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Return to Work After Bereavement / Compassionate Leave

  • 11-01-2022 12:40pm
    Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭

    Hi all,

    My dad passed away two weeks ago and I took a week off as "compassionate leave". At the start of my leave, my manager and their manager (someone I deal with daily) sent me their condolences and told me I could take all the time needed.

    I came back to work yesterday after a week and my manager called in sick the same morning (they go on sick leave for a week literally every month). They texted me to tell me they'll be off for a few days. Now, I'm back to work, no one sought to schedule a catch-up me with to see how we can best manoeuvre my current situation (not even their manager or any of the other team leads in the department) and to top it all off, I'm now in a situation where I have to cover for some of my manager's work because that's the work I absorbed when they went sabbatical for 6 months last year.

    I can barely get through my on work and spent yesterday's lunch break sobbing and now I have to absorb someone else's work. I came back to avoid my work piling up and it seems I'm expected to be back to the way I was before my parent died with no active outreach or support from anyone. No one has proactively reached out to me since I came back yesterday.

    No manager called me after my parent died, it was literally three texts and that was it. I can appreciate they want to give me space, but not even scheduling a catch-up on my return to discuss how we can best handle my return to work or offer assistance and expect me to be back to "normal" is unreasonable.

    Prior to my dad's death I was living on 10-12h of work per day + weekends at times (all overtime unpaid).

    Am I unreasonable in thinking this is being poorly handled? I'm not asking for pity because I know work is work, but I didn't expect to come back to complete silence, no support and cover for my manager's work on top of mine.


  • Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭TheGlossy

    Post edited by TheGlossy on

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I'm glad you're going to the doctor, just tell them everything you've said here. It's no wonder you're struggling.

    I also found people disappeared (or said some really insensitive things) after losing a parent. I ended up having 7 days off and was told by a manager (not my direct one thankfully) that this was excessive! I should have gone to the GP myself but muddled on, it caused me a lot of stress.

    Such a heavy workload is not sustainable anyway, but especially not now, when just trying to get through the day is a struggle.

    Definitely get signed off for a couple of weeks and look after yourself.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Sorry for your loss.

    You need put yourself first, because no one else will! Time to start looking for a job where you will be appreciated. Good luck.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I'm so glad to hear that you have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. You need to put yourself first, and as I said, the company / business will survive.

    In relation to what was said about your work, someone I used to work, told me one time, that her dad used to always tell her 'praise never filled a glass'. So while it's nice to hear, it's useless at the same time when in your case, nothing was done to address the situation.

    It's an appalling way to treat someone returning after a bereavement. It really is. Take the time that you need. Look after your health in small things. Try to eat properly, and get out for a walk every day. Those things might sound very basic, but they are really important at a time like this.

    Take care.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,562 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    I think there's a couple of separate issues here.

    First of all there's your working day 10-12 hrs per day is not sustainable. Don't make your company's problems your problem.

    You said you've raised this with your manager, realistically nothing will change if you are willing to do the work. I'd be making myself a lot less available. We are all just a number.

    Do up a list each morning of tasks that need doing, rate them by priority send it to your manager and say this is what is in the pipeline I'll get to xyz today the rest will either have to wait or if someone else has spare availability could the tasks be assigned to them.

    Secondly is the bereavement. Without knowing your set up it's very hard to advise. I know when members of my team lost a family member, it wasn't that they were ignored but they were left alone unless they started the conversation. This is back when we were in the office....yes you would say "sorry for your loss, if you need anything let me know" and then scurry off... unless you are personal friends outside of work I wouldn't expect anything more. If it happened during wfh unless I needed to contact them on a work issue I'd be giving them space again unless they were personal friends outside of work.

    You are only back two days, I know at the moment two days feel like two years.

    I totally agree with getting signed out of work for longer.

    To be honest your manager doesn't sound great, so I'd either be looking to change departments or looking externally for a new job. Even if you don't want to leave if you have another job lined up it enhances your negotiation about work balance and even maybe a pay increase. (I know you're not supposed to make big decisions after a bereavement but 10-12 hr days are certainly not good for you)

    Best of luck. Sorry for your loss , you certainly don't need the added stress of an useless manager.

  • Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭TheGlossy

    Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the kind advice.

    Post edited by TheGlossy on

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,014 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Sorry for your loss OP.

    It's definitely time that you seek alternative employment at this stage. If there's any consolation from your bereavement it let's you clearly see how undervalued and appreciated you are. The only thing worse than a weak manager is one who's allowed to remain in that position.

    Take the time off your GP should give you to re-evaluate your worth, no one deserves to be treated as a minion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭TheGlossy

  • Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭TheGlossy


    Post edited by TheGlossy on

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  • Registered Users Posts: 228 ✭✭TheGlossy

    I ended up going to the GP yesterday and got two weeks off.

    As far as work is concerned, they are an absolute disgrace. The manager is not back yet and I was sent an email yesterday at 8pm asking me to action something on the same day. This person is aware of my current situation and the fact that they assumed I'd be working until 8pm like I did before shows their degree of indifference.

    To top it all off, the return to work catch-up never happened. Five days in, no team lead or manager asked for a catch-up. The "catch-up" happened over a 2 minute compensation call scheduled with every employee (and I had to wait my turn in the lobby). The manager in question stressed they didn't have "time" and I was simply asked: "How are you and your family doing?" with no suggestion to lighten my heavy workload or anything. I was just told "take all the time you need" which in itself is so abstract that it serves no purpose. Any time off taken will be deducted from my annual leave anyway.

    I think this is the last nail in the coffin which proves they just see you as a number generating numbers. Throwing in a 30s catch-up with a grieving person during a mandatory compensation call is simply gruesome and inappropriate.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,405 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    As hard as it is to realise you are just a number. You are going to take 2 weeks off (at least, if you're not up to going back ask your GP for another cert, it won't be a problem) and the work will be managed by someone.

    Working overtime, not getting paid impresses nobody. As you see now they just learn to expect it, not appreciate it.

    This is a time for you now to be selfish. Don't go back to work until you are mentally and physically 100%. Don't worry about what's not being done in your absence. It's not your problem, and you are not paid enough to worry about work outside of your hours.

    When you do go back tell yourself that you will prioritise yourself over work. You will walk out at finish time. If works backs up you should tell your manager they need to hire more staff. That it is not possible to complete all tasks in your contracted hours.

    Please take your time before returning to work. You only lost your dad 2 weeks ago. You haven't begun to process it yet. Your GP will sign you off for as long as you need. And you need it.

    Post edited by Big Bag of Chips on

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    I agree with everything BBOC has said.

    Turn off the laptop. Turn off the phone. Take the time that you need. The business will survive.

    As I said in an earlier post, focus on the basics now, eating properly, getting out walking if you can.

    Mind yourself.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,159 Mod ✭✭✭✭HildaOgdenx

    There might be something in the attached @TheGlossy that would be helpful to you. Take care.