Canada Life research: Employees in the dark about return-to-work support

Employees are in the dark about what support they would get from their employer to help them return to work following a significant absence, according to research by Canada Life.

The insurer’s research showed that 32% of employees have no idea how their employers would support them, while 18% know they would not receive any support.

Many employers have made sure that employees who have been away from the workplace for a significant amount of time receive at least some support to ease back into their role. For example, 30% organise catch-up meetings for those returning to work to brief them on developments that had taken place during their absence and 21% of employees are allowed to work flexible hours when settling back into their jobs.

When asked about the kind of support they would like to see when returning to work after a long absence, most employees said they would appreciate help in constructing a plan to organise their time and workload (24%), followed by the opportunity to see a counsellor or medical professional through the workplace (23%). In addition, 19% would like to be assigned a buddy to help to ease them back in and provide an update on the business.

Employees deemed flexible working (59%) and the ability to work from home (53%) as being the most effective methods of preventing absences.

Paul Avis, sales and marketing director at Canada Life Group Insurance, says: “Given that employee absence directly cost the UK economy £17 billion in 2010, employers which develop a robust rehabilitation strategy would most likely see benefits for the business as a whole and minimise their own losses.

“By supporting employees, they are less likely to see them relapse, and therefore more likely to return to work and productivity. It is just as important that employees are supported through the rehabilitation process as during their period of absence, in order to help them recover and return to working life”.

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