Personal health and family health are two clear causes of presenteeism which can reduce productivity, so confidence and clinical certainty is valuable.
Having benefits that people can use on a daily basis and which can save and change lives again reinforces the employer-employee value contract.
What should employers do when someone calls in sick?
In addition to treatment, getting employees returned to work as quickly and safely as possible is clearly needed.
The longer an employee is away from the workplace, the costs of Occupational and Statutory Sick Pay add up but disengagement also increases, and the fear of a return may prolong the absence.
It can cost up to £30,000 to replace an employee and organisations have obligations under the Equality Act (2010) to retain a disabled person wherever possible, with reasonable adjustments as necessary – so retention has to be the ambition.
Insurers have recognised a clear correlation between absence duration and the length of a disability claim, so developed early intervention services.
Roughly 3,000 EIS cases in 2017 represented only 0.12 per cent of all insured employees, showing why organisations need to review what they can access and make proactive use of the whole suite.
For a day one absence service, or even eight week one, the message is not getting across to organisations: there is no charge above the premium paid and the results can be spectacular.
The aim of EIS is to manage employee absence as early as possible and find the best outcome for all involved, which in most cases is a speedy return to work.
Most insurers provide access to trained medical professionals, usually nurses, and some even give money back for early notification – different approaches are adopted and need to be assessed by employers and their advisers to determine what works best for them.
Access can be via a simple telephone call, referral forms or GIP claim forms, so building these resources into regular HR and management procedures encourages a consistent approach and outcome.
EIS is best used for complex or subjective claims such as back pain, mental ill health and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Many supervisors struggle to deal with these complaints.
Stress, anxiety and depression are not only “invisible”, people managers also often worry about exacerbating the condition if they try to manage it.
Work-related stress is particularly emotive and, by using EIS, the aim is to help the manager and employee resolve the absence or confirm it is a workplace issue rather than a health issue.
In 2017, having contributed around a quarter of the industry’s EIS cases, 77 per cent of early intervention referrals returned to work within an average of just seven weeks.
This clearly demonstrates the value early intervention can bring to an organisation.
Questions appear on the last page of this article.