Supporting organisations to manage long term sickness

Sickness absence costs UK businesses approximately £9 billion per year and many employers are looking for simple but effective ways to support their managers and their employees in the return-to-work process for when employees go on long-term sick leave. The Midlands Engine has funded a new Return-to-Work scheme – PROWORK (PROmoting a sustainable and healthy return to WORK) as part of their Mental Health and Productivity Pilot.

PROWORK, led by Loughborough University, is a new evidence-based three-step online toolkit that helps support both employees and their managers in the return to work process during and after long term sickness absence. The toolkit is based on evidence that good quality communication and employee contact with the workplace combined with wellbeing support during sick leave can reduce the length of sickness absence by an average of 15-30 days.

For managers, there is a short training video, and there are checklists, record sheets and conversation examples in how to support employees on long term sick leave. For employees, there are actions to support their wellbeing, signposts to charities and other groups for additional support, and checklists and record sheets that help their return to work. For organisations that sign-up to the study, one group will be testing the toolkits to see if they help employees return to work more quickly whilst the other organisations will continue to provide the usual organisational support to employees. The latter will have access to the toolkits at the end of the study.

The researchers are looking for organisations to take part who are based in:

  • Black Country
  • Coventry and Warwickshire
  • Birmingham, Greater Birmingham and Solihull
  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Herefordshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincoln and Lincolnshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Shropshire
  • Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire
  • Worcestershire

If you would like to find out more about the project and are interested in participating, please contact Dr Kate