The purpose of this paper is to put forward a conceptual framework which details the policies and practices that can potentially contribute to the effective management of long‐term absences, and hence the return to work and retention of ill and injured workers, and considers how far UK employers currently do have in place management arrangements which accord with those detailed in this framework.
The conceptual framework detailed was developed by reference to secondary literature and the outcomes of a conference of relevant stakeholders. Available research evidence was then utilised to test the validity of this framework and to assess how far employers make use of the types of policies and practices identified in it.
The research evidence reviewed lent a good deal of support to the propositions put forward in the conceptual framework as to the processes and practices that are central to the development of effective workplace rehabilitation programmes, as well as the internal and external factors that potentially influence the adoption and operation of them. It also indicated that there is a good deal of scope for employers to do far more to support the continued employment of ill, injured and disabled workers, particularly in smaller organisations.
More needs to be done to encourage employers to adopt the types of policies and practices detailed in the conceptual framework and careful thought needs to be given to whether this encouragement is best provided by legislative or non‐legal means.
The central issue addressed, namely the management of long‐term absence, is one that has been little explored in the existing human resource literature.
James, P., Cunningham, I. and Dibben, P. (2006), "Job retention and return to work of ill and injured workers: Towards an understanding of the organisational dynamics", Employee Relations, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 290-303. https://doi.org/10.1108/01425450610661252Download as .RIS
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