Sick leave headache

In a new series starting this month we publish an actual professional
problem encountered by a reader and suggest some ways of dealing with it.

We are asking readers who may have come across similar problems in their own
practice to write in and suggest solutions that worked for them. The person who
sends in the best advice for dealing with the previous month’s dilemma will win
a bottle of champagne.

We also invite readers to send in their own dilemma for publication –
senders will be kept anonymous if requested. Champagne also goes to any reader
who has a dilemma published on this page.

Q  The personnel manager has asked
me to interview a visually impaired administrative worker with a record of
increasing periods of short-term absence.

The reasons for the absence as noted on the management referral form are
mainly "eye strain and ‘headaches" and the personnel manager has
noted that the employee has visited her GP and told to take paracetamol and
rest. What are my actions?

A  Establish within your level
of competence or by referral to an optometrist, the level of visual impairment

Establish whether the DDA is likely to apply

Job requirements: VDU work? How many hours, rest breaks and so on.

Request to see a copy of the DSE Risk Assessment – glare/lighting

Review vision-screening result if available – especially the middle distance
result

Explore other causes of recurrent short-term sickness absence, such as
stress, alcohol problems or other underlying medical issues. Visit workplace if
risk assessment requires review or further input. Involve PACT if specific
problem with VDU use identified to visual impairment.

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