3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with shingles from stress. Shingles is a condition that can give you a lot of pain and fatigue. Although a typical bout of shingles can last ~4 weeks, it can take a lot longer to recover in some cases, and about 20% of people affected will develop chronic pain that can last months or years, which I really want to avoid. Most doctors recommend getting as much rest as possible in order to recover quickly and avoid the long-term pain.
My condition seemed to alternate getting better and worse, so it was hard to know if I should keep working, work part-time, work from home, or just stop work altogether. My employer said they would support me whatever I wanted to do. What I chose to do so far. Here is a week by week summary of the events related to my condition.
Week 1. I am working from home part-time, with breaks.
Week 2. I went back to the office, but by Thursday the pain came back and I was so tired I had to call in sick the rest of the week.
Week 3. I am working from home, with breaks.
Now I'm at week 4 and still in pain and tired, and worried that I might develop the long-term pain. I'm considering asking to just take the entire week off, not working at all.
The workplace is a bit intense right now, with a busy schedule, company politics and possibly impending layoffs, and probably was a big contributor to why I got shingles in the first place along with other personal factors. So I've been reluctant to take time off. But it seems like it could be worth trying for my long-term health.
I'm wondering, if I now ask to take a week off sick, what are the risks? At some point do I need to declare it as long-term sick leave, or go through an HR process to justify my absence? Could my job be at risk if I'm perceived as having too much time away?
If I do get the long-term pain, I would also consider asking for a voluntary reduction in responsibilities, if it's something they could accommodate, although again I would be afraid of what the risks are of asking for this.
I live in Ontario, Canada, and I'm not sure what the rules are around sick leave.