Most companies that have an absence policy define what is considered Long Term Absence. There are usually management tasks linked to absence that is categorised as long term. Commonly, managers are asked to refer long term absentees to Occupational Health and to have a welfare meeting with the employee. But how many organisations would start these activities already as soon as the manager knows 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% OK to return to work. 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
Fit Note – 5 years on
The Fit Note was introduced in 2010 and it has been in use for a little over 5 years. IOSH, the Chartered body for health and safety professionals recently conducted a study into the Fit Note titled‘Getting the best from the fit note’, which found that there is still widespread misunderstanding about the notes. Continue reading
So you have an employee who is absent with a long term ill health condition. As the manager you wonder what the future looks like for the employee. What is their prognosis? When are they likely to be able to return to work? Will they be able to do their job in full when they return? Will adjustments be needed at the workplace? Basically, you need medical advice.
As an employer, there are generally two avenues to go down in order to get a doctor’s advice when an employee is absent or suffers from ill health at work. Either you write to the employee’s GP or NHS specialist or you send them to see an Occupational Health Physician (OHP) or Nurse. Which option should you choose? It helps to understand what you can expect from the GP versus the OHP. Continue reading