Effective management of staff for health and work advice using a “case management approach” will not only increase the chances of the employee returning to work and remaining in employment, it can also help to reduce overall costs of sickness absence as well as improving employee attendance and performance at work.

In addition to this, referral of employees to the Health and Work Consultancy for health and work advice can provide you with the objective information you need to manage health at work.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has made it clear that it sees active case management which involves close liason between employee, manager, Occupational Health and others as a cost-effective way of helping people to return to work.

What is Case Management?

According to Case Management Society of the UK, case management is defined as "a collaborative process which assesses, plans, implements and co-ordinates, monitors, evaluates the options and services required to meet an individual`s health, care and employment needs".

Case management involves:

  • Being proactive in relation to the employee`s absence and rehabilitation;
  • Maintaining regular communication between line management, the employee, HR management and occupational health;
  • Early intervention through referral to occupational health (and subsequent reassessment/review at pre-defined intervals); and
  • Providing a focus on rehabilitating the employee back into the workplace as soon as possible, whether in their own job or another job.

In order to achieve this, you may need to understand the following:

  • Fitness for work: whether or not the person has a health problem that may affect fitness for work.
  • Return to work: if the person is currently absent, when they are likely to be ready to return.
  • Rehabilitation advice: measures that may enable the person to return to work before full recovery.
  • Advice on either physical or procedural adjustments within the workplace to minimise health related disadvantages to employees.
  • Future attendance: how much absence is likely in future due to health problems?
  • Whether the employee`s condition is likely to fall under the definition of “disability” as defined within Equality legislation and if so, what reasonable adjustments need to be made to facilitate their return to work.

Any recommendations on adjustments to duties etc are advisory and it is ultimately a company decision to decide whether these can be implemented balancing employee health need and those needs of the business.

Further information on how to refer to the Health and Work Consultancy can be obtained below:

Health and Work Consultancy referral process

Refer an employee using our online form

Occupational health referral - Employee guide

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