28 calendar days is a common definition of long-term absence. There’s nothing wrong with this definition in itself. However, waiting 4 weeks to offer support or consider referral to support services is a missed opportunity. This often means that medical appointments don’t take place until the 6th or 7th week of the absence. It also delays the welfare review meeting with management further to the 8th or 9th week of the absence.
Under UK law, employees can self-certificate for the first 7 days of a sickness absence. After 7 calendar days they need to get a fit note from a doctor. The 1-week rule applies to everyone, regardless of how many days per week they normally work. The fit note is essentially a legal document that entitles the employee to statutory sick pay. Continue reading
About 1 in 10 people who contract Covid, will go on to develop Long Covid. These patients cannot shake off the effects of the virus months after initially falling ill. They may still experience symptoms more than three weeks after infection. Perhaps 60,000 people could be suffering from Long Covid symptoms after more than three months. Continue reading
Most companies that have an absence policy define what is considered Long Term Absence. There are management tasks linked to the categorisation of long term absences. Commonly, managers refer long term absentees to Occupational Health and organise a welfare meeting with the employee. Organisations should start these activities as soon as the manager identifies if the absence is likely to become long term.
This is a myth.
It is not uncommon for a capability procedure to stall or even come to a complete standstill because the employee is refusing to attend a capability meeting. Without the meeting going ahead, the employer is unable to continue with the necessary stages of the process and a resolution one way or another remains pending. This does not have to be the case, however, since a capability meeting can also be held in the employee’s absence. As long as the employee has been given reasonable opportunity to attend or to submit responses in writing, the employer can justifiably proceed without the employee present. Continue reading
There are two common misconceptions about return to work after illness: 1) that you have to be fully recovered to return and 2) that you cannot return until a medical certificate runs out. Excluding contagious diseases or health and safety reasons barring a return, you don’t have to be 100% fit to return. “The earlier you can return to work the better. Work is often part of treatment, and getting back to work is part of the recovery process” (Professor Burton, NHS). Continue reading
Fit Note was introduced in 2010. Since then, many employers mistakenly think that they are obligated to implement suggestions made by a GP on a fit note. In fact, this is a myth. The Fit Note is intended to issue guidance on how an employee can return to work in the short term before they are expected to be fully fit for normal working duties. This means that the suggestions made on the Fit Note are expected to be temporary and should not impact on the employee returning to their full duties, eventually. Continue reading
Early intervention has always been our mantra. The sooner an absence is reviewed and the appropriate action taken to put a plan in place for a return to work, the better the outcomes. Short of spotting any warning signs for problem before it escalates to an absence, there’s no better time for early intervention than the first day of absence. We’ve shared some scary stats in the past that should give us enough reason not to be idle while an absence gradually becomes long term, but if you were wondering how to achieve this in practice, Day-1 OH could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Continue reading
The Resolution Foundation published a report titled Retention Deficit in June 2016 to discuss the challenge of increasing employment level among disabled people. This article provides a summary of the report and recommendations. All the recommendations put forward here are those of the report authors.
Despite the employment rate sitting at a record high, the government has positioned halving the disability employment gap as a central challenge for the UK labour market. Progress in employment rates among the disabled has been modest at best, but large geographic variations in disability employment rates give reason to hope that improvements are possible. Continue reading
The Institute of Employment Studies (IES) published a review of presenteeism in May 2016. Occupational Health & Wellbeing reported that the headline finding of the report was that presenteeism can be beneficial. Reading the report itself, it is obvious that the writers use a different definition of ‘presenteeism’ from the one we at Honeydew would use. Continue reading