12. AloeSvea

    AloeSvea Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I can see why you are so concerned, and anxious. I would say that this is an issue you just have to go to a doctor with, and read the fine print of your contract at the same time? I hope you are able to get sick leave, or get out of your contract and assigned to a job with access to good food and the ability to walk in safety/exercise. (Yes, bottom lines for managing T2D with diet and exercise!)

    And the stress factor is a biggie. You are quite right to be evaluating your health, and your possible health outcomes, in this light.

    It looks like you are developing a good case to take to a doctor. Or your union advisor? Or Human resources? Or all of the above?
     
  13. mrslmac

    mrslmac Type 2 · Member

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    Reassignment is dependent on the needs of the business, no matter how big or small. There may be positions available but you may not suitable. Adjustments made at work should be you are to be able to manage your breaks and food intake to suit your diabetes. As long as they don't refuse break requiments, they are infact covering themselves it depends on the demands of your job. Some jobs for safety and production can not change scheduled breaks. In terms of food and water unless it states in your contract you will be adequately fed and watered it is reasonable to believe you would manage your own food stuff requirements. Where infact they have have no control or very little control of the environment they are not held responsible to make it so. AS long they sit within reasonable explanations there is little one can do.
     
  14. copepod

    copepod Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    The poster is from Canada, working in an unnamed country in Africa, for an unnamed company, so we have no idea under which national laws he is operating. I think hee has to ask his union representative or occupational health specialists. In the meantime, I tried to suggest ways of continuing to exercise, while I acknowledge he has less control over his food, I'm sure there are some options that are more suitable than others, and lack of control over living conditions does increase stress levels. Please take advice from people who know your situation thoroughly.
     
  15. mrslmac

    mrslmac Type 2 · Member

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    The main point of it is, can you manage your condition adequately in the current job your in. It might just end up to you making that decision. What is best for you and what you can manage. It is very hard when you have a job/vocation you love. I understand as having to leave a career I loved and worked very hard at because of a skin condition.
     
  16. Robinredbreast

    Robinredbreast Type 1 · Oracle

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    Tbh, I wouldn't want to be working in Africa, but as the OP is there, type 2 and not on medication for diabetes, it would be more manageable. Apologises if I am wrong, but just going on what OP has written.

    Best wishes, good luck and all the best.

    RRB
     
  17. Kaha

    Kaha Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Dear All, I am not an young professional , close to 60 . So, occupational risks vs health and well being might be different for each person. I know my situation very well and know that it would be extremely challenging to maintain good control of diabetes here. So, it would be good option to go for early retirement / avail my accumulated sick leaves etc..... My question was from the very beginning was whether such conditions /circumstances are justifiable from medical ground to take sick leave or not? If anybody has any comments towards this direction ,will be highly appreciated
     
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  18. mrslmac

    mrslmac Type 2 · Member

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    Yes I would say your justified on medical grounds. If you can utilise the sick leave before hand then I would go ahead and do that to. Nothing is more important than your your health, I do hope you get it sorted.
     
  19. Robinredbreast

    Robinredbreast Type 1 · Oracle

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    Morning, sorry but I am unable to comment. on the medical ground aspect. As you near the age of 60, maybe what you suggested as going for early retirement would be the better option for you. You could always do some part-time charity work or full fill a dream you have been longing to do, as long as you can afford to retire.
    I sincerely hope it all works out well for you.

    Good luck and all the best for the future

    RRB
     
    #19 Robinredbreast, Mar 15, 2015 at 8:53 AM
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2015
  20. AndBreathe

    AndBreathe I reversed my Type 2 · Master
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    I'm no HR person or expert in Canadian employment discrimination laws, but in UK to take sick leave or longer than 5 working days, you need to have a certificate from your doctor stating you are unfit for work. I couldn't see my GP signing such a certificate on the grounds I might not be too well at some point in the future.

    I would suggest you engage with HR and voice your concerns in a cogent manner. Not just, I don't think I'll be able to control this in the heat, when I can't have a nice walk after dinner, but factually, and unemotionally, backed up by your blood score data. It would be useful if you had historic data from a period in a similar region.

    On that basis, you have raised concerns, and shorten any potential period of investigation/outcome should the need arise. But, if you are 60, and no longer able to do the material duties of your job, then you have to investigate the alternatives.

    Your profile states you are an "international civil servant", on which basis you are working for the public sector. It seems highly likely this sort of issue will have arisen in the past, so there may be precedents in situ to give you guidance. I think you can formulate a preferred outcome in your mind, but unless you resign or apply for immediate early retirement (which I assume would be granted or refused at your employe'so discretion), you don't hold all the balls in your hands.

    What makes you feel that the Canadian Civile Service/Foreign Office or whichever department you work for will not have an similarly suitable qualified person with whose posting you could be swapped? There must be some form of succession planning in place, surely?
     
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