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Question AWOL due to Mental Health

2 years 2 weeks ago #8916 by Ian Aguinaldo
Ian Aguinaldo created the topic: AWOL due to Mental Health
Good day.

I am writing to inquire for remedies (if there is) about my situation.

I was a permanent admin employee of a university. Since graduation in 2016, I had been absorbed to work for the university as Job Order, then eventually, I got in as Casual employee, until recently I got selected for a permanent position. For over a decade, away from home, all I ever knew is my career in civil service... My job at the university.

Unfortunately, ever since the pandemic and lockdowns, I am unable to take even the shortest breaks from work. My job requires me to be on-call or be present in the office even at times of university or office lockdowns due to Covid compromise. For as long as I can remember, I am always working and anxious because of the fear of contracting the virus myself.

During these whole ordeal, despite not being a health care professional, I became the official and only contact tracer for infected and suspected covid compromised employees of the University. Workdays, weekends, after work hours, holidays, even during my leave on my birthday last April, I had to be the one to trace contact history of a covid positive/suspected contact of an employee. Even during and after my classes in Law school, my boss, the head of the division, expects me to do contact tracing and submit my report even if it's midnight or dawn. This made my anxiety even worse.

During these contact tracing, I hear over the phone stories of despair, sadness and fear. In one case I handled, an employee and his whole family got infected. He blamed himself for possibly becoming the reason for such. He asks me questions of what to do. In these instances, since I am not a health care professional, I have to refer and connect them to the university doctor. Much of these cases, the employee feels lost and mostly angered by the fact that nasty rumors spread about them in the workplace, in their neighbourhood, and even in social media. I have to calm them down over the phone and assure them of the confidentiality of our conversation. That my job was only to contact trace so we'll know who are barred from entering the campus and what offices to lockdown. Even though the job suggests objectivity; my boss instructs being cold in doing so; and that I should have a blinder and focus on just getting the facts, I can't help but empathise.

Anyway, I finally broke. I fell ill and had been bedridden for the most of three weeks. I was living alone. Aside from my workmates and a couple of friends, I am alone in the city. I was all by myself believing I might have covid. But it wasn't just me physically that fell ill. I fell into depression. I wasn't talking to anyone. My family, my friends, and my workmates. I suddenly became very afraid. I get nervous breakdowns and panic attacks whenever I hear my phone ring or a knock on my door, and all the while under constant anxiety attacks. I cannot sleep and had been overeating just to calm myself down. I cannot get out of my room. And then the worst strike... I became suicidal.

My friends and some of my workmates tried to reach out to my family back home. Upon knowing my situation, my nanay and tatay travelled 13 hour straight to fetch me. Fortunately, I was still alive when they got to me. All I knew that day was that I was leaving to disappear.

Long story short, I survived. And now, I'm home with my family.

Before I left for home, I went to a psychiatrist with my tatay. I was advised to take a month off from work and was told that I was in a depressive episode. I was prescribed anti psychotic and anti anxiety medication. Also, I wrote a letter to the university requesting for an indefinite leave. What I didn't know was that I was already charged as AWOL. I only knew when I got home and was informed I was already dropped from the rolls.

All I know in my very short and young professional career is my career in civil service. I wrote the university a proper resignation letter, but until now I am yet to receive a response. I was a good employee before the whole incident. I was always rated highly and very satisfactorily in my IPCR and by all various heads of office I served under. I was never under any disciplinary action. Even my officemates cannot say anything bad about me. I have given up my position in the university, I even dropped out of Law school because of this incident, and my boss, the head of my division, whom I considered my friend and brother won't even talk to me.

I served the university as well and the best that I could. I gave 10 years of my young life to the university, from my college education, until now that I work for them. And if it all ends here, all I ask is be given a chance to pick myself back up again. I ask that I'd be given a chance to have a graceful exit.

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2 years 2 weeks ago #8931 by Action Officer 23
Action Officer 23 replied the topic: AWOL due to Mental Health
Good day, Sir!

Please be informed that as a policy, the Commission does not render opinions/rulings on issues that may eventually be the subject of a complaint or appeal before it. This is especially so if the material facts necessary to a judicious adjudication of the issues are not fully presented or substantiated as in this case. Nevertheless, we will cite the pertinent provision/s under the Civil Service rules and applicable jurisprudence that will best answer your query/ies.

Applicable provisions of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (2017 RACCS) (CSC Resolution No. 1701077 dated July 3, 2017) are, as follows:

Section 109. Order of Separation through Dropping from the Rolls; Immediately Executory. The agency shall not entertain motion for reconsideration from the order of separation through dropping from the rolls. The employee shall appeal directly to the Commission Proper within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the order. Pending appeal the order of separation is immediately executory.

Section 110. Dropping From the Rolls; Non-disciplinary in Nature. This mode of separation from the service for unauthorized absences or unsatisfactory or poor performance or physical or mental disorder is non-disciplinary in nature and shall not result in the forfeiture of any benefit on the part of the official or employee or in disqualification from reemployment in the government.

Section 68. Perfection of an Appeal or a Petition for Review. To perfect an appeal or a petition for review, the appellant/petitioner shall submit the following documents:

a. Memorandum containing the following:

1. grounds relied upon for the appeal/petition for review;

2. certified true copies of the assailed decision, resolution or order; and

3. certified true copies of documents or evidence relevant to the case.

The Memorandum shall be filed with the appellate authority, copy furnished the disciplining authority. The latter shall submit the records of the case, which shall be systematically and chronologically arranged, paged and securely bound to prevent loss, with its comment, within fifteen (15) days from receipt, to the appellate or higher authority.

b. Proof of service of a copy of the memorandum to the disciplining office;

c. Proof of payment of the required fee; and

d. A statement or certificate of non-forum shopping.

If the appellant/petitioner fails to comply with any of the above requirements within the reglementary period, the Commission shall direct compliance within a period of not more than ten (10) days from receipt thereof, with a warning that failure to comply shall be construed as failure to perfect an appeal/petition for review and shall cause its dismissal with prejudice to its refiling.

We hope to have been of service to you.

Thank you.

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