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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Hello, I am currently working in the public sector and my

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I am currently working in the public sector and my whole team's jobs have been disestablished due to a restructure and we are now at risk of redundancy as none of us have been matched to any roles. I work in HR but I do not do employee relations.

I have been signed off for work related anxiety about 9 months ago. More recently I have been signed off for work related stress and depression for two weeks and I have been prescribed antidepressants. Over the past five years there as been a lack of support from management and my workload has increased dramatically as a new Esystem which was meant to come in place 3 years ago never has upto now.

The employer has offered voluntary redundancy which I told them I will take 2 days ago as I've had enough and don't want to work there anymore. Today I will be asking them that I only work 3 weeks rather than 6 weeks for the sake of my health and wellbeing as I returned from sick leave yesterday and I still do not feel myself. Im worried I can relpse or potentially get worse now I'm back at work. Do you think asking to work 3 weeks is reasonable given the circumstances?

My next question is about phased return. My gp said I should come back to work on phased return and the occupational health nurse where I work has put in a suggestion for the phased return for two weeks. However, it seems management want to refuse me coming back on phased return... surely they can't do that?

Thanks for your help.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you mean working 3 weeks as a notice period instead of 6?

Yes, that's correct. Purely for the sake of my mental health and well being I am requesting that I work three weeks rather than six weeks. Although I have just returned to work I do not feel 100% yet. I am still on the antidepressants which side effects are still pretty harsh - especially as I have been prescribed a higher dosage. I am very worried that I could get worse and replase, have another panic attack and potentially breakdown and be signed off again - hence my request to leave sooner rather than later.


There will also be cover for my work therefore the business needs should not be massivley impacted.

Ben Jones :

Hello, sorry I was in a meeting by the time you had replied. It is entirely reasonable to propose working a reduced notice period instead of the full contractual notice period you may be required to work, although the employer does not necessarily have to pay you for the remaining 3 weeks if you are not prepared to work them. So the potential outcomes for you are:

  • The employer agrees to allow you to work a reduced notice period, pays you for the time you have worked and then pays you the rest in lieu of notice

  • They agree to allow you to work a reduced notice period, but only pay you for the time you have actually worked, with the remainder of the notice period not being paid

  • They refuse to allow you to work a reduced notice period and insist that you work the full 6 weeks. In that case the option of resigning with immediate effect, citing constructive dismissal, exists. Alternatively you can get signed off sick during all or part of your notice period, although you would only be entitled to receive the amount you are due at the time, such as sick pay


If there is evidence from your GP and OH that you should be placed on a phased return then it is of course strongly advisable for the employer to do so. Whilst they cannot be forced to do so, their failure to follow this advice can result in a case of constructive dismissal or breach of their health and safety obligations.


Hi Ben - Thank you very much. This is very helpful.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service I have provided you with as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and all the best

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