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Being fired whilst sick and out of the country

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I've been employed full time in Germany for over 2 years. 

I am 18 months into a 2 year limited full time contract with an incompetent employer.

Over a year ago they fired my only colleague (IT Dept for 50 employees in two locations) and have not had a single interview to replace him, leaving me the pressure to manage the entire IT needs for the organisation. Last month I asked for the last time, via email so I could have an answer in writing, if they were still hiring for a replacement. I was ignored and not even given an answer. I have been progressively getting stressed and they have progressively become even more chaotic. This Monday was the last straw:
- All the senior management taking a week's vacation at the same time, without telling me (they do this a lot and I don't know why)

- Hiring a freelancer without telling me, so I had to provide a non-existent computer and unauthorised logins for him

- Moving a colleague to a new team, requiring a specific computer type that we dont have available

- And a bunch of other things

 

I nearly fainted at the end of the day because I felt so unsupported, exhausted and stressed. The next day (Tuesday/yesterday), I asked the HR Partner to call me. She called me and said she was technically not working because she has taken early maternity leave, and the company have not hired a replacement. However, when I explained the situation and that I was finally too stressed to go in to work, she said she would contact senior management and call me back in the afternoon.

 

She did not call back, so I went to the doctor before they closed for the day and was lucky to be consulted. My doctor is highly supportive and when I was ill for a week recently with flu, he gave me a check-up, discussed my job with me, and asked me if I was stressed, to which I said yes, but that I would keep going with the job for the time being in the hope it would improve. Obviously things have escalated, so he signed me off work for stress for 3 weeks and told to:

- Email and post my sick note to my employer and to not engage/communicate further - literally, do nothing but recuperate

- To contact him at the end of the 3 weeks for a probable extension of a further 3 weeks to rest

 

I wasn't sure if I would follow through, thinking I might try to negotiate home working for a week or so to recover, but when I checked my work email that night around 8pm, I had received an email from the HR Partner, with senior management CC'd in, saying that this is not acceptable and I should return to work, in a tone that is an attack on my professionalism and offers absolutely no support or acknowledgement that I am stressed due to the position they keep me in. Is this even legal, that I call HR to open a dialogue about my stress and then receive a command to continue at work? She even agreed during the call that it was not good I was uninformed about the new Freelancer starting.

 

My major concern:

The only place I can imagine resting and improving my health is to return to my mother in the UK (I broke up with my gf recently and had to take a room in a WG with no contract (yet) at short notice. I have made my application to be put on the contract, but apparently Stadthaus landlord can take weeks to action it). If I am fired during this time, whilst on sick but out of the country, I will be unable to visit the Arbeitsagentur. Will I lose my claim to Arbeitslosgeld?

I had hoped to take some weeks to recuperate, and then discuss with my employer moving forward - either to resign, be fired, mutually end the contract, handover to a replacement, etc - but their response is such that I feel insulted, unsupported and even that I do not trust them at all. They are so stupid! I am the only person with access to all their computer systems and data and they are all on holiday - if I was a malicious person... but I am not, so I have removed myself from all systems such that I cannot access, and have explained this in an email last night, explaining they should also change all their passwords. This is not a resignation, but an act of defense due to distrust, and also because they may try to bully me into working whilst off sick, which they have done on previous sick days and even holidays.
 

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My research indicates it is common for the doctor to advise rest whilst at home, therefore it is common to travel back to one's homeland to recover - and as recommended in the Fair Arbeiten material, I should notify my Health Insurer. However, it then says if I am dismissed during sick leave, I must visit the Arbeitsagentur within 3 days or I risk losing my benefits.

- How can I receive a dismissal letter if I am out of the country?

- What am I missing, about this obvious loophole in advice?

https://www.fair-arbeiten.eu/kontext/controllers/document.php/80.8/3/f070fe.pdf

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You seem to be really stressed. That job is not good for your health. Nothing is more important than your health. 

 

Finish the sick leave of three weeks then go back to work and hand in a notice. Hopefully within the notice period you may find another job. It all goes south from here. If you don't resign yourself, they may fire you.

 

 

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You can even start applying while you're on leave.

 

In future you should not discuss the nature of your illness with your employer. Especially not an employer like that. Water under the bridge this round but useful learning experience for the next.

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I read that you don't need to notify your health insurance provider when you go on holiday during your sick leave. Only after 6 weeks. Going on holiday is allowed during sick leave. 

 

Actually, I thought you can't be fired during sick leave, but this assumption is wrong.

 

Take your time with your recovery!

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3 hours ago, bpbpbp said:

Ok good advice, thank you for your support!

TERRIBLE advice! For fucks sake, if you don't know what you're on about, don't fucking post!!

 

Do NOT hand in your notice, do NOT discuss anything else with your employer, why you're ill, or whatever and just rest. Hand in your sick note and be done.

 

You need to grow up - removing yourself from system access is extremely juvenile and possibly worthy of a written warning.

 

You cannot just be fired if you have a limited contract!  It's limited for a reason and neither you or your employer can "just"  hand in notice. Do some googling.

 

I've no time now as I'm in a rush but this kind of shit advice really pisses me off.

 

Take your sick leave, you are allowed to do anything that speeds up your recovery so if going home does that, do it.

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"Regardless of your personal circumstances, if you have a sick note and then leave the country, this can appear as if you are using your sick note to have a nice  extended holiday. This may be a reason to fire you.

 

You should use the time off sick to recover and maybe have some therapy. You could also apply for a Kur.

 

Why on earth do you think senior managers should inform you when they go on holiday?

 

As you hadn’t been informed about the new colleague who needs a computer, why did you provide him with one and give him access to the system which you yourself say is unauthorized? This could also be a reason to fire you.

 

Your Doctor gave you exact instructions about what to do:

 

“…..so he signed me off work for stress for 3 weeks and told to:

 

Email and post my sick note to my employer and to not engage/communicate further - literally, do nothing but recuperate

- To contact him at the end of the 3 weeks for a probable extension of a further 3 weeks to rest."

 

Why did you ignore his advice?

 

“I wasn't sure if I would follow through, thinking I might try to negotiate home working for a week or so to recover”

 

Why do you want to work when you have a sick note?

 

The link you provided is from DGB and is about a project ( it is not law). It gives advice and recommendations for mobile workers from central and eastern Europe. I think this is aimed at people who help with the harvest  and strawberry picking and things like that. You are not a mobile worker. Are you a member of a trade union?  

 

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Why don't you read the original post?

 

Why are you piling on to further berate the op?  

 

Why are you asking so many rhetorical questions?

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2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

Why are you asking so many rhetorical questions?

:lol: Wicked.

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