Workplace health - long-term sickness absence and capability to work

Workplace health - long-term sickness absence and capability to work

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This guideline [NG146] jointly developed by Public Health England and NICE covers how to help people return to work after long-term sickness absence, reduce recurring sickness absence, and help prevent people moving from short-term to long-term sickness absence. The guideline updates and replaces NICE guideline PH19 from March 2009.

Evidence from the UK shows that workplace policies on sickness absence and return to work may help to reduce uncertainty around the process of enabling return to work for employees and employers, but only if they are properly implemented. The committee, that developed this guideline, agreed that it is important for all sizes of organisation to clearly communicate policies and procedures to staff.

The committee discussed that musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and common mental health conditions are the most frequent causes of long-term sickness absence among employees. Evidence from a small number of non-UK studies in people with MSK conditions suggested that interventions to strengthen a person's physical and mental health, and to focus on reducing potential barriers in the workplace, may increase return-to-work rates.

The committee further discussed evidence which showed that the time people take to return to work after absence because of a musculoskeletal condition may be reduced if flexible adjustments are agreed between employee and employer, as part of a planned return-to-work process.

Who is it for?

- Employers' representatives including managers, human resource professionals and occupational health professionals
- GPs and secondary care specialists
- Employees and their workplace representatives
- Commissioners of advice and support services for people who are not in work and are receiving benefits because of their health or a disability, and users of these services
Tags: musculoskeletal mental health mental health and recovery health care public health public health public health outcomes msk health health wellbeing health anf wellbeing workplace health working with health prevention of ill-health occupational health long-term health conditions department of health health intelligence ehealth health and safety digital health health partnerships mskmentalhealth faculty of public health health and safety executive (hse) musculoskeletal health health reform positive mental health public health reform standards and guidelines guide
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