I just had an interesting phone call with the UWV (office in charge of unemployment and sick leave for people with no employment) to discuss my having registered as sick during my unemployment. I gave him the short explanation of what happened over the past year :
- A year ago I got very ill -inflamed oesophagus, thyroid and assorted medical mysteries- kept working despite it.
- By the end of the year I was so ill I couldn’t work for more than 2 weeks straight, had lost 15% of my body weight and wasn’t doing well at all. I was beyond exhausted.
- Asked for a company doctor and started working reduced hours to try and recover while still undergoing tests to figure out what was wrong with me.
- Went to a shrink by my own choice.
- We came to the conclusion that it was a burnout and it had been the reason I’d gotten ill in the first place.
- Still kept working the reduced hours until after many months later the company doctor went “Well I think you should ask for a severance deal. You aren’t going to get better here. You need to quit. Just ask them 3 months completely off work (at 70% pay, which is the legal minimum for prolonged illness) and then you each go your separate ways and you get a right to unemployment.”
So I did.
After the 3 months I had recovered some, but was/am not nearly anywhere near well enough to work. I’m making strides. But I have a ways to go yet, since I didn’t start getting better until I stopped working.
By the time I’d finished the guy on the phone was positively fuming.
The company had taken advantage of my being ill by agreeing to this contract (under the most basic of terms: I didn’t get a severance package, I didn’t get additional months which is your right in our country if you’re terminated while you’re under my kind of contract). They didn’t uphold their responsibility as a company to care for me for the 2 years that they are legally required to care for an employee (even if I wouldn’t have worked another day due to illness). And the advice of the company doctor was kind of shady too since it was only in the best interest of the company, but absolutely not in mine.
Now, I knew they weren’t allowed to fire me while sick (technically) that’s why we had to sign the contract. I knew that there might be a risk I wouldn’t be well enough in time. But because I was so sick and so exhausted I couldn’t properly assess that risk to my person, or see what a bad deal I was getting. Or care. I was in no position to fight for myself or my rights. 3 months felt like a long time and to just not have to fight seemed like a sweet enough deal.
I felt relieved to no longer have the pressure of having these people counting on me and waiting for me to get better and happy that we could part as friends/on good terms. That is. Good terms for them.
I still feel relieved to no longer be tied to them and feel happy that I didn’t start a war or trample down the office with pitchforks in hand. I do however see now what a shitty deal I got, both practically (I had a right to a far better deal) and legally.
You should’ve heard this guy. He was very unimpressed with my former employer. He was mad. I was screwed over he felt and now he is going to look into it and make sure that they get into trouble somehow. He should hear about the fact that they are trying to actively force the same stunt on another employee there right now. 🙊
I had made peace with my decision, was looking forward and had given up any hope of trying to get any sort of justice for what had happened. I’d made my bed, I’d lie in it. It was my idea, I signed the contract, my own stupid fault. And yet.. I wasn’t even trying and somehow they are getting their bad karma handed back to them. Oops? or Yay? Maybe? IDK
It does feel like some kind of justice though.. 😅
ETA: The more I let this feeling sink in the more I realise that I was screwed over and the more it’s bugging me. Unemployment is far less money than I was getting on sick leave, which I didn’t know. Although I’m reasonably sure that if I do my best I can get back to working in a few months and boobieguy and I will only live in financial insecurity for a few months, that wouldn’t have to be necessary at all if I’d gotten some severance pay. And that kind of.. sucks. But it was my choice. I made my bed and I have to lay in it. Alas.