Absence Management – How Do You Deal With Long-Term Absence?

Posted on

July 14th, 2015


Businesses are increasingly recognizing the significant costs associated with managing high levels of employee absence. Managers are often unsure about the level and nature of the problems they may be facing, or about how these problems are most effectively addressed.
Most managers realize that some absence is inevitable. Truthfully, no one wants a genuinely ill employee on the job. Furthermore, most managers recognize that handling individual absence issues is often complex and potentially sensitive.
Organizations need to address their absence management policies directly. A good place to start is with assessment:

  1. Do you have an absence problem?
  2. How do you develop an absence strategy?
  3. How do you deal with short-term absences?
  4. How do you deal with long-term absences?

If an employee has been absent from work for an extended period, the employer needs to consider questions such as:

  • Do you know when the employee is likely to return to work?
  • If not, what steps can you take to investigate and obtain a clearer prognosis?
  • If so, are there any practical steps that can be taken to help the individual return to work sooner?
  • What support and contact is appropriate while the individual is absent?
  • What actions should you and/or the employer take to prepare for the return to work at the appropriate time?
  • What support might the individual require following his or her return to work?

Research shows that long-term absence is generally handled most effectively through early intervention and action – the longer the period of absence, the less likely the employee is going to be able to return to work. Although most absence is attributable to genuine medical factors, the precise nature, extent and potential implications of a given medical condition may be difficult to determine.
The American Institute of Stress reports that job stress is the number cause of workplace absenteeism. Acute medical conditions rate the second highest cause, ahead of mental illness. For all of these conditions, it is difficult to obtain a precise prognosis of the individual’s expected return date.
Actec Systems has been the leader of Day 1 Absence Management since 1989. We are here to help commercial and personal insurance carriers, self-insured companies, third-party administrators and managed-care organizations with their absence management needs. Contact us at 1-800-862-2832 today – we’d love to hear from you!