Steps to return to work

Successfully managing employees with chronic illnesses depends on good practice. To help you, the following section has steps which you may wish to follow. Responsibility for managing employees varies from business-to-business depending on the size and type of company. However, as previously stated, chronic illnesses last a long time and are progressive. Accurate reporting of absences is therefore key to good management and is best addressed by installing a monitoring and reporting system, which also makes sharing information for health insurance purposes easier.

  • Step 1: Get in touch – establish dialogue with the person
  • Step 2: Initial meeting - Assess willingness and ability to participate in a return to work process
  • Step 3: Case review – keep in contact to see how the circumstances of the individual are progressing
  • Step 4: Develop a ‘get back to work’ programme – this involves making concrete plans for return to work.  It may involve some combination of workplace adjustments, changes to work organisation and assistive technology.  One useful resource that details what can be done in relation to specific health conditions is:

  • Step 6: Keep the plan under review – keep monitoring the progress of the plan and make changes as needed.


(These steps are based on ‘Promoting healthy work for workers with chronic illness: a guide to good practice’ by the ENWHP.

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