A third of employers do not make any early interventions to help staff return to work in the event that they are absent for longer than six months owing to ill health, disability or injury, research shows.
Analysis carried out by group protection trade body GRiD shows that a similar number (32%) of employers do not have any financial support in place for staff if they are absent for half a year or more.
The poll of 500 employers found that those that more than half (52%) of those who do not offer return-to-work interventions for employees say they can not afford it and a third (32%) believe that it is not their responsibility.
Of the employers who do offer early interventions to support a return to work for long-term absent employees, 50% provide this for all staff (40% via insurance and 10% by self-funding).
GRiD spokesperson Katharine Moxham said that employees who are offered support at difficult times in their lives – be that financial, physical, emotional or social – not only are more valued, but they also feel more valued and are therefore more likely to return to work more quickly.
She said: “Not offering support, and/or removing income sources is by no means a motivator to get staff back at their desk.
“Of course no employer should be advocating presenteeism where employees return to work before they are truly ready, but offering support to help staff return to work when they can isn’t just a win for the business, it is also greatly valued by staff.”
Moxham added: “Absent employees who are not supported by their employer are likely to very quickly start to feel detached from work, and that creates hurdles which can loom large and prevent a return to work.
“Support is available, and we would encourage businesses to investigate such support – we think they’d be pleasantly surprised at not just how comprehensive the range is, but that it’s very likely to be cheaper than funding support on an individual, ad-hoc basis.”