Vocational rehabilitation is a programme of medical and practical support which is immensely helpful when an employee is absent due to ill health. Sickness absence affects every employer, with prolonged periods of absence having a major financial and personal impact on the business and individual. Given this, every employer should consider the steps they need to take to respond quickly and effectively. That’s where this programme can make a big difference.
Chief Marketing Officer at Ellipse
What are the Benefits of Vocational Rehabilitation?
Although vocational rehabilitation services can be bought separately, insurance companies such as Ellipse that provide Income Protection Insurance (which pays a replacement salary in the event of a prolonged period of sickness absence) will often provide such services free of charge as part of the package.
Vocational rehabilitation can help your staff recover quicker and get back to the workplace. This can prove especially invaluable for SMEs who really notice the impact when one or two employees are missing for a long period of time.
In many cases, the duration of absences can be substantially shortened by using these services, resulting in less productivity lost for employers and better health outcomes for employees.
This will not only help employers mitigate the costs of absence, such as hiring and training temporary staff. They’ll also be able to grow their business effectively with their best people fit and healthy.
You may never have to use the service but with Group Income Protection, vocational rehabilitation is there ready and waiting, should you need it.
A Closer Look at Vocational Rehabilitation and Employee Benefits
Research has shown that providing early support to an absent employee can have a significant positive impact on their health and ability to return to work.
By notifying an insurer’s vocational rehabilitation service early on in an employee’s absence, it enables the service to identify ways to improve their health and wellbeing. This could include helping the individual employee access NHS or funded treatments and general support to get them back to work.
Chief Marketing Officer at Ellipse
Vocational rehabilitation is a programme of support, guidance, advice and treatment which has the sole aim of helping the employee back into the workplace. It can help employees recover from all sorts of injuries, illnesses and conditions by giving them access to a range of medical experts.
These experts can support those who are absent from work due to illness and help them back to work in a safe and structured way. The programme itself is unique to each individual employee, as each employee’s circumstances will be different.
How Do They Work Together?
The objective of early intervention and vocational rehabilitation is to identify and work with absent employees who would benefit from support and treatment as early as possible, to help them recover and return successfully to the workplace.
Here’s an example of how it can work:
Jim had been absent from work for 3 weeks due to stress. He was referred via his insurer Ellipse to a vocational rehabilitation service. He was contacted by a specialist and an initial assessment was conducted whereby the bigger picture was assessed, and not just Jim’s reported symptoms. The key factor this highlighted was Jim’s reported inability to deal with pressure, which lead to his absence.
Based on the triage assessment, Jim was a strong candidate to undergo a short course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This was aimed at helping him understand the difficulties he was experiencing in more depth and to provide techniques to help him in pressurised situations.
After three weeks Jim felt ready to look at return to work options and a return to work forum was arranged to include Jim, his employer and the vocational rehabilitation specialist. It was agreed that a graduated return to work programme would slowly increase Jim’s hours over the course of three weeks. After which point – all being well – he would resume his full hours and duties.
Having first returned to work on a reduced hours basis after six weeks of absence, Jim subsequently returned to work on his full hours and duties after a total of nine weeks absent from work.
Vocational Rehabilitation in a Nutshell…
Employers need to consider how they would deal with a prolonged absence in the workplace and the support services they need to help the business and individual at this time.
Every employer should therefore consider the value of vocational rehabilitation, provided alongside a Group Income Protection policy, to offer immediate medical and practical support to help the employee make a speedy and successful recovery.
Not only does this benefit the employee, but the employer benefits too because the financial and practical impact on the business that can arise from employee absence is mitigated.
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