EXCLUSIVE: 66% confident in employer return-to-work support

return-to-work processEXCLUSIVE: Two-thirds (66%) of employees feel confident that their line manager would support them well with a return-to-work process if they had a long-term health condition, according to research by Working to Wellbeing.

The Window to the workplace report found that this number fell to 58% among those aged 55 and above, while a further 23% did not know, and 11% did not have confidence in their line manager.

Meanwhile, 30% of UK line managers did not feel fully confident supporting someone suffering from a long-term health condition such as long Covid or cancer, rising to 39% of those aged 55 and above. Almost three fifths (58%) said their organisation had implemented a strong return-to-work plan for its employees, while 27% were unsure and 15% disagreed.

The research also revealed that 35% of line managers did not fully understand the return-to-work process for employees with a long-term health condition.

Almost three-quarters (71%) were knowledgeable about making reasonable adjustments to support someone returning to work, with 21% unsure and 9% admitting to not knowing how to do this. More than one in 10 (13%) of those aged 55 and above were lacking confidence, and did not know how to make reasonable adjustments in the return-to-work process.

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Dr Julie Denning, managing director and chartered health psychologist at Working To Wellbeing, said: “As the number of people with a long-term health condition in the UK increases, it is imperative that employers take note and best understand how they can manage and support these people in the workplace.

“In our decade-long experience as a back-to-work rehabilitation specialist, the key challenge to address is that many of those affected by a long-term health condition want to either remain in or return to work when ready, and employers, in particular, line managers at the coalface whose role is pivotal to supporting their staff at work, need to be equipped and ready to best support their workforce.”