Karren Brady gives career advice on Covid sick leave to unfriendly colleagues

Karren Brady gives career advice on Covid sick leave to unfriendly colleagues

11/01/2020

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.

Today she helps out an employee who is worried about taking too many days of sick leave. She also gives advice about how to deal with unfriendly colleagues.

Q. I’ve been off sick three times this year – the first two were just a couple of days for migraines, but the third was a week when I had a vomiting bug and couldn’t eat for days.

It’s my company’s policy that they will only pay us for three periods of sickness a year, but with the second wave of Covid and flu season, I’m really worried I could get ill again and then lose out on money, which I need to pay my rent and bills. Is my company allowed to do this?

Sharon, via email

A. Sorry to hear you’ve not been well, Sharon. My first recommendation is to speak to your manager to find out whether the company sick pay policy is rigid or if they take each case on its own merit.

If you do get ill again and your company won’t pay you for any more time you take off due to this, you may be eligible for SSP (statutory sick pay) from the fourth day of absence. You should also find out what the company policy is on paying those who have to self-isolate or who contract Covid-19.

The government changed the law so anyone self-isolating would be entitled to SSP from the first day of absence and, depending on your financial circumstances, you may qualify for the government’s new support payment for those on lower incomes who need to self-isolate.

You should make sure you are taking good care of yourself – by eating healthily and exercising regularly – so you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy as the winter months approach.

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Q. I’m a teaching assistant in a primary school and, while I love working with the children, I really don’t get on with either of the two teachers I work most closely with.

They’re both part-time and share the Year 1 class I work with and I often feel like they’re ganging up on me as they side with each other when we have a disagreement. It’s making me feel stressed and miserable.

I adored the teacher I worked with last year and I’d give anything to work with her again, but she already has two TAs in her class. Do you think I should ask the headteacher if she will let me swap?

Zoe, via email

A. First of all, let’s focus on the good news. You have a career you love, in an environment where you thrive – this is a huge positive. Now let’s deal with the personality issues.

The first thing to remember is that we are not always lucky enough to work with people we like, and that’s fine as long as it’s not affecting your work. But, as you say, the atmosphere is making you stressed and miserable, so the way to deal with it is through communication. Be honest with yourself.

You may think your colleagues are ganging up on you, but are their issues or observations valid, or are you taking it too personally?

Take a step back and re-evaluate. If you still come to the conclusion it is them and not you, sit them down and have an adult conversation.

Be friendly, polite and professional, and talk through how you are feeling and explain that you want to ensure you are helping them in a way they
want and need, and ask how the relationship can be improved.

Hopefully you can clear the air and reset the relationship.

  • Got a careers question you want Karren to answer? Email bossingit@fabulousmag.co.uk

Compiled by: Claire Frost

Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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