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Absence management: the issues of job retention and return to work

Cunningham, I.R. and Dibben, P. and James, P. (2002) Absence management: the issues of job retention and return to work. Human Resource Management Journal, 12 (2). pp. 82-94. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

Strategies aimed at facilitating the job retention and return to work of sick and injured workers are currently the subject of growing attention. In this article the authors examine the nature and potential significance of such strategies to absence management and utilise interview findings to shed light on current employer policies and practices relating to the management of long-term absences. They conclude that at the national level a large proportion of working days lost through sickness absence stem from relatively long spells of absence and that the adoption of a proactive approach to supporting the return to work of ill and injured workers can have beneficial consequences. However, they further conclude that few organisations appear to have comprehensive arrangements in place to handle cases of long-term absence. A number of areas where present employer arrangements could usefully be reviewed are therefore identified.