The average employee takes around 5 – 6 days sick leave every year. Whilst some sickness absence cannot be avoided, we all know that there are many people who take no sick leave at all, meaning that the average is balanced out by lengthier absences. It is these long term absences that can cause staffing and management headaches and this is one of the reasons why Heathrow Medical is here. We can provide sickness absence management reviews and return to work medicals to help you to help your staff get back to work safely and in good health.
The 2017 Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey found that sickness absence was costing the UK economy a massive £77.5 billion a year. It also found that presenteeism – i.e. turning up for work when you are unwell and therefore unable to do your job properly – was an increasing problem, fuelled by the high expectations of employers and the worry of falling behind. It is these issues that the correct medical assessments and return to work programmes can help to avoid, ensuring that individuals are fit and healthy to return to the workplace whether it is straight away or as part of a gradual return to full duties.
What is a sickness absence review?
As part of our occupational health services we can provide a sickness absence review which assesses individuals during their time off work. We liaise with their GPs to help determine when they will be fit and healthy to return to work and can guide your HR departments on whether a graded return to work will be needed. Sometimes after a lengthy illness or recuperation from injury, it is beneficial for the individual to start off with less hours, or lighter duties, depending on their role, as this will allow them to return to work sooner and minimise the cost of absence.
Whilst you may wonder whether it is worth the money, consider that in the long term, the benefits of getting employees back into work sooner and only when they are fit to work, will far outweigh the cost of the necessary occupational health services.
What is a return to work medical assessment?
In order to get employees back into work following sickness absence, you will need to arrange a return to work medical. This assessment will confirm whether the individual is fit to return to their duties and any restrictions that need to be taken into consideration when planning their return.
Once our occupational health team have carried out a return to work medical they can advise employers on:
- How to manage the return to work – for example starting with reduced hours, which are gradually increased.
- How to make workplace adjustments to accommodate returning employees, in line with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).
- When regular reviews might be needed – both internally by the employer and externally by the occupational health team.
We can support your business and employees throughout the recovery and return to work process. Providing medical assessments and sickness absence management where needed and offering useful advice on how to facilitate the return to work so that you can minimise the cost of absence and support your returning employees.
For help with your sickness absence management please call us on 020 8528 2633 or click here to send us a message.