Return to Work

Absence from work may be warranted by incapacity or the need for recovery. However, organisations can incur significant costs through absence that is not warranted and attendance where employees are too unwell or too unsafe to attend work.


return to work main picture


What are the problems associated with absence from work?

  • Long term absence can have a significant negative effect on health
  • Short term absence may be costly for organisations
  • A significant proportion of sickness absence is due to mental health issues


There are four major medical approaches to the problem:

  • Sickness absence management: policy, absence recording and management 
  • Stress management programmes
  • Employee assistance programmes
  • Medical intervention: early referral to an occupational health practitioner

How does the management of sickness absence feature in your local or global health management efforts?
  • Are you recording sickness absence?
  • Do you have a sickness absence policy? 
  • Do you have employees who are getting sick because of stress?

International SOS has Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) and wellbeing partners, with multiple local and global programmes underway. 
What are the benefits for HR managers?

  • Reduced sickness absence as many cases are stress related, even short term ones are reduced 
  • Actual proof of compliance with Duty of Care, increased employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Partnering with International SOS allows the HR manager to set up a truly global programme, creating visibility
  • Employers rate stress as the number one threat to their employees’ health (Towers Watson global survey 2014.)
  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work : Cost of psychosocial risk-related diseases 2015 :
~ €600 per employee related to work place stress 
~ ¼ of mental ill health related to work place stress