New guidance to support return to work for long-term sick

New guidance has been launched to help managers support people returning to work after long term sickness.

Manager Support for Return to Work Following Long-Term Sickness Absence, which has been produced by the British Occupational Health Research Foundation (BOHRF), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Healthy Working Lives and the Health and Safety Executive, highlights the key behaviours needed by managers to support timely and lasting returns to work.

These include: staying in touch with the employee while they are off sick, providing a phased return to work, helping them to adjust to the workplace at a gradual pace and holding regular meetings to discuss their condition and the possible impact on their work.

The guidance is based on research involving employees, line managers, HR, health and safety and occupational health practitioners.

Ben Willmott, senior public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “Line managers play a crucial role in deciding whether returning to work is part of an individual’s recovery and rehabilitation or the catalyst to further breakdown and deterioration. 

“Evidence shows the longer people are off sick, the less likely they are too make a successful return to work; with employees only having a 50% chance of going back to work after six months of absence.”

Read more articles on healthcare and wellbeing