My daughter gave “Notice,” then got sick, and can’t go back to finish her notice period. Is that going to be a problem?

Question: I’m concerned about my daughter. Her job has been stressing her so much that she decided to hand in her notice of resignation – required by contract to be one month – two weeks ago. I wanted her to find a job before she quit, but she would cry every morning before going to work, it was so bad for her. Yesterday, she was signed off by her doctors not to go back to work for at least two months, due to depression. It seems she can’t go back for the remainder of her notice period. Will this cause her problems? Kind Regards.

London, England

Answer: Your daughter’s inability to go back to work for the remainder of her “notice period” really should not cause any problem for her. In fact, she might be able to continue to collect income as either “disabled,” or “due to job-related injury,” which might be of help to her.

A certified medical problem, as your daughter has, is always a full, valid, legal reason not to be at work. This applies, as well, to employees who are in the midst of a “Notice Period.” It’s important that your daughter (or you, if she cannot) deliver to her employer a copy of the Doctor’s Note or Directive that says your daughter cannot return to work for two months, due to a medical condition. (If asked to do so, most doctors are quite cooperative in giving patients such a written note or directive.) Don’t just mail it by regular post mail; rather, send it in a way – such as overnight delivery service – such that delivery can be verified in the future, if necessary.

It also would not hurt to speak with your daughter’s boss or Human Resources representative, to see if they need anything else from your daughter, such as the return of her keys and identification card, and to see if they need her to sign any kind of forms, such as an “Exit Questionnaire.” These procedures may be required at the end of employment. You might want to confirm that the employer agrees that this is considered complete fulfillment of her contract requirement of one-month notice, and then in a written communication, sent by email or overnight courier service, write to confirm that.

Please note, though, that your daughter may be entitled to continued payments for either (a) a temporary disability (in the U.S., called Short-Term Disability), even if she is no longer employed. Generally, in the U.S., so long as a disability period started during the period of employment, the employee is paid so long as the disability continues, up to a legal maximum. Also, (b) your daughter may be entitled to payments for a long time, even if not working, due to a “workplace injury,” such as stress-related depression. (In the U.S., we call this Workers’ Compensation.) I am not familiar with the laws of Great Britain, or local laws in London, but I would believe that your labor laws are just as helpful as our U.S. laws are, even better in many instances.

Your daughter’s health will be in my prayers.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.

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