Taking time off work for appointments and treatment for a burn

This section covers:

  • Taking time off work soon after a burn injury
  • Taking time off work for ongoing appointments and treatments
  • Career impacts of time off work

Time off work may be needed for appointments and treatments for burn injuries. Depending on the severity of a burn, the amount of treatment a person may need will vary. For shallower, smaller burns, a person may not need treatment beyond immediate first aid and basic aftercare and sometimes a few scar management appointments. More complex burns, however, may require longer-term or life-long treatment. If somebody is burnt as a child, it is common for them to need ongoing treatment to manage the burn as they grow. Other treatments for burns can include skin grafts, plastic or reconstructive surgery, and surgery to increase mobility or revise scars.

Taking time off work soon after a burn injury

Most people we talked to found that their employers and colleagues were very understanding and thoughtful when they needed to take time off work soon after having a burn injury.

Lindsay felt that her employers and colleagues were very understanding when she needed to take time off to take her daughter to appointments.

Sarah appreciated that her colleagues “always check-in – not in a pressure-y way but in a genuine way to see how I am”. It was appreciated when employers and colleagues were flexible, for example arranging to cover the person’s shifts or workloads. Frazer gave the example of his employers letting him take the morning or afternoon off for appointments.

Not everyone felt their employer was supportive though. Jeff’s burn injuries were caused by a workplace accident; his employer’s response made him feel stressed and angry, so he decided to leave the job.

Needing to arrange alternative childcare provision was a problem faced by a few of the parents we spoke to. When Jessica’s daughter was burnt, she needed to stay with her during her hospital stay. Jessica said that she had to pay for additional childcare for her other children so her husband could continue to work.

For some people, time off work was unpaid or meant a loss of earnings, and you can read more about the financial impacts of burn injuries here.

Taking time off work for ongoing appointments and treatments

In the weeks and months after a burn injury, some people needed to continue attending appointments and having treatments. This meant explaining to their employer that they would need ongoing time off work.

Holly’s employer was understanding when she told them she would need to take time off in the future to attend her son’s hospital appointments.

Some of the people we spoke to who were burnt when they were children have had ongoing treatment into their adult lives. Ongoing treatment may impact employment and career plans because it may be necessary to take time off from work for reconstructive surgeries or other burns-related appointments. Haydn, on the other hand, did not need to take any time off as he is self-employed and could fit appointments around his schedule.

Saffron, who was burnt as a child, takes two days sick leave followed by a few days annual leave when she has appointments for her burns. She also appreciates that her employer grants leave for volunteering.

Career impacts of taking time off work

Some people we spoke to felt that their career opportunities had been impacted by having to take time off for their burn.

Sarah believes her career has been impacted by her burn as she cannot change roles due to taking sick leave.

You can read more about people’s experiences of returning to work after a burn injury here and their advice to employers and colleagues here.

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Financial issues related to burn injuries

This section covers: Loss of income when time off work is needed Additional costs associated with hospital trips and treatments, including travel expenses and parking...