Nearly a third of workers (32%) absent due to sickness for over a month would have been willing and able to work for at least a part of their time off, according to a survey published on Wednesday by Securex.
If they are not up to going back to work earlier, this is mainly because of a medical opinion advising against it (44%) or because there is no possibility of a gradual recovery (19%).
More than a fifth of long-term patients polled (22%) consider that they were fit to work during their absence, and nearly half of them (45%) would have wanted to do so, it emerged from the human resources operator’s survey.
Those off work for less than a month, however, are less inclined to return earlier than they have to: only 8% of them would have been willing and able to do so before their sick notes ran out.
As a result, Securex is calling “for more of a distinction to be made and for more flexibility” in order to respond to the ageing working population. This would include measures such as a temporary adaptation (reduced working hours, exemption from certain tasks, adaptation to the work environment, and so on) – which many respondents were in favour of.
Employers often think that a worker cannot simply return to work early from a break caused by illness, Securex notes. “That’s not quite right. The worker is free to return to work without a sick note from the doctor. For insurance purposes, it’s enough to let the employer know beforehand.”
The Brussels Times