Sickness Absence and Return to Work

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					Managing Sickness Absence and Return to Work
Heather Singleton Occupational Health Manager

Cost of sickness absence
UK plc > £12 billion


- £659 per employee per year (direct costs) - 8.4 days per employee

CBI 2007 Absence Management survey report

Reasons for absence
Minor unavoidable ailments Back pain Musculo-skeletal injury Stress Home/family responsibilities
CIPD 2007 Absence Management survey report

Why manage sickness absence?
Improved performance Retention of experienced staff Improved employee health, safety and well-being Improved workplace relations Reduced costs

Provide clarity about what provisions are made for sickness absence, sick pay, support available, return to work planning Standard approach to avoid discrimination Other policies
– Parental/carer leave – Compassionate leave – Flexible work options – Redeployment

Sickness Absence Policy
Procedures for reporting absence Recording of absence Maintaining contact Return to work interview:
– Identify any further actions required

Trigger points for considering further actions:
– Percentage absence – Long term absence – Work-related health problems

Absence Records
Allows monitoring of sickness absence and may reveal information that requires investigation Individual employee records
– High or changing levels of absence

Organisational/departmental records
– Department/work area trends: environmental or safety issue, work relationships? – Illness/injury trends: need for risk assessment, training or health promotion?

Use of Professional Advice or Support
Occupational health
– NHS Plus

Occupational hygienist/environmental hygienist Occupational therapist Insurer services may include rehabilitation Jobcentre Plus
– Disability Employment Advisor/Access to Work

Counselling services

Planning Return to Work
Take into account any professional advice or reports Allow time to plan and implement any changes prior to employee’s return Try to tailor the plan to the individual circumstances Discuss and agree plans with employee to gain their compliance and boost confidence

Planning Return to Work
Final goal – normal or adapted hours/duties? Expected timeframe Alternative work arrangements or changes to contractual terms and conditions Supervision, mentoring, buddy Monitor progress – early identification of unexpected problems

Workplace Adjustment
Phased return to normal work – hours and/or duties Changing work hours and/or duties Time off for treatment, rehabilitation etc Working from home New or modified equipment, furniture etc Redeployment Training

Sources of Advice
Health & Safety Executive

NHS Plus

British Occupational Hygiene Society

British Association/College of Occupational Therapists

Jobcentre Plus