Getting people Back to Work

I have been surprised how often a client contacts me with a staff member who has been off work for a month or two and they don't know how to get them back to full-time working.  All the time they are off they continue to accrue annual and sick leave; and the longer they are off the more difficult it is likely to be to get them back into their old way of working.

The reality is that some illnesses and injuries can take a long time to fully heal - and that's just life; but the sooner everyone starts working towards getting them back at work the quicker it is likely to happen.

So don't leave it until you get a phone call after 4 weeks saying they are ready to come back to work ... on minimum work duties for 2 hours per day!  You need to take action as soon as you think they may be off for more than a week or two.  The time to arrange for their return is while they are still unable.  It means:

  • creating a Return To Work Plan with them and their medical advisor or case manager
  • setting realistic milestones for stages of their ability to return and for some alternative duties they may be able to do
  • getting sign off by both the employee and their medical person
  • monitoring progress against milestones

With this sort of planning the chances of a full return are much better.  And also, if you need to go down a medical termination path, you already have the groundwork in place.

And your employment agreements can require a commitment to this process.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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