I have recently dealt with several cases of long-term sickness. Some of these have been for over several months and others that started only shortly after the employee started work. They are invariably complicated – particularly if they involve employees who may be considered to have a disability. The pressure to get them back to work has increased since the Government stopped the reimbursement of Statutory Sick Pay to employers, but at the same time if an employee is genuinely ill, trying to get them back full-time too early may be counter-productive.
The Government has its “Fit for Work” Scheme ( http://fitforwork.org/employer/
) which, being a telephone assessment service, has a limited impact.
However, I have recently come across a much more practical occupational therapy service that helps employers implement effective absence management. Their specialist services and training help create healthy working environments, prevent sickness absence and return absent employees suffering from both mental and physical illnesses to work quickly and safely. They do this through:
• Condition Management
• Wellness Coaching
• Ergonomic Assessments
• Physical Screening
• Functional Capacity Assessment
• Return to work programmes
• Reasonable Adjustment Advice
• Career and Outplacement Coaching
They also run courses on mental health issues for managers and staff and stress management.
If you would like to know more or have an employee who has been off sick for more than 4 weeks and would like advice, please get in touch.