It is natural to think that employees need time off work when they are injured or have become seriously ill. However, there is research to support the idea that workers recover faster if they stay in contact with their workplace and try to maintain a usual working routine as much as possible. This can create benefits for employers such as improved staff retention and reduction in costs relating to lost productivity, staff training and overtime. It’s important for employers to work with the employee and help them return to work as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
Respond early and positively
It is important to respond as soon as possible when you become aware of an employee’s illness or injury. This is a crucial time to react positively and indicate the level of support that you will provide. Research conducted by Safe Work Australia in 2017 found that 77% of staff impacted by mental illness remained in work when their employer made early contact with them, as opposed to 52% who had no employer contact. The study also found 79% of employees stayed at work when their employer responded positively, compared with 52% when the response was perceived as negative.
Make a plan with the employee
Developing a workplace plan is a good way to support employees during the early stages. Stay at Work (SAW) or Return to Work (RTW) plans will formally outline the assistance that will be provided to the employee and the pathway for them to return to or stay at work safely and productively. It should be a collaborative effort with the employee, based on their strengths and preferences.
For advice regarding injured or ill employees, please contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or firstname.lastname@example.org.