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Having time off work

There's no need to feel guilty if you do need to take time off work. Everyone feels under the weather sometimes, and if you have arthritis or a related condition there are going to be times when the sensible thing to do is to take time off work in order to rest and get better.

If you do need to take time off, here are some helpful steps you could take:

  • Keep in touch with your employer – either through your line manager or HR department to let them know how you are.
  • Keep in touch with friends at work.
  • Take care of yourself during your time off and follow the advice of your healthcare professional(s).
  • Stay as physically active as possible during your time off; exercise can greatly help rehabilitation.
  • If you feel ready to return to work, ask for a back-to-work interview. You could ask about a phased-return to work, flexible hours and options to work from home for maybe at least some of the week.

If your employer doesn't have an occupational health department, they can refer you to the Fit for Work service, with your consent, once you've been off work for four weeks. This provides access to an occupational health telephone assessment, and advice for you and your employer on any potential changes at work which would support you. They can also develop a Return to Work plan.

For more information visit the Fit for Work for England and Wales or Fit for Work Scotland.

If you're looking for a different job, there's specific support available for people who are finding some elements of work difficult because of an illness, disease or disability. A Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) at your local JobCentre Plus office can help you to retrain, seek appropriate work and/or give you practical support to get back to work.

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