Replacing Someone On Stress Leave? Here Are Some Things To Watch For

When you use a staffing agency to get contract work, you'll often find yourself entertaining contract offers for various permanent employees who are on leave. Although no one who is interviewing you should reveal the personal details of an employee taking leave, you may accept a contract and then learn through office rumors that you're replacing someone who is currently on stress leave. This can be a good opportunity for you, as the person may continue to extend his or her leave — which should keep your contract going. Here are some things that you should watch for as you work in this capacity.

Relationship With Management

People take stress leave for a variety of reasons, but one potential cause can be an ongoing conflict with their manager. When you take a contract to replace someone on leave, you should always remain cognizant of how management treats you. Don't let your status as a temporary employee make you think that your new manager can treat you in an unprofessional manner. If you encounter instances of bullying, for example — which might have been what led the employee you're replacing to take his or her leave — you should confer with your staffing agency representative.


When you have the right credentials for the job and show yourself to be eager to work, the tasks will start to land on your desk. It's possible that your manager will be keen to work you hard, especially if the person you're replacing did minimal work in the weeks leading to his or her stress leave. Keeping busy will allow you to shine and can help to bolster your resume, but you should be wary about assuming a workload that is beyond the terms of your contract. For example, the manager may give you more work than is fair in an effort to get several projects caught up. This is another issue to bring to the attention of your rep.

Office Politics

Office politics can be noteworthy in different offices that you join as a contract worker. You should always assess how office politics seem in any position, but especially when you learn that you're replacing someone on stress leave. This person could have developed stress issues because of office politics, so you should watch for situations that may be troublesome. If you find a work environment that doesn't suit you well, you should relay all of this information to your staffing agency rep and discuss finishing the contract but not aiming for an extension.