20 August 2010 #Employment
There is new guidance available to help employers get their employees with depression, stress and other illnesses back to work in the first place.
The guidance, "Manager Support for Return to Work Following Long Term Sickness Absence", is just what it says - a framework to assist managers to support sick employees and encourage them to return to work early in their illness as part of their rehabilitation. The core tenet of the guidance is to avoid ill employees remaining at home for too long, as this very often leads to feelings of alienation from the workplace and long-term incapacity. Although this sounds like common sense, it is also supported by research conducted by a team of UK psychologists who discovered that employees absent from work for more than 6 months only have a 50% chance of returning to work.
This research led a collaboration of the British Occupational Health Research Foundation, CIPD, Healthy Working Lives and the HSE, to produce the guidance. It highlights key behaviours and skills which employers need to ensure managers are trained to implement, such as:
Hopefully this pro-active approach will also be supported by GPs, who through the new "fit notes", are now encouraged to suggest ways an employer can assist an ill employee`s return to work on a phased or altered basis.