Sometimes we are so unwell that we need to take time off work to recover. Most companies are sympathetic about staff welfare but workers at all levels can feel bad about letting down their colleagues.
How we manage a period of sickness absence, particularly in the case of mental ill health, can influence the speed and success of our return to work. It can also govern whether we observe related legal and company procedures. Everyone has a part to play.
- Have an absence management policy – be clear about terms and conditions
- Be guided by any in-house or contracted HR, occupational health and/or counselling services
- Be aware how to support and have a conversation with someone about their mental health
- Use Fit for Work – the Government’s free, expert and impartial work-health advice service
- Refer an employee who is likely to be off sick, or has been off sick, for 4 weeks or more for a voluntary occupational health assessment
- Remploy, in partnership with Access to Work, can assist you and your workforce in relation to mental health. They offer a free and confidential Mental Health Support Service to help people remain in, or return to, work.
- Use good practice tips to keep in touch with staff off sick
- Obey your company’s sickness absence procedures
- know your sickness rights and the help that is available
- Try to keep in touch with your work
- Understand about causes of mental health problems and coping with bereavement
- If you consult your doctor, tell your GP what you do for work
Did you know?
- It is illegal to discriminate against staff because of their mental health, where they have a legally defined disability (law in England and Wales, in Scotland, in Northern Ireland)
- BT reported that its mental health strategy has led to a 30% reduction in mental health-related sickness absence